Dear Corporate Drone:
I have been looking for a new job for a few months now, and I’m confused. I’ve been on a few interviews where I know I have all the qualifications that they’re looking for, and yet I don’t get the offer. More often than not, I don’t even get a follow-up telling me that I’ve been excluded from candidacy? What gives?
Frustrated Job Seeker
Dear Frustrated Job Seeker:
The first thing you need to do is to banish from your mind the idea that employers hire the most qualified candidate. That is a myth. Employers hire the person they think is the best “fit” for the job. How they determine fit? Who the hell knows. It’s one of these intangible things that is total bullshit.
Now, as for why you didn’t get the job, the reasons are many and varied. Here is a sampling of some real reasons that you might not be getting hired:
- Hiring manager doesn’t like your alma mater.
- No degree/you have an advanced degree/you hold too many degrees.
- You express irritation at stupid, irrelevant questions such as “if you were a tree, what kind would you be, and why?”
- You remind one of the interviewers of his Uncle Jim, who was a mean drunk who could never hold down a job.
- You are a man.
- You are a woman.
- You haven’t spent the last five years doing the exact same job at a direct competitor.
- You’re too well known in the industry.
- You are unknown in the industry.
- Hiring manager recognizes that you are smarter than she is, and she perceives this as a threat.
- You refused to disclose your current employer’s proprietary information, and, therefore, you must not be a “team player.”
- You are openly gay.
- You are openly straight.
- Employer prefers to hire someone who has 500+ contacts in the industry, an MBA, CPA, and JD, and who is fluent in both Cantonese and Latvian. Working knowledge of Sanskrit a plus. You do not meet these minimum qualifications. Commence whining on the part of the employer about not being able to find qualified candidates.
- Employer doesn’t like where you live, thinks it’s too far, too close, not fashionable enough.
- You remind the interviewer of the Mean Girl from high school.
- You are a woman who has children still at home.
- You are over age 50/”overqualified.”
- You dressed too fashionably for the interview.
- You dressed to casually for the interview.
This represents just a few of the reasons that you may be disqualified and kicked to the “thanks, but no thanks” pile. Notice that none of them have anything to do with your ability to perform the job, because that is pretty irrelevant when it comes to hiring. It is a numbers game, and eventually you will get an offer. But when you do get an offer, think carefully about whether or not you want to accept one from a company that would ask you to name a song that best describes you, or some other such nonsense. Ridiculous, inane interview tactics are a strong indication that incompetency runs amuck.