Abandoning the recruitment process? 3 reasons and ways to do it right

It is important to maintain a good relationship with a recruiter, be it a headhunter or a recruiter of a company, even if you already have a job and are not looking for another. In life things change and you may have the desire or need to change companies in the future, paths with those who have handled a selection with you may cross again and therefore leaving a good impression during a selection process is fundamental. 

Improvement is always possible, and in order to grow and aim for the best, it is necessary to take care of one’s professional relationships and expand contacts by dedicating time and attention to the right people. The advice is therefore to be polite and educated and to cultivate the relationship with both the headhunter and the company regardless of the outcome of the selection process. 

Even in case of a negative outcome at an interview, try to maintain contact with the recruiters anyway. The reasons that led them not to choose you may be different, but when and if there is another opportunity to evaluate your professional profile, they are more likely to contact you again if you have managed to establish a good relationship of transparency and trust.

Even if it was you who turned down a job offer, there is a way to do it and, certainly, professionalism and seriousness in handling this moment must always be present if you want your reputation on the market to remain high.


The selection process 

The work of the headhunter follows a very tight methodological process that starts with the identification of a target list of companies where to look for the ‘ideal’ candidate for the client company and ends with the desirable offer to the chosen candidate.

In between the identification and the offer there is the search phase, the first approach, the cognitive interview and the various subsequent interviews with the various company contacts. In the case of headhunting, the candidate is not actively seeking a professional change, does not respond to an advertisement, but is ‘scouted’ and informed of a career opportunity or job alternative. Normally, therefore, the candidate starts out lukewarm and gradually warms up in the selection process, if the project, the proposed role or the company sparks his or her interest.

It is therefore crucial for the recruiter to focus on attraction, to try to understand the levers that can be a stimulus for change and to understand whether or not the match with the role and the company really exists. The motivation for change is the critical point to be felt particularly carefully, throughout the process, in order not to find oneself in a last-minute rejection.


Reasons for rejection

Unfortunately, at this particular moment in the market, the issue of candidate rejection is particularly felt by recruiters and companies because it is becoming more and more frequent, reaching unprecedented levels. We are clearly talking about candidates in highly sought-after roles that are particularly attractive on the market and who are lucky enough to be able to choose their future career and employer.

The reasons that lead candidates to refuse can be varied:

  • the company where the candidate works makes a ‘counter-offer’ that convinces him to stay;
  • another company has made a more attractive offer;
  • the proposal is deemed not to be economically advantageous;
  • the candidate has discovered that the working environment is not what he had imagined and the company’s reputation on the market is not the best; 
  • the commuting required is too demanding or the family relocation is too complicated;
  • the desired flexibility in terms of smartworking is not granted by the company;
  • there is a last-minute fear of change: novelty is frightening and stepping out of one’s comfort zone always arouses a certain amount of fear.


Whatever the reason for rejection, it is very important that the candidate handles this phase in an ethical and professional manner. Indeed, the headhunter devotes time and resources to establish a relationship of trust and to support the candidate in the selection phase. He/she should tell his/her own story in a transparent manner, and should not keep the consultant in the dark about his/her thoughts.

In several cases the headhunter and the company receive a completely unexpected cold shower with the rejection of the offer. Frequently, the candidate has in fact always been attentive, participative, and positive throughout the selection process, and at the last moment it turns out that:

  • He/she had other selection processes underway.
  • He/she was managing an internal re-launch phase within his/her company. 
  • He/she had not adequately shared the change or relocation opportunity with his/her family. 


These are just a few cases that we have been dealing with in recent times and which make us realise how important it is that, in addition to the recruiter, the candidate must also handle the whole process in an ethical and professional manner.

The company receives a great deal of damage from a last-minute rejection because, normally, it has focused firmly on the finalist and rarely has figures on the bench to bring in. In addition, time and costs are significantly extended. The candidate must take this into account and manage a good relationship with the headhunter and the company for several other reasons. 


The advantages of good relationship management

Managing the relationship in a transparent and honest way with your interlocutors also brings several advantages to the candidate:

  1. The offer negotiation phase is the most sensitive, and the consultant who follows you is the right person to find the meeting point for company and candidate: open up, confront each other and talk about any doubts or perplexities so that the consultant can help and support you;
  2. If you are able to maintain a good relationship with the recruiters, it is possible that in the future some new opportunities may open up that are more in line with your wishes in case the current one does not suit you;
  3. If you are able to maintain a good relationship with the recruiters, it is possible that some new opportunities more in line with your wishes may open up in the future if the current one does not suit you. 

At Kilpatrick we try to pay special attention to this issue and we always try to establish trusting relationships with our candidates. 

We are dealing with human vulnerability and we certainly cannot reduce the risk of rejection to zero, but we certainly pay close attention to the signs that arise during the selection process and try to interpret them and warn our clients of the risk. In many cases we are able to understand the problem and solve it, in others we immediately work on putting additional candidates in the pipeline to be triggered in case of rejection.

In conclusion, do not fall off the headhunter’s radar and try to cultivate the relationship with a view to a mutual opportunity, networking and a beneficial exchange of ideas.