How to Handle Rejection

February 28, 2013

So, you’ve decided to move jobs.  You’ve prepared your CV. You’ve registered with a legal recruiter. You’ve applied for and been offered an interview at a law firm that has always appealed.  You are convinced the interview went really well. Everything is in place for the ideal move. Then you receive the, by now, unexpected call to tell you have not been successful.

How has this happened? You thought you had built up a rapport with the partners, eloquently discussed your experience and explained why you want to change jobs.  Your confidence takes a tumble and you start questioning whether you’re that good in the first place.  Either that or you bullishly dismiss it as the firm not knowing what they’re doing!

Handling a rejection is difficult but is part of the process and should be seen as a learning curve.  Even the best solicitors will have been rejected at some stage in their careers.  Here are a few tips as to how to deal with the bad news.

1. Don’t take it personally

Very rarely do we receive client feedback that the interviewee was dreadful (personality-wise).  In the vast majority of cases it is simply that you will have been pipped at the post by someone who fits the role profile slightly better, or perhaps they have a bit of work to bring with them.  When firms create a vacancy, they will more often than not receive numerous high quality applications and they have to pick someone.

2. Maybe it is for the best

We often say to solicitors looking to move that an interview process is two-way.  Not only do you have to be right for the hiring law firm, but they have to be right for you!  If it has been decided that you are not right for the role, perhaps they have been a great judge of character and have decided that you would not be the best fit – this is as much for your benefit as theirs as the last thing they will want is a new recruit feeling stale or having itchy feet after only a matter of months.  A philosophical approach is a healthy approach.

3. React positively

How you move on from the rejection is key to your legal career, particularly in the short-term.  If you have just been unlucky and were just beaten out of the role by a better candidate, then take it on the chin and recommence the job search.  If you have been given some constructive critcism, take it on board and utilise that feedback for any future job interviews.  If you refuse to acknowledge the feedback (except in extreme examples of misunderstandings), then you run the risk of making the same mistakes again.

4. Don’t burn any bridges

The last thing you want to do is cut off any chance of working with the firm in the future.  If, indeed, you have just missed out, there may be scope for you to be successful the next time the firm recruits.  Therefore, make sure your reaction is measured and positive. Even if you decide that you no longer want to work for that firm, you don’t know where that interviewing partner will end up. Imagine if you burned your bridges with a particular partner at Cobbetts but had always had an eye on working for DWF…

Here at CapeClarke, if we are handling your application for a particular role, we will always provide you with honest, comprehensive feedback.  We will discuss with you how to move from the rejection and how we can improve future applications.  Always remember that a rejection is not the end of the world.

Without the lows, you can’t fully appreciate the highs – and when you finally land your dream job, that will be a very big high!

If you would like to discuss this blog, have been thinking about a move or would just like some general advice about options in the market, please feel free to contact Terry Cape or Chris Clarke on 0113 2385965.

CapeClarke is a leading niche legal recruitment consultancy operating across Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and London. Please feel free to check out our priority legal vacancies by clicking here.  Please note these legal vacancies are only a small selection of those we have been instructed on, so please get in touch if you do not see a role which looks suitable.

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