Job seekers - the real reasons you didnt get the job
People who write job advice columns for a living make theirliving by writing job advice columns. Consequently payingtheir rent requires them to grind out a never-ending series ofcolumns with chipper titles like “8 ½ Secrets Of Job HuntingSuccess," "How To Chose Between Multiple Job Offers," and"Secrets Of Negotiating A Really High Salary." Usually theseare only tenuously connected to reality (especially themultiple job offer and salary negotiation ones). Columns onwhy you didn’t get hired usually include nifty factoids like“because you stuck a pencil in the hiring manager’s eye.”Not really helpful because they discuss job hunting faux pasthat you are highly unlikely to make like “don’t show up forthe interview naked”.It’s high time for the real reasons you didn’t get hired to comeout. This will help you make sense of the fact that aftermonths-and-months of job hunting, and numerous interviewsfor jobs you were perfect for, you’re still looking.
The Hiring Manager Already Made The Decision Often the hiring manager already knows who he or she wants for the job, and has it wired up. They’re just going through the posting and interview Kabuki theater because their HR department requires due diligence. HR may or may not be in on the scam, but either way nobody has the moral courage or even the common decency to tell you that the whole exercise is a complete waste of your time because the decision was made before the job was even posted.
HAL Didn’t Like Your Resume HAL 9000 (the fictional computer villain in the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey), is now in charge of screening most resumes and online applications, and he definitely didn’t like yours. So he didn’t pass it through to the next step. HAL uses completely random criteria that nobody knows what they are so there’s no point asking or trying to figure it out, besides the HR people like their secrets (it makes them feel important). And once HAL rejects you for a particular job opening, he makes an indelible note to himself to never pass you along for any other job. "Open the Interview Room Doors HAL." "Im sorry Dave, I cant do that."
Ken And Barbie Didn’t Like Your Resume Either Your application’s next stop after HAL is Ken and Barbie, the HR flacks. Ken and Barbie take themselves very seriously as gatekeepers, and will pass only those candidates who in their judgment will be a good fit for the position. Since Ken and Barbie know screw-all about the position, and have never actually managed, run, or accomplished anything substantial themselves, they haven’t a clue of who would actually be a good fit, so getting past them is essentially random. The HR folks have a special secret tool they use for vetting resumes. Check it out: http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~ssanty/cgi-bin/eightball.cgi
The HR folks have a special secrettool they use for vetting resumes. Check it out:
Wrong Flavor You’re too old, too young, black, white, brown, straight, gay, male, female, fat, thin, religious, irreligious, etc. Yes of course this is mostly illegal, but easily gotten around by nobody actually saying anything about it. Or the company may have a particular democraphic niche they’re looking to fill, and you’re not it. One of the ways you can tell this happened to you is if you’re told to be ready for two hours of interviews, and you get gonged about 15 minutes in for no apparent reason (like, for example, stabbing someone in the eye with a pencil). They took one look at you and when it was clear you weren’t who they were looking for, they decided to skip the charade.
Wrong "Fit" The hiring manager isnt really lookingfor someone to do a job, she or he islooking for a new Best Friend Foreveror someone they can "go to lunch with."You didnt share their interest inTwilight, or golf, or whatever so youreout.
You’re Too Competent It is a well known fact (that I just made up) that some managers only hire people who are less assertive and less competent than they are. It helps them feel better about themselves, and gives them a bunch of nonassertive nudniks to boss around.
You’re Not "Qualified" You may be the most objectively qualified person on the planet for the job, but that doesnt mean youre "Qualified." When the hiring manager has already made the decision, if youre the wrong flavor, or if youre the wrong fit its astonishing how unqualified you are. Consider this interchange: Interviewer: "Do you have experience with Kumquat?" Applicant: "Yes, I have 8 years of continuous experience with Kumquat. I was a beta tester before it was first released, and now Im using Kumquat 3.0." Interviewer: "Aww, thats too bad, were looking for someone with experience with Kumquat 3.1." Clearly the interviewee wasnt "Qualified."
The Company Isn’t Really Serious About Filling The Position
The Company Isn’t Really Serious About Filling The Position The hiring manager has been complaining about needing another headcount for months, years maybe. Upper Management finally gets tired of listening to the complaints and gives the hiring manager permission to recruit for the position. But then somehow, after hundreds of hours are sunk in the process, Upper Management never quite gets around to actually green-lighting the hire. Or, the company has an ongoing "Cattle Call" where they continually troll the metro area looking for the absolutely cheapest people they can find. The work environment is awful stemming from their corporate practice of treating staff like toilet paper, use once, flush. So theyre always on the lookout for a new batch of suckers, er prospective employees. If the hiring process has inexplicably convoluted hoops you have to jump through, it may be theyre just testing the level of crap youll put up with, or the level of desperation to which youve sunk. Either way give these folks a pass.
The World Is Made Of Snow One nonsensical specious irrational crazytown reason is as good as another. Maybe it was unusual sunspot activity. Barometric pressure too high or too low. There was a lion outside. You were wearing a striped tie. You werent wearing a striped tie. You used black ink on your application. You used blue ink on your application. You get the idea.
And The Secret Is? So, you ask, what’s the secret? How do I escape these circles of job-huntinghell? You don’t. To find a job, you have to eat a cubic yard of manure.There’s no way around it, you just have to grab your spoon and dig in.You can, however, protect your time by refusing to be abused. If Ken,Barbie, or the hiring manager are jerking you around, don’t be afraid todrop out of the process if you strongly intuit it’s really going nowhere.Decide in advance what your limits are. (I won’t travel out of town for aninterview unless my travel and lodging are reimbursed. This may havecost me a few interviews, but I’m certain it hasn’t cost me any jobs).Protect your sanity by remembering it really isn’t about you. As long asyou covered the fundamentals (shoes shined, teeth brushed, dont stickanyone in the eye with a pencil) there was nothing more you could do.Eventually the law of averages has to play out in your favor and youll getthat coveted offer for a job paying merely 40% less than your previous gig.