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Hong Kong Hunter: being rejected 100 times just makes you a stronger job seeker

“I am sorry to inform you that your application to our bank has been rejected. I give you my best wishes for your future endeavours.” This is not something new for job applicants at any level, however, it might have an even bigger impact on younger professionals, who might feel insulted or even belittled.

Ideally, every job seeker wants to receive multiple offers from his/her dream employers, but in real life this is a very unlikely scenario. Even graduating from a famous university, doesn’t guarantee you success.

We all face different setbacks and criticisms from our interviewers. But this is ok, as long as you learn from your mistakes. Let me give you two examples. The renowned former hedge fund manager Jim Cramer, who graduated from Harvard Law School, has spoken publicly about his uneasy first attempts to break into the finance world. His persistence finally got him an offer from Goldman Sachs.

At the other end of the scale, a math guru buddy of mine, who also went to an Ivy League college in the US, told me he had more than 100 interviews before landing a position in market risk.

Find out why you were rejected

Interviewers have many qualified candidates to short list, especially at large investment banks, which have many HR people to sort out the right candidate groups. I think every job seeker has the right to know which stage of the process they are being eliminated at, and the reason behind the rejection.

It is vital to write a thank you letter after each interview and to seek comment. Feedback is a good way for you to self evaluate. Unlike in my early job searches, I am now more aware of the importance of people skill, and thus I have learnt to communicate more effectively thanks to my past mistakes.

But don’t whinge about your rejection

In many cases, you will face a series of unpleasant and unsuccessful attempts during your job hunting, but don’t lose your cool. The financial services world is very small and everyone knows each other well. You might be a rejected candidate this time, but your interviewer might be your boss, colleague or client tomorrow.

For example, in one of my own failed interviews, the interviewer subsequently became my sell-side researcher for the mining industry. So don’t let your emotions overcome you if you are rejected.

Mobility and connections in this sector are unbelievably close. An inappropriate phone call or e-mail can easily ruin your career by damaging your relationships and reputation.

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Comments (13)

  1. If I am your boss, you will be thrown in the RECYCLE BIN, but never to be recycled. Is the publisher loosing its touched?

    domingo maggay Reply
  2. I don’t think companies and recruiters would bother to feedback where you have done wrong in interviews..or at least in Singapore, it is reli rare to have positive feedback.. think the company would just say there are stronger candidates.

  3. 95 to go.

  4. same as kenneth &&

    graduated late october 2008 armed with a BSc Business. been rejected/overlooked endlessly. the water is up to my nostrils and i’m increasingly finding it dificult to stay afloat. i feel more “disillusioned” and “frustrated” than “stronger”.

  5. Does this mean that the writer will now have to ask us for feedback on this article? I’ll be sure to give it to him, if he asks nicely, on 31 Feb 2069.


  6. If the unemployed can exhibit the determination and the amazing magnitude to take abuses like the author expect you to, simply channel 10% of that ability and you will be making many times a slave wage.

    Always remember, 90%of the employed are not worth their salt and it is a case of losers average losers. last time i checked, many of these tier one investment bankers with fancy title are selling hotdogs and furiously twitting away for a few bucks. anyway good luck to those still searching for a slave wage.

  7. I am in international construction. I get offers but have turned three down. Why? 1 Good job but I called the guy who was quiting as his mandatory work week was 15 hours a day 7 days a week -no OT paid. Another was for Afghan, All went well with management but HR was non communicative and arrogant and wanted documents such as high school grade sheets, 8 references and after 52 forms no end was in sight, I just withdrew.. Another, had all the interviews and then waited and waited and I kept in touch, Finally his assistant calls at 9 at night “Can you be in Bnagalore tomorrow to sign the contract?”” No I am in the US this week. She said “well that is too bad” and hung up.

  8. Totally agree with ‘anonymous banker’. Either the writer is living in his own world or has copied some crap from a useless HR book. Which recruiter/company in their right mind will give rejection feedback to a candidate? Come back to earth pls…. staff at efinancial! Do you even realize how terribly demoralizing it is for an individual who is rejected so many times? It is easy for you to say oh “don’t lose your cool” or oh “don’t whinge about your rejection” blah blah blah! I only wish it happens to the writer, then you’ll feel the agony of being jobless and facing repetitive rejections!

  9. this takes a toll on ur self confidence …

  10. Some people can’t take a hint…..if yur been rejected 100 times…..yur career is over. Find something else to do.

  11. i havent been rejected 100 times, but probably close to half the amount. my question is, where else can I find opportunities for fresh graduates now that I have been rejected more than 100 times (probably meaning more than 100 companies)?

  12. The writer of this column is surely A NUT CASE or lives in his own sweet world. You expect company to give you feedback on grounds you were rejected ?

    A few of the reasons why thats not at all possible
    1) Recruiting Mangers dont have time to cater to requests of rejected candidates – does this writer has ever visited Asia or writing from a remote part of the world?
    2) Logistically HR has no means to cater to request of large number of rejected candidates on detailed information of their rejection
    3) Giving explanation for rejection could end up giving grounds to rejected candidate to sue the bank (for basis such as prejudice, discrimination etc)

    My sincere request to EFinancial Editor : KINDLY PICK A MORE QUALIFIED COLUMNIST IN FUTURE!!!

    Anonymous Banker Reply
  13. very true, but problem is that however strong you are, the companies don’t want you, you’re still in the Unemployed group..

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