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The Power of No

20 Feb 2019

Nigel O’Leary

Nigel O’Leary, Assistant Manager with Brightwater’s Cork office discusses how “No” is not your enemy, it's your greatest ally.

As recruitment professionals we deal with “No” a lot. We hear it a lot and we say it a lot.

We can't respond to every application as quickly as we would like. We can't help everyone who reached out to us. Mostly because we simply don’t have the time, not because we don’t want to.

Our clients tell us “No” all the time

  • “No” the candidate didn't make the shortlist
  • “No” they won't make it to the next round
  • “No” we won't be making an offer
  • “No” we can't offer the salary they hoped for.

We pass those “No”s on every day and it’s disappointing and disheartening for candidates who had their hearts set on working for that company or moving into that role that might give them the career opportunity they desperately seek. As a result, people tend to hate hearing the word as it means that what we were hoping for isn’t going to happen. So we avoid it, we skirt around it, we put off hearing it and we put off saying it.

Most people in a sales environment (which recruitment is in a lot of ways) think that it’s all about getting someone to say “Yes” to you; “Yes” to the product or service you’re selling. The real superstars of selling know that it’s more about seeking the “No”. Finding the point of objection, knowing whether someone is going to commit or make the decision. If they’re not going to take the offer, if they’re going to say “No” eventually, then it’s better to know early and move on so that you’re not wasting your own and their time.

When you’re looking for a new job, the product you’re selling is your own unique blend of personality and experience. It’s represented by your CV; it’s your cold call to someone you hope will buy into you. But it needs to be the best representation of you that it can be and it needs to fit where you want to go. There’s no point trying to sell coffee to someone looking for tea.

Get that fundamental aspect right and then start looking for “No”’s.

Be like the tech industry in Silicon Valley. Fail early, fail often, it gets you closer to the right outcome.

Make friends with “No”.

“No” I won't give up.

“No” this isn't all there is for me.

“No” I am enough.

“No” is not your enemy, it's your greatest ally.

Nigel O’Leary is Assistant Manager with Brightwater’s Cork office, specialising in the life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors.