The rejection letter, we've all been there. The hours of painstaking effort put into CVS, cover letters and application forms, the hoping and wishing that your application will stand out from the crowd and praying that your profile will give a recruiter their EURIKA! moment, wondering why they had not discovered your marvellous talents sooner!
The truth is, we really are wasting our efforts hoping for these outrageous things. We would be lucky if a recruiter even has a glance at our name and address, let alone a moment to go through our handy work with a fine tooth comb. Recently, I applied for a graduate scheme with quite a large, well known company. As usual, I spent a few hours or so working on my application trying to make it the best I possibly could and was pleased with the end result. Having looked at the criteria for the role, my experiences and qualifications seemed to tick all of the boxes and I was satisfied that I would be in with a good chance, at least for an interview.
After a few weeks, the following appeared in my email inbox from the 'talent acquisition team' at the aforementioned company:
"31st December 2012
Thank you for applying for our Graduate Trainee Programme.
Unfortunately, we will not be taking your application any further at this time, as on this occasion you have not met our qualifying criteria, should your experiences develop over time, please feel free to re-apply in 12 months.
We wish you all the best with your career search and hope to hear from you again in the future.
Mr A. Nogo."
Ahhh, fantastic, another rejection. Rather than shrug it off (or bad mouth the company as my gut instinct would have me do), I went back to my original application and had a look through the job role and the asking criteria. Speaking from my own personal opinion, I could not find a fault, if anything my experiences were well above what they were asking for. Dissatisfied with the decision, I replied as follows:
"31st December 2012
Re: Recent application
Thank you for getting back to me. I am disappointed to hear your decision, please can you reiterate the qualifying criteria for the role?
If I am honest, after I sent the above email, I did not expect a response. I appreciate that there will have been hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates that have applied for the role and to sift through all the whiney "but WHY NOT me" emails must be a chore. If anything I was surprised I received a rejection email at all. What surprised me most was the response I received two days later:
"2nd January 2013
Re: re: Recent application
Thank you for coming back to me.
The previous e-mail was sent to you in error, I think you have many of the skills sets we look for as a company, and would like to arrange a phone interview with you. Could you suggest three dates and times that you would be free to conduct a 15-20 minute phone interview?
Mr. A. Nogo"
I'm sorry but... what?!
Two days ago I was not suitable for the role, today, however I am. I appreciate that mistakes can happen and emails sent in error (guilty as charged) and with the hundreds of graduates that must apply for these roles, I can feign an understanding. After checking the careers website (status of your application:declined) and with an email sent to me with my details on it, I have to question if this was actually an error or was I originally declined? Had they even read my application in the first place? If I hadn't emailed to inquire about the role specification, would I have accepted the rejection and been none the wiser?
While I can let out a little 'whoop' of achievement that I have made a minute step forward in the recruitment game, I can safely say that it hasn't been received in the best of circumstances and my faith in this company is somewhat shaky. The graduates lesson of the day: Question your rejections, particularly if you believe you don't deserve them.