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An Unexpected Experience Talking to a Candidate

In my experience as a recruiter, I have come across several types of candidates from different industries, engaging with prospects from hourly jobs to senior level management opportunities. There are those who are very respectful and collaborative, and there are others who consider your call or messages intrusive and offensive (which at first was something hard for me to believe). They barely respond to your questions, even when you introduce yourself and you explain the purpose behind your call: to make a match between them and your client regarding the job opportunity in discussion.

I know this may not come as new to many of you. And I also know that you may have probably encountered many other challenges and types of candidates that I won’t mention here. But, recently, I spoke to a candidate that really differentiated himself from the previous ones. He was a person that chose to criticize my accent and preferred turning down a job opportunity instead of listening to somebody on the line that truly wanted to help him find the next step in his career.

I was introducing myself when he stopped me by saying: “I’m sorry but I don’t understand you, and it’s not a volume issue, it’s your language”.

How was I supposed to react? I tried to stay professional and apologized. “I’m sorry, let me try again”. And I moved to the next phase where I disclose the details of the job. He listened to me, he did understand what I was saying, and he replied immediately with: “I’m not interested” and proceeded to hang up.

I was shocked. And while I am a very sensitive person, I didn’t let the situation get to my head. I told my colleagues about it and though it hurt my feelings and the conversation made me doubt myself and my skills, I reviewed my previous experiences in which all the interactions had been positive. Thanks to this, and to my team mates’ and manager’s support, I understood that I had to learn from the negative experience and become able to objectively asses the real impact of this man’s words towards my performance.

I know that in a different time of my life, I would have let that conversation stay in my head and stop me from trying again; that it wouldn’t even let me go to bed at ease, and negative thoughts would have made me torture myself.

Now I just see it as a learning experience, something that I can live with and even share with others. Today I hold a different attitude and as I’ve seen several times here on LinkedIn: we have the power of turning something bad into something meaningful, that helps us grow and overcome our fear to try again.


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