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A lost endorsement

By Nathan Rice

I thought it was time to share with the gentleman with whom I was speaking that I was considering making some changes in my life. I told him that I was looking to make some changes in my current position, and I told him about the locations and positions I felt would be a good fit for me.

I guess he knew the question that was coming, so he answered it before I could ask. “I can’t recommend you,” he said. His statement was a complete surprise to me. I thought he would make a good reference, but I learned that he was not confident in my ability. We talked some more, I thanked him for his time, and I went home to remove his name as a reference on my unfinished application.

I paused when I removed his name as a reference, and I spent some time thinking about his refusal to recommend me. I learned several things through my reflection, and I share these now in the hopes that it will be helpful to anyone who has been, or will be, declined an endorsement.

First, pause to find the reason or reasons the person will not recommend you. It’s easy to get defensive or instantly reject what that person had to say, but if you respect the person enough to ask for an endorsement, you should ask for his or her reason for the decline. The person may have some valid points that you hadn’t yet noticed about yourself. It’s tempting to label that person a critic without processing what they had to say, but you owe it to yourself to consider their words. Not everyone who declines to endorse you for a position is being mean. Some are just being honest in their assessment.

If you determine through honest self-evaluation that the person is correct in their assessment, you can begin working on yourself in those areas so that you can be ready for the position you seek. I determined the individual’s evaluation of my performance and ability were incorrect, so I continued in my thoughts.

Next, prepare a rebuttal of the negative assessment you received. This rebuttal does not have to be shared with anyone but yourself. The goal isn’t to take it back to the person who refused to endorse you. The goal is to prove to yourself that the person’s perception of your ability is incorrect. The rebuttal shouldn’t be about the person who gave the negative review. While you may need to point to some flaws or misconceptions in that person’s answer, the focus should be on yourself. You should look more into what you can show about yourself instead of looking to pick the other person apart.

Lastly, do not allow one negative review to deter your desire to go after what you were seeking. There will always be critics. There will also be those who are sincere but misjudge your ability or who haven’t seen what you are truly capable of doing.

Someone’s refusal to endorse you does not have to make you angry, and it doesn’t have to end your quest for what you seek. Listen to the refusal, consider their words, make changes if necessary, prepare a rebuttal to ensure that you are confident in your ability, and move forward towards your goal.

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at nrice@abnb.org.