That job rejection you had may have nothing to do with you

Job hunters often don’t understand why employers don’t hire them. Some recruitment efforts fall flat for a number of reasons. Applicants may assume they lacked qualifications or fit, when the reasons for not hiring may be unrelated to them.

A budget that didn’t materialize doesn’t reflect on the applicant any more than does an internal promotion. Assigning deleterious practices, though, to employers, such as attempts to enhance the positioning of a business, may be justified. George Bradbury, founder of Bradbury & Partners Executive Mortgage Recruiting LLC in Atlanta, says some businesses use hiring as a way to market the business.

“They collect resumes via email or online form submissions, which quickly find their way to the circular file — a strategy that can also make them look busy (or may contribute to SEO),” he says.


What else keeps employers from hiring after they expend resources on recruiting, screening and/or interviewing? They could be learning during the interview process, says Lori Kleiman, founder of Lori Kleiman HR in Glenview, Ill. Having interviewed for 25 years, she says a new job description may be in the works “if the hiring manager keeps drilling down … on one specific part of your experience.”

Small-business owners may not be that different. Ira Wolfe, who owns Success Performance Solutions in Lancaster, Pa., screens candidates for small businesses and finds that many owners don’t really have clear qualifications or expectations.

“They feel they’ll know the right candidate when they see him or her,” Wolfe says.

He also attributes not hiring in some cases to lack of confidence.

Changes in the business may prompt hirers to rethink what they need, he says. If the business is looking for a sales engineer, for example, which function should it emphasize? If the business lands an account, it may decide it needs less sales experience in a sales engineering position and more engineering to manage the account.

Wolfe would rather see small-business owners develop clarity at the outset.

“Be crystal clear about their expectations for the new hire,” he says.

Another internal problem arises with disagreements over the job and the requirements to fulfill it, says Don Maruska, chief development officer of Take Charge of Your Talent Inc. in Morro Bay, Calif. Maruska says the people involved are essentially hunting for multiple people to fill multiple positions.

“Since hiring managers don’t want to bring someone onboard when others in the organization feel unsettled,” he says, “the recruitment craters and people who could be good for the job get lost in conflicting views.”

Attorneys accustomed to working independently may search for talent before obtaining authorization from executive management, which, in the case of large firms, may be in another state, says Jordan Abshire, who brings a law degree to Charlotte, N.C.-based Abshire Legal Search LLC.

“Firms with 400, 500 or 600 attorneys have management teams firmwide focusing more on cost control and making sure attorneys (meet) billable hours (first),” he says.

Abshire also cites uneven work flow in law firms, as in manufacturing or companies with government contracts, which may affect the need to hire.

The next time an employer doesn’t hire you, do your best to find out why. If you’re approaching your job search professionally, not being hired may have nothing to do with you and may ultimately be a blessing.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp of WorkWise® welcomes your questions at © 2013 Passage Media.

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