Job seeking – the knockbacks and the conversations

Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

I think it’s harder as a job seeker in my 40’s as opposed to my early 20’s? 

Posting back to Australia at the end of last year has left me searching for a new challenge in a new role with a fabulous organisation – it has also left me disheartened and frustrated, more now in my 40’s as opposed to in my 20’s

The disheartened feelings come from the knockbacks! We have all had emails saying your application was great but; we are leaning towards another candidate; the positive feedback (crazy, I know) and the feeling that you know you would be great and give it 110%, you just need the opportunity.

The frustration comes from the recruitment process. I come from a generation of communication via verbal conversation. I gain knowledge and appreciate the time of a spoken knockback, the one that you grow from and one where you gain an understanding of what it is exactly they are looking for and where you maybe didn’t quite stack up.

This week I’ve had two knockbacks. One via a verbal conversation. A conversation that made me cry (once the call had ended). I really wanted the job, I really wanted to show that despite no formal degree I would be awesome in the position. I knew the clientele, the organisation and the passion to support was (and still is) high. The phone call was something that I appreciated immensely and whilst it was a knockback and one that cut deep, I learnt and have grown from it. It has left me wanting it more, to work harder, to never lose focus on the importance of the people it is there to help.

The second was today! I received a knockback email. It was polite, to the point and touch of a button generated. What it did have was the contact number to engage with a person on the selection panel to have that verbal conversation with. For the first time, I rang!

I fully understand where the lack of verbal conversation comes from. The number of job seekers has grown considerably and it wouldn’t be time-wise to contact 59 applicants….but, I’d appreciate it. Maybe that could be my new career, I could visit companies that are recruiting and be their ‘knockback verbal conversation person’ (if you would like to employ me too, please reach out).

The conversation was important, it was a great insight into what they were looking for and more to the point, that I was a great candidate with the experience to boot, what I wasn’t was the best candidate for the position at this stage of recruitment. I hung up the phone not feeling crappy but one of peace. I appreciated the conversation and am thankful I made that call. It will make my further applications stronger, show that I was a serious candidate and it let me learn and grow. We all need to know that we have something to give, what we don’t need is to feel not worthy of a position. 

The point, verbal conversations, no matter how difficult and time-consuming are worth the time to both recruiters and applicants. It comes down to respect, gratitude that somebody actually took the time to complete an application and lengthly selection criteria. (again, I’m happy to be the person, job opening!)

The knockbacks at 40, still feel like a thump but they should and you should learn from them. The difference was, in my 20’s, it was always a verbal conversation – bring back the verbal conversation.

Sometimes, those that don’t seem to fit the target criteria are the ones that will strive and work harder – give them a go.

If you are a recruiter, HR Manager, I’d love to know your thoughts.

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