Mary Nowell
Mary Nowell
Managing Director: Private Practice

Articles From the Team


There is one part of my job as a recruiter that I never look forward to - giving a candidate the news that they have been unsuccessful. This is of course an inevitable part of the recruitment process and for every offer of employment there are those that have been unsuccessful. If you do receive a rejection call/email here are some of my thoughts to help to retain motivation and optimism while you continue your search.

1. Try and take something positive from the process

When I do pass on bad news to those that I represent I always strive to give detailed feedback wherever possible. You cannot always assume that a rejection is about you, your experience or your performance during the interview. There are occasions when there is just a candidate in the process that is a better ‘fit’ for the role the client has at any given time. It is too easy to become disheartened and to start to take things personally; a no at interview is rarely a judgement or you. Ask yourself honestly whether you prepared fully for the interview, if you did then you can reassure yourself that this just wasn’t the right position for you.

2. The importance of feedback

Don't make assumptions about why you haven’t secured the role on this occasion. Ask questions! You are absolutely free to question your recruiter or prospective employer for more detailed and constructive feedback; after all this is your chance to get better and improve your chances next time round. Try and evaluate your interview performance objectively and try and ensure that you proactively seek honest feedback. It is all too easy not to broach negative feedback but this can sometimes be the most important to receive.

Finally don’t be afraid to ask a trusted recruiter to conduct a mock interview with you and provide feedback and action points.

3. Tailor your approach

Try to treat each application and interview with the consideration and research that it deserves. Don’t assume that each interview/interviewer has the same style or utilises the same interview structure. Ensure that you know what to expect and you have researched appropriately. Don’t forget that it is important to prepare for the technical/competency portion of the interview but also to understand the personalities and backgrounds of the interviewers. We have all been blind sided by a tricky interviewer; if you know in advance this won’t take you by surprise. If you have received learning points from a previous interview don’t let this make you nervous, you have prepared, worked on your technique and improved so embrace this new opportunity.

The market is hugely busy right now and there is some fantastic opportunities for the aspiring lawyer to take a ‘step up’. Sometimes in a busy market it is easy to fall into the trap and become complacent. Don’t let that be you - embrace the interview process and treat an unsuccessful application as an opportunity to improve, hone skills and learn. Remember the Japanese proverb “Fall seven times, stand up eight.”

For further information, please contact Mary Nowell  at BCL Legal.

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