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Making Sense of ‘I’m Sorry’

Every day, recruitment leaders say sorry. We say it hundreds of times, every day. Industry data suggests that up to 98% of applicants don’t move past the initial screening stage.

Now more than ever, recruiters and those leading recruitment processes simply aren’t able to provide meaningful feedback to all applicants as they advise potential candidates they unfortunately weren’t successful. There are often far too many applicants, to do it justice. They’d love to, and they’re aware it would be helpful to those applicants who didn’t progress through to the later stages of the recruitment process. But, of course it simply isn’t always feasible.

Its tough to get told you weren’t quite right or someone else got the role. Especially when you got all excited about the opportunity and put a tonne of effort into applying. So, we think its important for applicants to do two things when you get this news.


Firstly: Keep positive. Keep confident. Go easy on yourself. Set backs and challenges are unfortunately very common place, especially in the workplace and during careers. Try to keep perspective, you aren’t alone.


Secondly: Consider what you can take away from this experience and how you can evolve and improve your next application to get closer next time. While its hard to give personalised feedback to all applicants, the below are our top 5 reasons (generally speaking) why someone wasn’t successful with their application to a new job:


  1. Industry specific experience is often seen as a must have. While some employers are open minded about the industries you have worked in, others are not – some strictly need to see that you have worked in the same industry, ideally in a very similar role as what you applied to.
  2. Lacking the necessary skills or qualifications: many jobs require a few quite particular skill sets; often this means exposure to particular tools, systems, regulations, practices, licenses or technology. Recruitment leaders often need to see those existing skills to ensure the candidate could be successful in the role. This can be particularly true when a role isn’t part of a large team (of others in similar roles) who can support and aid your induction.
  3. Communication skills, both written and verbal are critical for many jobs. If English isn’t your strong point and the role you are seeking needs good communication skills, spend some extra time fine tuning your pronunciations and familiarity with the language.
  4. Is your CV grammatically correct and clearly presented (more about CVs can be found in a recent blog here)? Many jobs require strong written communication skills. Make sure you show this right from the outset, with a well written, grammatically correct CV – that shows how your skills match the requirements of a particular job opportunity.
  5. You’ve applied to many roles with an agency or company already and there is no common theme to the roles you applied to. This can make your career ambitions & the value you could provide, somewhat murky. Focus on better applications, try not to play the numbers game.


We wish you all the best on your job search. Feel free to keep checking our live roles here and connect with & follow us on LinkedIn here.

Take care!


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