Tough Interview Questions: How Do You Handle Rejection?

I’ll speak for myself and start with when I answered this question, I also started with the idea that “I hate to lose and when you lose a sale it is very very painful.” That suggests to the interviewer that this means something to you. It’s not just, “oh, well, on to the next one.” Although you’ll see, I tie that in later on. I want to understand why it is that I lost and why they chose someone else.

Now, I was a headhunter. A candidate fit better. That occurred many times. Many many times! However, there are other situations where “I didn’t like the way your presentation went. I thought other people had a better proposal for me.”

“In what way,” so I at least understand.

“Thank you.”

Thank them and then from there what you try to do is (again, you’re not a headhunter. I was)  just simply go back to the product team, see if there are offerings that we can create that are more in line with what they need and want.  At that point, follow up later with the client.”

Notice the follow-up later to see how things are going and, thus, to see if there’s another opportunity to sell to them. When all is said and done, number one is, “I hate to lose.” Number two is learning from the client what it is that caused them to choose someone else. Number three, you stay in touch with the client and see how it goes and attempt to resell to them.

I know in my case, I found many clients who said “no,” the first few times who eventually came back and hired a lot of people from me. If you have stories along those lines, tell those stories because they’re very very powerful.

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020



Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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