It’s Not About You… Can You Handle That?

It’s Not About You… Can You Handle That?

I was on LinkedIn one day this week and I saw a question that one of my connections had commented on. Let me share it with you…

(Please note that whilst I have not changed much of this, I did tidy up the glaring grammatical and spelling mistakes).

If a candidate is rejected in the interview, should we tell them directly that he/she has been rejected or should we try to manage a candidate saying he/she is on hold???

Sometimes I really feel very bad and hesitate to tell a candidate that he/she is a reject. I feel that, our negative feedback may demotivate the candidate and lose confidence which may effect their next interviews.

At the same time I feel that if we tell the candidate that he/she is rejected and why he/she is rejected, it may help them to make sure that those mistakes will not be repeated in their next interviews. Which is BEST???? Opinions please……

It is still on LinkedIn and it currently has over 900 likes; there are a lot of recruiters on LinkedIn so I suppose that is not so surprising. Now, from the wording of this, I take it as an honest question. The individual is wrestling with what is the best thing to do. What is perhaps most surprising is the number of people who have responded, with varying degrees of suggested honesty and dishonesty, that the recruiter should lie to them.

Now, before we start insulting all recruiters, let me say that gross generalisation and demonisation of a group of people because they do a specific job is rude and unfair and, in any case, it is not true; there are lots of intelligent, smart and dedicated recruiters out there (any recruiters reading this, you can all pay me later :-)).

The point of this story is not to talk about recruitment but about the underlying principles at play here…


The recruiter has a duty of care to both the client and the candidate. In the client’s case, to deliver the feedback accurately and on time. To fail to do so could impact negatively on the reputation of the client that they are supposed to be working for and even leave them open to potential claims of bias depending upon the circumstances.

In the candidate’s case, to fulfil the recruiter’s professional responsibilities to the candidate which include giving full, honest and timely feedback to help the candidate make informed decisions and to develop as a person and interviewee.

These professional responsibilities are not choice nor are they negotiable. To argue so is unprofessional, whatever your reasoning.


Honesty is always the right policy. It is expected and it should be present. When people choose to engage with you in business, whatever that business, they expect honesty.

It matters not whether you own a multi-national business or a corner store, people expect honesty. Honesty might sometimes be in short supply, the leaders of our nations might make it look like it is a choice, but it really isn’t; it is a given; and it separates true leaders and winners from dodgy, backstreet charlatans.

There really is little else to say. Sometimes, it is hard but doing the right thing can be. I am going to leave that one there.

Which all sits neatly in a little package labelled ‘It’s Not All About You’.

Every answer that concluded that the recruiter should lie ignored the above two points and based the answer upon the recruiter’s point of view – there was always some benefit that the recruiter would gain by not giving the feedback.

Even the ones claiming that the candidate would be demotivated are really about the recruiter as it is not the recruiter’s job to take decisions like that. Their job is to give the feedback and let the candidate work through it and do with it what THEY choose.

Many people I know, in all walks of life, make things all about them. They only see things from their own perspective…

  • CEOs ask me how they can motivate their staff, they do not ask why they are demotivated in the first place.
  • Negotiators ask me how they can influence the behaviours of others, they do not ask me how they can better understand them.
  • Salespeople ask me how they can convince clients to buy from them, they do not ask me how they can add more value to their businesses.
  • Parents ask me how they can get their children to listen to them, they do not ask how they can better hear their teenager’s angst.

You get the idea.

It’s not all about you. It really isn’t. But do you care? Do you care about it enough to take action?

There will be people in your business, right now, who see everything from their own perspective only and that is creating disconnect with your clients, lack of engagement from your stakeholders, and chipping away at motivation and buy in from your staff.

Changing this might not be easy but creating a world-leading business rarely is.

Gavin Ingham

Gavin is a speaker and author of “Motivate People” and “Objections! Objections! Objections!” Gavin has given over 1000 paid talks to over 100,000 delegates, spoken in nearly every county in England, all over Europe and in the US and Africa. With talks from small SMEs to the likes of Jaguar, UBS, The Royal Bank of Canada, Microsoft and Renault Trucks, he knows what it takes to motivate and inspire audiences to change and adapt to today’s competitive markets.

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