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'Ill-timed' | Lady Gaga & Michael Jordan cited in strange job rejection email

Story Gaga Jordan Rejection Letter

Sophie Parrott Press Releases, News, Recruitment...

A job candidate has received a detailed rejection email from a potential employer which cited a list of famous people who had experienced career setbacks before becoming successful.

According to the Sun, Kiran – who is a writer from London – posted a screenshot of the rejection email on social media, where a list of famous people such as Lady Gaga and Michael Jordan who have previously faced rejection in their career were included within it.

Kiran captioned the photo: “I am crying at this job rejection email. Like I didn’t need all this? I just saw a role posting and applied? Omfg.”

“But don’t just take it from us, take it from these folks…The rejection letter read: “Keep trying and applying. No one remembers the rejections; it only takes one ‘yes’ to change it all.

“The Beatles were turned down by Decca Records, Dick Rowe, who believes that ‘guitar groups were on the way out’ and that ‘they has no future in show business’. 

“We wonder how he feels now.

“After Harrison Ford’s first small movie role, an executive took him into his office and told him he’d never succeed in the movie business.

“Michael Jordan was actually cut from his high school basketball team.

“Lady Gaga got dropped by her record label, Island Def Jam, after three months.

“James Dyson had 5,126 failed prototypes of his ‘bagless vacuum cleaner’ before the next one worked."

“After just one performance, Elvis Presley was fired by Jimmy Denny, the manager at the Grand Ole Opry.

“May this rejection be a tiny and forgotten set on the road to your next big ‘yes’ — the one that really matters,” the note added.

Mixed responses on social media

This rejection email received mixed reviews from social media users, some of whom dubbed it ‘unprofessional’ while others suggested that it could be ‘motivational’.

For example, one Twitter user wrote: “Personally, hearing about James Dyson's hoover failures would make me feel much better!”

Another wrote suggested that the email was ‘motivational’, writing: “Wooowww ... The best rejection email. It motivates us.”

On the other hand, this email received a wealth of criticism. For example, one person said, “it’s unprofessional and condescending” with another writing that “this email is worse than rejection”.

Recruitment expert weighs in

Mandy Watson, Managing Director at recruitment firm Ambitions Personnel exclusively told HR Grapevine that the email “seems ill-timed and somewhat unprofessional given the current state of the jobs market and arrives when people's mental health is also quite fragile”.

While the recruitment expert recognised that the letter was likely intended to “soften the blow” she said that it fails to achieve this.

Despite this, the recruiter added that some organisations don’t respond to candidates at all.“…The tone is rather dismissive and jovial and falls wide of the mark. It could indeed cause offence as it has in this case and I would strongly suggest that the company who sent it review the content of any future letters,” Watson added.

In fact, data published on Human Capital Institute (HCI) found that 75% of applicants never hear back from employers after applying for a job, with 60% not hearing back from employers after a job interview.

For candidates, Watson explained that this can be a disheartening experience.

“For recruiters, it is often difficult to give a detailed response to an individual. More likely than not it is simply a case that another candidate has more relevant experience. At a time when more candidates are chasing fewer jobs, they may well have been a good candidate but someone else just had the slight edge on them,” she added.

While feedback can help candidates improve for future job searches, it is likely that most candidates won’t expect detailed reasons as to why they were not selected in a letter.

“Many are grateful simply for the courtesy of a response and you should aim to make that your minimum obligation, even if it is a generic response,” she concluded.