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  • 4jillfagan

No response is a response

Yesterday, I spoke to a coaching client who asked me “how do I fight the depression and lack of self- worth that comes from being rejected or ghosted by recruiters/hiring managers? The constant frustration of reaching out for consideration, validation and recognition with no response?”

I pointed out that many hiring managers & recruiters are overwhelmed by the sheer number of applicants and the pressure they are getting from the hiring managers. Sometimes they are not given adequate feedback or even ghosted themselves by clients. And yes, in some cases, but I hope not many, there are some who just don’t value the candidate experience or the importance of following up. 


A job search makes us really vulnerable! Besides needing to pay the bills, as a society, we attach much of our value and purpose to work, what we do, how much we are paid, and how much we are needed. We are not comfortable being out of work and asking for help.


We experience the world as something “out there” and we focus on external circumstances that make us vulnerable. My advice is not to hang on to it so tightly. Try not give it so much meaning. Do what you can to follow up, reach back to the recruiter or hiring manager, respectfully and more than once if needed. Look for other people in your network that may work at the company and offer inroads or insights. I always suggest getting a “by when date” for when they will let you know. If again there is no response, let it go and move on.


Our experience is affected by what is going on “inside” and what we are thinking.

When we are anxious or depressed, our thoughts can pile up and smother us, “I’m not good enough, I messed up, I should have worked harder, I should have been prepared for this, I should have saved more money, this will never end”. It does not matter if these thoughts are true or exaggerated, an anxious mind will spiral out of control and take us down the rabbit hole. These thoughts, not only directly influence how we experience each day, but they also influence how we approach a job search, how we interview and how we follow up.


Just as athletes train to prepare the body for that big event or competition, they train their mindset. Imagine Serena Williams preparing for a match thinking I’m not good enough because she lost a couple of games.  Or I’m going to lose because she lost a point.


We all want consideration when applying for a job and yes, it is careless and disrespectful to not get a response. But if it’s validation you are looking for, don’t depend on the application process to give you that. Ask people who you admire and respect: colleagues, ex colleagues, and bosses, people who value you. Feeling dismissed or ignored can give anyone’s confidence a hit, if you need a lift, ask your tribe. Do your own 360 evaluation.    


And if it was a lousy experience, why hang on to it? You have other things to think about like what’s my next move, what else can I do, What else?


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