In the world of campus recruiting, it’s likely that a recruiter will see a student multiple times. Between interviews, professional functions, and on-campus recruiting efforts, a student could have several interactions with the same recruiter.
Depending upon the outcome of these interactions, seeing a recruiter again may or may not be an experience a student views as pleasant, particularly if the recruiter did not select the student for an internship or employment opportunity.
Don’t take it personally.
Rejection is hard and as a student, coming face to face with a recruiter who rejected you can be awkward. Recognizing that this is a common situation for many students, my best advice is to take the emotion out of the experience. You may not have been selected for the opportunity, but once you’re in the room with the recruiter, your focus should be on demonstrating to them that there are no hard feelings. This is definitely an exercise in professionalism! Smile, shake their hand, be cordial, make small talk. Your recruiter will be impressed with your ability to navigate what could be a tough situation and may see you in a different light as a result.
Sometimes, it’s just not the right time.
As a recruiter, I’m open to keeping in touch with candidates I didn’t select, because although they were not the right candidate for one role, another opportunity may arise that the fits the candidate perfectly. Although it’s difficult, consider that sometimes rejection isn’t actually a “no”–sometimes it’s a “not right now”.
I meet many students who love the Hyatt brand and see themselves working within one of our hotels. If enthusiasm was the sole criteria for selection, they would be the perfect candidate! But our college programs are very competitive and a student may need more time to develop or mature professionally in order to ensure they’ll be successful within our organization. Therefore the opportunity to see and network with the student again is definitely one that I’m open to. If we didn’t meet again, how would I ever have the opportunity to see their growth and hear about the experiences that have shaped them since the last time we met?
Embrace the opportunity to stay connected. Although you were rejected, you may still want to work for the specific organization; therefore, seeing the recruiter again may help to maintain a relationship. You could also be in a place where the company no longer interests you, but recognizing that industry is small, it is very likely that you and your recruiter will run into each other again. Take advantage of an opportunity to say hello. If a situation changes, it will make it easier for you to reach out to them.
Rejection is difficult. Moving past the emotion connected with rejection is even harder. Facing the recruiter who rejected you is a test in professionalism, but one you can definitely pass.