Smell Smoke? Tips to Help Prevent Burning Bridges

No one likes to be disappointed. As recruiters, as much as we try not to, there are times when we cannot prevent disappointing a candidate. Roles for which we are actively seeking candidates change, project funding changes, project direction changes OR the client may hire someone that seems of lesser experience, but for their own reasons seemed a better fit for the overall strategy. Then there are the times when we believe we have the perfect candidate, someone whom we’ve prepped and who seems a perfect fit for the role, but for whatever reason doesn’t pass the interview. Whatever the reason for the disappointment, how we respond can define us. 

Here are a few of my thoughts on how to handle disappointments:

  • Stay flexible.  The nature of consulting requires flexibility and adaptability. Clients hire our expertise, but also hire the flexibility they can’t get with perm FTE’s.
  • Own the communication process even if you think someone else should be doing the communicating.  Ask the questions, get the information you need and make appropriate decisions based on as much knowledge as you can get.
  • Stay open minded. You may never know the real reasons behind all decisions.
  • Have a plan B. I often talk to candidates who in hindsight are often glad plan A didn’t work out.
  • Before you speak out in anger or frustration, before you send that all CAP email to the enterprise, pause and consider the possible outcomes.
  • Always take the high road and end gracefully.
  • Never burn a bridge. You may need to cross that water one day, and the current may be rough.

 Disappointments are a normal part of business and life. Managing through those disappointments in a positive manner is not only good for the soul but can set the stage for future success. I’d love to hear about how you handled a career disappointment. Send me your stories and check back for more career advice.