New research from job search app,, reveals that unemployed, single job seekers take job rejection hard and therefore HR Managers need to be sensitive in the way they approach the candidates involved.

The job board undertook a survey of 1,200 unemployed Britons in order to understand more about the habits of those searching for employment. All respondents taking part in the poll had been unemployed for at least three months, were currently single and at least 18 years old. There was an even male/female divide.

Results were surprising.

All respondents were first asked, “What’s most upsetting, rejection from a potential employer or a love interest?” to which a third (34%) stated that they find it hardest to handle rejection from employers. They were then asked, “What would you most like to find, the perfect job or the perfect partner?” to which 59% would prefer to land their dream job than their dream man or woman.

Of those that found employer rejection worst, 54% were female; and it was men who were more keen to find their dream woman rather than their dream job, making up 65% of the respondents who chose the perfect partner over the perfect job.

How job rejection affected the respondents

All respondents were then asked to identify any behaviours as a result of a job rejection, to which 61% had ‘cried’, 57% had ‘drunk alcohol’ and 51% had ‘eaten unhealthy food’. 14% confessed that they had ‘rebounded to an old employer’.

A spokesperson at commented on the research:

“Finding the right job is a little bit like finding the right partner; it can take a while, you might have to kiss a few frogs along the way and you just have to keep trying.  In all seriousness, it will surprise some people that women make up the majority of those who are most upset by an employer’s rejection, and are more keen to find the perfect job than the perfect partner. Getting rejected always carries a sting, but it’s important not to let it get you down. What’s meant to be will be and you won’t find your happy ending if you give up!”

Of course, this does show one thing – that HR Managers need to be sensitive when letting candidates down.

How HR can let candidates down gently

HR Expert Susan Healthfield believes that recruiters should be thoughtful when approaching candidate rejection, not least because the influence of social media means that these days,  a disgruntled candidate’s rant is potentially seen by up to 1,374 people.  She says:

“The first consideration when you reject a job candidate is that you are not rejecting the candidate as an individual human. So, you want to term the rejection in a more positive light. Don’t use the word rejected. Say instead, “The selection team has decided that they will not pursue your candidacy further. We will retain your application and consider it when additional openings come up.” (If this is true, otherwise skip the second sentence.)

Susan also believes that after a candidate has come for an interview, an email rejection is not appropriate.  She says:

“After an interview, you must call the applicant. Never reject the candidate by email, text message, voicemail, or IM. You owe the candidate the courtesy of a call even if you follow up the call with a rejection letter.

Ultimately, organisations should treat candidates with the same level of respect they would extend to customers – you never know where they will ultimately end up, and kindness costs nothing.