You’ve just finished a gruelling recruitment process that’s been going on for months. They’ve made you fill in dissertation style application forms, complete online tests, attend somewhat awkward group interviews and intimidating one-on-one interviews. It’s taken weeks out of your life, worrying, researching, practicing and traveling. It’s also cost you not a small amount of your dwindling cash. Now they’ve just called you to say that while they appreciate your time and effort they don’t feel that you were right for the position.
It’s an unpleasant situation made worse by the laborious nature of most graduate recruitment procedures, we’ve all been there. Unfortunately it’s all part of the process and you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and move on to the next job. The most important thing is to learn from the experience so it wasn’t all a complete waste of time.
Where are you going wrong?
You need to try and establish at what stage you are going wrong:
- No response to your applications – are you just not getting through the door at all?
- Knocked out in the secondary stages? Application forms etc.
- Failing at interview? You’re part of the final selection but can’t get past that last hurdle.
No response at all
If this is the case you need to look at your CV, your cover letters and the types of jobs you’re applying for.
Ask friends and family to have a look at your CV. It could be as simple as a major spelling mistake in your first paragraph.
Examine the type of jobs that you’re applying for. Often graduates sell themselves short by only applying for the major graduate vacancies, this is where the competition is toughest. Smaller companies can often offer graduates similar career prospects and salary levels without the same level of competition.
Knocked out in the secondary stages
If you’re getting put through the first stage you can probably assume that your CV and cover letter are hitting the right note.
If it’s after you’ve submitted your application form that the phone goes quiet, then that’s the area you should be concentrating on. Try and get some feedback, ideally from the person who assessed your application. If you can’t do that then ask family and friends to give your most recent form a read through. Also read our application form tips and breakdown to see if that can help.
Other possible problem areas:
Telephone interviews – Try a mock telephone interview with a friend to see what they think of your telephone manner.
Tests – Try some practice tests, on Graduate Rescue and other sites around the internet, pass marks for graduate assessments are normally 70% or 80%. You might not be scoring high enough but practice makes perfect!
Meeting the recruitment agents – Are you taking the initial meeting with the recruitment agent seriously enough? You should treat this meeting like the first stage in the interview process. Read our article on getting the most from recruitment agents.
Failing at interview
If you’re finding no problems getting to interview then you’ve probably got a good CV and a solid grasp of the application process, so focus on your interview technique.
Speak to the person who interviewed you and get some constructive criticism. This is probably the last thing you want to do when you’ve just been rejected but it really is crucial. Why didn’t they think you were right for the job? Maybe you came across as cocky, too nervous, perhaps you hadn’t done your research to the level they expected, was it the way you were dressed? Did you smell?! This information is vital so you don’t keep making the same mistakes.
If you can’t get any constructive feedback from the recruitment agent then ask for the email address of the person that interviewed you. This is a perfectly reasonable request as you are entitled to feedback. Don’t let them deter you – fight for feedback.
Take a break
One too many knock backs can leave you feeling negative about the future. If you find yourself getting depressed then give yourself some time to breath.
We often advise jobseekers to treat job seeking as a full time job, well full time jobs have holidays. So when it’s all getting too much allocate yourself some annual leave. Set yourself specific dates and don’t even look at a job vacancy in that period.
When you’ve had a chance to refocus start with a totally fresh approach – rewrite your CV, start an online course, buy a new suit. It’ll make the world of difference to how you feel.
If you need a helping hand in your job hunt why not get in touch and see what we can do for you! www.graduate-rescue.co.uk