Tech Recruiting: Handling Rejection, Staying Motivated & Looking Ahead

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3 Difficulties Technical Recruitment Professionals Face and How to Overcome Them

Recruiting is rewarding, but it isn’t easy. Here’s how I handle the more difficult parts of being a Technology Recruiter.


For me, the most difficult part of my job is handling the rejection I experience on a daily basis. Rejection also happens to be the overwhelming majority of results I see.  

On average, my success rate – i.e. candidates who get an offer – is below 2%. In other words, I essentially “fail” at my job 98% of the time.

Whether it’s a client or candidate turning me down, handling immediate rejection is something I’ve become comfortable with and almost enjoy.

Here’s why: Turning rejection into a learning experience is essential – the best is when there is sufficient client reasoning and an explanation concerning the areas in which the candidate is lacking and/or why the candidate would not be a good fit. At that point, I am able to turn specific feedback into thresholds for my next search.

However, sometimes clients simply ignore candidate profile submissions that they determine do not meet their standards. In those situations, we are left wondering whether the submission was even reviewed and why the candidate did not ultimately meet the client’s standards.  

Without feedback, both negative and positive, it can be tough to continue the search for a good candidate.

However, the most difficult type of rejection is when a candidate is not made an offer late in the interview process. When a strong candidate earns a final onsite interview and does not get an offer, it is the ultimate heartbreak.

Rejection scenarios are never easy to handle, even with years of practice – find the positive and stay motivated.

Here’s a great read from Richard Moy via The Muse that offers some insight on the recruiter side of the rejection: 3 Thoughts Going Through Hiring Managers’ Heads When They’re Rejecting You.


Once rejection is processed and I come to grips with the fact that the search is back to “square one,” motivation becomes the next nemesis. For many recruiters, this difficulty is an ongoing personal and professional gear-grinder.

Restarting a search from scratch, when you were so close, will leave you with feelings of hopelessness or the desire to work on a new search to avoid another painful rejection.

When I lose motivation, I tell myself one thing, “All you need to find is one.”

Reminding myself that there is simply one solution to my quest, and I need to find it, is what keeps me recruiting with energy and excitement.

Of course, the obvious motivators like money, peer recognition, and a competitive spirit are easy to fall back on in pursuit of that solution.

Looking Ahead

The key aspect of tech recruiting is to keep looking ahead and moving forward. It is vital that we do not get too caught up in our wins or spend too much time harping on our losses.

Don’t get me wrong, I love positive attention and recognition for being a top producer at our firm. However, recruiting is a boundless career and my time is better spent on looking at “what’s next?” rather than worrying about “what could have been?”

So, What is Next?

Overall, it’s a great time to be a recruiter for specialized technical roles – the talent pool is eager to innovate and the demand for roles that require skilled technology workers continues to rise. With all the excitement it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the more difficult parts of the day-to-day and how we can use the competitive nature of technical recruiting to shape our processes for the better.

JZmick_OP_Recruiting and Account Management Lead

Jordan Zmick is an IT Recruiter and Account Manager at Objective Paradigm in Chicago, IL. His focus is centered in the Capital and Financial Market space where Jordan builds and maintains relationships with qualified, educated, and motivated candidates. He understands our clients’ needs and opportunities, coordinating candidate interviews, and becoming a reliable resource for quality profiles. Connect with Jordan on LinkedIn.

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