How to learn from Rejection

20 September 2023

How to learn from Rejection:

Corporate Recruiters, Talent Acquisition Partners, and Executive Recruiters are all going after the same thing… top talent. So instead of waiting for top candidates to apply to a job posting, recruiters are conducting email campaigns in an effort to gain interest in their roles.


Do you want a peek behind the curtain to see some of the “I’m not interested” email replies that I get as I hunt for top tech talent?

Besides the “no thanks,” I’ve received:

“The project at my current job has started back up in a new direction I’m excited about, so I’m less eager about finding a new position right now.”

“I am happy in my current position, and my benefits are actually very competitive. It would be hard to match those benefits, but I am happy to have a conversation with you, but figured I should let you know upfront.”

“That’s very generous, but still lower than what I would need to maintain current standards of living. Here’s where I’m at today: 170k base salary with a variable bonus, but the kicker is the 4-day (32hrs) work week. That extra day is worth a lot to me now, so I’d need either similar accommodations or an extra bump in base salary to compensate. I realize what I’m asking for is unrealistic for most positions in today’s economy, which is why I super appreciate you being upfront about the compensation package.”

“Hey Ruben, I’m currently angling for a promotion at XYZ to lead developer. A move to ABC would be a purely economic decision. Do you know how much they are paying for this role?”

“I’ve got plenty to do where I’m at, and they’ve taken great care of me.”

So what can I take away from these replies?

Recruitment marketing tactics will tell me that I need to gather data to create a buyer persona, which is a “detailed, semi-fictional representation of the target customer that is informed by qualitative and quantitative data about existing customers and market research.”

In plain language, a persona will help me understand the ideal candidate and their goals, providing guidance on how to tailor my marketing strategy.

As you can see, recruiting is a business. However, I believe that it should be a personable business, and the priority is to create a positive candidate experience. At the end of the day, these are real people with real goals, fears, and dreams.

There are two approaches to winning the war on talent: retaining talent and talent acquisition, both of which require having the right mindset and strategy.

If your job is to hunt or retain talent, can you glean any takeaways from these email replies to help refine your strategy?