Resilience in Recruitment

We all know that resilience is a life skill; we have to be able to bounce back from our setbacks, ready to face the world again. But resilience in job hunting can feel like a very different beast. So, how do you keep the faith and pick yourself up, time and time again?

Remember, it’s not personal it’s business ...

We all know what job hunting can be like – spending hours sweating over application forms or changing the focus of your CV to accommodate the requirements of an individual employer. The elation of being selected for interview, thinking you’ve aced it, only to be told that you weren’t going to be offered the job. It all feels very personal.

And that’s the first rule of job hunting resilience: rejection isn’t personal. So, how do you use this to your advantage?

  • Objective reflection: Give yourself a little time to grieve (but not too long – time is money!), then spend some time reflecting on the interview process. Make some notes on the things you felt you didn’t project strongly enough and how you could improve
  • Get feedback: Not just a few words rattled off in an email or tagged on to the end of the phone call where they break the news. Get some quality feedback. The best interviewers (and the more sensitive ones) will ask if you want to arrange another time to talk about the interview and the outcome: say yes! Then go away and prepare for that conversation as if it’s another interview. Take time to gather your thoughts, and cultivate a better frame of mind. Make a list of questions you want to ask, points you want to raise, and make sure you have paper and pen to make notes of what they say to refer back to later when preparing for other interviews
  • Don’t burn your bridges: Remember to stay professional; you might be feeling hard done by now, but there may be other roles with that company in the future and you want to make sure that they remember you for all the right reasons. 

Take a Reality Check ...

If you aren’t getting past the application stage you need to take some action. 

  • Do you meet all of the essential requirements (and most of the desired ones too)? If you aren’t ticking those boxes, then the likelihood of you getting an interview are very slim. You need to be realistic in your job choices, spend your valuable time on those which have a good chance of being successful.
  • Are you doing yourself justice in your applications? Think about how you are expressing yourself on your CV or in your applications. It’s important to not only tell employers about the skills you have, but to give them some evidence to prove you have successfully used them, detailing any results if possible. Using the CARformula (Context, Action, Result) can help to structure what you write and keep it concise
  • If in doubt ... if you’re unsure about how you are presenting yourself then get some advice! Ask friends to look over your applications and discuss the roles you are applying for. Using a service like CVKnowHow can give you professional, objective guidance

 Take Back Control ...

The whole process of job hunting can feel like someone else is pulling your strings. Thinking that you’re at the mercy of their decision making can make you feel vulnerable and, well, it’s just a little bit scary. However, there are many other ways that you can take back some control:

  • You can decide where and how you look for jobs – besides job sites, you can also use your own network, asking if friends or family are aware of any opportunities, or simply identify companies you would like to work for and contact them speculatively
  • What you apply for is your decision too – remember , your time is too precious to waste
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, as the saying goes. Send off the application, or attend the interview, and then move on to the next one. Knowing we have choices is an empowering force in itself
  • How you present yourself and obtaining help to do his effectively is completely within your control

Be Kind to Yourself ...

Self knowledge is a wonderful thing – knowing your strengths and skills and recognising them as valuable assets can communicate many positive vibes to prospective employers: if you feel good about yourself, it projects! When things get tough remind yourself of those skills and qualities (some people I’ve coached have kept a list to look back through – it worked for them!) – valuing yourself means employers will value you too. 

Take some time out to relax and focus on something other than job applications – even if it’s just a little time – keeping your mind healthy.  


Upload your CV here to find out what hiring managers really think of your CV. You will be assigned a specialist CV consultant, who will guide you through your CV score, how recruiters see your CV and improvements you can make. It's free, so what are you waiting for?

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