Why have you been told you’re not getting the job?

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A story that the Today show ran this week left me scratching my head. Not because of their reporting, which was a very good read, but because of the stories relayed by the interviewees. See, the article looks at the often discussed but still unsolved dour job situation for Millennials. The title says it all: “Gen Y: No jobs, lots of loans, grim future.”

Well, that’s cheery.

Young job seekers who have graduated from college or graduate school are struggling to find work. Some of these new job seekers are struggling not only to find the perfect jobs in their fields, but also to find any jobs that will cover their living expenses. It goes on to talk about the competition between these job seekers and baby boomers who are deferring their retirements.

“A quarter of workers postponed their retirement in the past year, with 33 percent of workers now expecting to retire after 65, according to a retirement survey by The Employment Benefit Research Institute.

“If they do manage to get hired, younger employees are often the first to be fired in layoffs. And when Millennials do land a job, it probably won’t be as lucrative due to intense competition for jobs. That means that this generation’s potential earning power is likely to lag over the course of their careers.”

Millennials are overqualified, from an education perspective. Yet, many of them lack the work experience needed for many positions so they’re not experienced enough. They can’t seem to win.

If you’ll recall, we recently asked you to weigh in on the overqualified debate. And you weighed in with passionate responses. Judging by your comments on that post, it seems that employers are turning away candidates who have too much education or too many years of leadership or just too many years in the workforce. They’re afraid you’ll jump ship the second the economy bounces back. By their logic, a 40-something year-old job seeker with 20 years of experience is a flight risk. Yet, as you readers have also told us, many baby boomers with decades of experience are being edged out by companies who want younger workers who are in tune with technology. But aren’t these younger Gen Y workers considered too inexperienced, as the Today article explains?

Judging by the comments you leave on the Work Buzz, Facebook, and Twitter, you’re frustrated with what you’re hearing from employers. (Or, in some cases, not hearing.) We want to know what feedback you’re getting and whether it’s helpful to you in your job search or if it only confuses you further.

  1. Reasons I have not been hired the past two years:
    – Not dressed appropriately for the interview
    – Did not “ask” any questions about the company
    – over qualified
    – out of salary range
    – too far for commute
    – I would not be happy working for a small company.

    Everything reason under the sun except the two reason’s their faces gave when I first walked in their office. They saw “gray” hair and they saw a “cane”. They were actually giving reason’s that would normally be the applicant’s reason for declining the job! Go figure!!

    • I was told that I didn’t get a promotion that I went for this summer due to “lack of experience”. The problem is, I had been doing that job for 6 months PRIOR to the interview, and then was expected to continue to do the job until the person that was hired had started. Of course, I also had to spend 2 weeks TRAINING this person, who is now my boss.

      • I have seen this over and over again. I don’t get it. You are qualified to “Temporaraly” do the job and also “Train” the person for the job, but OMG not qualify to be promoted for the job !!!!!!!!!! What a crock!!!!! It all comes down to that “Degree”, The dreaded “Personality Profile”, or who does or doesn’t like you.
        Yes it can be that simple….. and yes it stinks !!!

  2. My double-edged sword seems to be too much and not enough experience. I’ve been out of IT for six years but maintaining my currency through coursework. I’ve been told they don’t want to hire me because I don’t have enough “platform-specific” experience and/or I have too much experience and won’t be happy working for _______ (an entry/mid-level salary, in an entry/mid-level position… You fill in the blank). I just want to get back into IT at any level I can. Once I’ve proven myself, we can renegotiate salary, position, whatever. I’ve proven my abilities by maintaining a straight A average in my coursework. Just give me a chance!

  3. I interviewed for a position at the Univ. of the Sciences in Philadelphia. While walking through the campus, the interviewer stopped by a construction site where a foundation was being dug, and said quietly “Maybe we should dig a hole and put you in it…”! I asked him to repeat his comment, and he said “You’re doing fine.” But I was not offered the job.

    Do they have to be rude?

      • I have been a Recruiter for 14 years and I am so disgusted that a Recruiter would say that to you. The one thing I’ve always maintained in my career is a sense of empathy for candidates. It’s terrible that they said that and, quite frankly, you are lucky to not be working for that company. A Recruiter is an Ambassador for the company they work for. Regardless of your viability for hire, they should always remain professional and diplomatic.

  4. I wish I would be told why they don’t hire me.
    1-Assessment test?
    If something on the assessment test, challenge me. Let us talk about the questions and answere options; and why I selected the answer option I chose.
    3-Something from the background check.
    If there is something, I would appreciate the decency to be confronted, so that the ‘facts’ can be discussed.

    I am ususlly only told, ‘we have decided to choose another’.

    • I could’ve written this. I’ve never gotten feedback from companies, not once. I know to tailor the resume to the position and have gotten resume format advice from several “pros”. When I don’t get any feedback, only silence, I can only guess as to what happened. If there is something I can change, I will. If the person doesn’t tell me, I will continue to repeat the same mistake. I cannot be expected to do things right, if I don’t know what I’m doing wrong!

      • A BIT ditto to CS!
        I too have been passed over after taking an assessment test for 2 companies now. I have a BA in Business Mgmt, have been doing the same job I have applied for with other companies for 25 years now, as well as have a PHR (Professional in Human Resources).
        I have come to the decision that companies want someone that “fits” perfectly to their molds. Someone that through their analysis will be the employee that sees everything they way they do. That being siad, I’m not sure how you grow in that kind of environment.
        If you apply for a loan, you have to be told why you were turned down. I personally feel that if you apply for a job and are turned down on the basis of the outcome of an assessment test… you should also be notified why.
        Just my two cents…

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  7. Yea I don’t understand it…. Drives me crazy!! I always wanted to get a job like writing in a magazine, periodical, something in creative writing. Most of them never even give you a chance for an interview let alone your foot in the door! All you see are like in job searches online are people with Bachelor’s Degrees.. I have an A.A. One time I applied to an online ad of a magazine publishing company because they were asking for a columnist. After maybe 6 months, they finally send me an email saying they appreciate my interest in the job but was looking for someone with more experience. They said they I was unstable because I’ve had several summer jobs that were like 3-8 months duration before moving on to something else. That didn’t make sense at all!! How else do you expect to pay for college if you don’t get odd jobs or part-time jobs to pay for basic living expenses?? Come on people!

    • Maybe it’s your overuse of the word “like”. As a professional journalist, “like” should rarely enter your written vocabulary.

      Just a thought.

    • So if the basic qualification is a BA, get a BA. If they want to see your clippings, show them your clippings. If you don’t have any, get some, even if you aren’t getting paid for it. You need to meet the requirements of any job, and not think it unreasonable if you get turned down when you don’t have them.

    • A degree is really only an item that tells an employer that you can begin and complete a large project.

      Your focus needs to be more company, and not on yourself, lot’s of people have degrees, some have multiple degrees, your degree is your entry to get an interview, not a job.

      It is apparent that you don’t understand this, you need to be team oriented, whatever I can do for the team, and NO questions regarding payscale, that will kill you all the time.


  8. I have been informed that I “spoke too educated” to work as a pharmacy technician by an interviewer who from all accounts had a high school education and seemed to think I wanted her job.Ridiculous as she was apparently from a different department.

    • it was most likely what you said to specific questions asked, that you did not get the job. Self-centered, entitled, and asking questions like “how much will I make in three years are not appropriate questions.

      Lot’s of people have degrees, some have mutilple degrees, so just because you have a degree is not enough.

      A degree tells an employer that you can learn to do a job, no entitlement, it is how you present yourself to that prospective employer as to whether you are a member of their team. A degree in an of itself is really worthless.

  9. I agree with James above, I have heard all those. The one that really gets me is the “credit check” did not come back within our qualifications.

    I love it. What does a credit check, and yes in these times of unemployment and foreclosures people have lower credit scores, have to do with whether I can do the job. I have been out of work for 18 months now, constantly searching so my credit has been affected. Whose wouldn’t when lenders won’t renegotiate home loans to assist etc.

    I believe when I go for an interview, which only happened twice in 18 months, or walk in to fill out and application they see a grandma who has a slight limp. Arthritis in the knee. I know its age discrimination. I do not look as old as I am, I color my hair and people are surprised when they find out my age but I am well over 40 and I believe that is part of the problem today.

    • i agree with grandma. I think age has something to do with it. They want younger inexperienced ppl who have no sense of responsibility and prolly won’t last.

  10. I agree with Tim. I am a 25 yr. old IT student in Washington State; I have 5 years of IT experience with servers, networking and troubleshooting. When I went in to apply with Best Buys “Geeksquad” I was not hired because I had “too much” experience for entry-level, but “not enough” experience for mid-level. I asked them to hire me at entry level because I needed the experience, but they refused, saying they didn’t want to have to pay me at mid level for an entry level position. I realize that I am young, and have no professional experience but how do they expect me to gain the experience if they wont hire me?

    • That’s why I wrote “Job Hunting 101″. What you should have done Tiffany is tell them that you’d be happy to take the entry level salary to gain the experience. NOst importantly for them is the fact that they would get someone with skills and ex[eience beyond entry level at an entry level salary, creasting a “win-win”. Check out my book at: http://www.jobhunting101.net or go to Amazon. Good luck with your search.
      Matt M Gordon

  11. I am the director of a state agency, and we are not allowed to tell candidates why they were not selected for a position. I wish we could because I think it’s definitely more courteous, and it’s a kindness to the applicant if there is a problem that could be corrected. Most folks truly want to learn from the interview experience so they can do better, and we all appreciate honesty. We used to be able to tell someone why he/she wasn’t hired, but you can only imagine in this litigious society, a few people decided the reason they weren’t hired wasn’t good enough or they were “discriminated against”, so they sued. No matter how careful, interviewers are human and say things that are misconstrued, or the candidate does not want to take responsibility for his own actions. It’s too easy to find an attorney to take a case on a contingent fee, and a lot of people – and juries – think government agencies (or corporations) have deep pockets to pay out big judgments. It’s awfully expensive to defend that type of lawsuit, even if ultimately cleared, and we have all heard about companies settling cases for small amounts even when they did nothing wrong just to avoid the expense of a trial. (It’s really sad because it cheapens and disrespects the people who actually have a legitimate employment claim.) The end result is that now we can’t give people any interview feedback at all because there’s too much risk for the employer. I think it stinks, too, because I would far rather answer the question when someone asks me. But as a society, we brought it on ourselves….

    • Ditto on the feedback comment. I screen about 30-40 people a week and would love, love, love to give candidates feedback. You would be amazed at what job seekers say during an interview and I swear most leave thinking, “man,I NAILED it.” Yeah, ok, dude. At any rate, disgruntled candidates argue and sue. So, alas, no more feedback.
      I also hire people from new grads to 30 plus years of experience. Last week I interviewed 3 people for one position, all with anywhere from 20-25 years of identical technical experience. Candidate A was super nervous, a bit disshevled, and would potentially have over an hour commute and hasn’t worked in a year, looking for @ 15K more than we wanted to pay. Candidate B was direct, polished, heavily networked looking for about 20K more than we were looking to pay (hasn’t worked in @ a month), lives within 5 minutes of the office. Candidate C was prompt, pleasant, currently employed and @ 20K less expensive than what we are looking to pay, about 15 minute commute. All three are women. Who’d we pick?
      Candidate A. She was responsive but not overly talkative. She was right on point with regard to articulating her technical expertise. She was good-natured. Was able to give really strong examples of being proactive, relationship building within departments, customer service, both internal and external. Had great follow up question and handled any objections respectfully.
      Candidate B was arrogant, talked over the VPs, wouldn’t answer a question directly, focused more on how to get the next level position rather than the position she was interviewing for, told us why we needed to make the position a senior level position, was very vague on certain responses and every time we tried to redirect she would avoid the question.
      Candidate C, I met her in the lobby and asked if she found the office ok, she proceeded to talk for 10 minutes about the most random stuff??. I asked if she brought a hard copy of her resume, she had it folded up in her purse, I took her to the managers to interview, 45 minutes later one of the VPs walks in my office and says “that woman’s life is a soap opera!!! I heard about everything from the divorce to the health problems, you name it!”
      So what feedback do I give??

      As an aside, the position is budgeted for 105K, we plan to offer Candidate A 115K. Hope she accepts, if not, back to the drawing board.

      Long story, longer, there’s alot of competition out there. If you get your foot in the door and a formal interview, then the job is yours to lose. The best interview wins. No one schedules interviews with people that they don’t WANT to hire. It would be a complete waste of precious time. Plus, while I’m on my little soapbox…there is no need to “remind” the hiring manager why they shouldn’t hire you. You won’t believe how many times I’ve heard from a candidate: “well, I know you can’t really ask, but I’m 51 and really haven’t done xyz in a few years, I hope that doesn’t hurt my chances.” (uhm, yeah dude, I can add and surprise, I can read, and I called you anyway, let’s focus on what you can bring to the table) or “well, I just graduated and don’t really have the experience you’re looking for” (uhm, yeah, B.A. 2010 with no tangible work experience, and I STILL called… this is what we call, giving you your 20 minutes to convince me we should move forward)…sheesh

        • Yes, it is just to “pat” sounding. The part I don’t believe is that someone disshevelled who hasn’t worked in a year would turn down $105K and that the “hiring manager” would even offer another $10K without bargaining.

          IT ABSOLUTELY IS AGE DISCRIMINATION. I never get calls anymore because of it (and I shave about 10 years off to make myself seem 39). I used to get a lot of calls before, and I was less qualified. So now what? I am suddenly completely and totally unemployable?

          You HR people better watch out that you don’t reap what you sow. There is tremendous anger out there and a backlash of massive proportions is inevitable.

  12. I agree with many of the posts here, it’s the same story here in England. The main thing I get told is “You’re not ready”, “You don’t have enough experience” or “Another candidate scored higher than you”. Non-reasons in my opinion as they were not backed up with constructive feedback when I enquired.

    I’m a 21 year old with three and a half years on and off experience in my field and am just about to take a course in Business Management just to try and get myself up the ladder. Not sure if it will help but at least I will know I have the knowledge to do the job.

  13. Overqualified, have received so many applications and I did not make the interview cut, are looking at other candidates but will contact you if another position becomes available, etc.

    This has only left me confused. I was always told to get the highest education possible, take charge, take lead and you will always be valued. I did that; I followed the equation for success and now I am underemployed and struggling to make ends meet. Still looking for the right fit; I have even been tempted to leave off my education.

    • And the annoying thing is that everyone tells you that “in this economy you have to suck it up and take something lesser.”

      However, when you actually DO that, you are penalized for going outside your area of previous experience. The hiring people will say sonmething like “YOU HAVE ALL THIS EXPERIENCE IN LIBRARIES!! WHY AREN’T YOU APPLYING AT A LIBRARY??”

      “Uh, because THERE ARE NO JOBS A-HOLE!!”

  14. I have had all these and more over the years. One way I have found to get around some of the issues is looking at non-traditional methods to getting a job. One of which is going through temp agencies. Even during this type of work I would hear that we are interested in hiring after a period of time, but of course I was looking again when something did not jell. The best I can say folks is to persist and work when and where you can. Having a job of any sort til you have that better paying one helps your attitude. And be patient with life, yes I know “patient”? What the heck you may say, but life is a marathon. Life is made up of a series of life experiences.

    Good luck in finding that job folks… persist things do tend to work after a fashion. God Bless.

    • PATIENT!! What are we supposed to wait ten years for this to end? That is what all the major economists predict. NEVER ENDING UNEMPLOYMENT.


      One way to do it would be to create jobs for Mafia Hit men to eliminate anyone who gets in my way.

  15. “You are not what I’m looking for.” = you are too old. Even the guy who interviewed me and flew me up there to be interviewed by his boss was flabbergasted and couldn’t understand it.

    IT business – they want 20 and early 30 year old people, college degree, 5 certifications, 20 years experience on everything from PC repair to designing world wide networks. And this is just for the help desk positions.

  16. Employers are starting to suck. I guess I am lucky enough to be working still, but I have had to take on a 3% salary cut, 401K retraction, meaning, the company stopped matching first about 7 months ago, then cancelled the benefit and sent us our money back that we contributed, not the vested amount by the employer if under 6 years, to invest elsewhere or get taxed on it, along with increased premiums on health insurance. Lucky I guess to be working, but its costing me to work there now with the commute. So, I am looking for a new position where hopefully closer to home, but its not going very well. I feel that I am stuck somewhere between under and over qualified like everyone else and have removed some work experience and education off my resume. Thing is, there’s just tooooooo many people doing what I have been doing for 15 years. Have to keep that 15 years off though, dont want to sound too much like a know it all.

  17. Wow, you hit the nail on the head. I have been unemployed for the past 8 months and with plenty experience I am not finding the jobs that I thought I would easily qualify for. I wish I could get answers as to why I was not offered the job but working with a temp agency seems to be a bit more promising then trying to get hired directly by a corporation or company. With this economy I think the credit check certainly hurts but when you are unemployed as in my case my credit score has hit the bottom. Without steady employment it is hard to just keep food on the table. I agree patience is key and not giving up- Prayer definitely helps too!!! I want to encourage everyone out there to trust God and dont give up!!! We can make it we have to just keep swinging until we hit it out the park!
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto thy own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths!!!! God Bless

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  26. This is a very tough time for anyone to find a job. It is even harder to find a job if you have a misdemeanor marijuana possession conviction. Our country is pretty screwed up when close to 90 percent of employers run your credit to see how good of a worker you are going to be. Well here we are in the middle of one of the worst times in our countries history with more people filing for bancruptcy and the national poverty level higher then it has been in 20 years this is the time where we as american citizens need to stand up to our senators and congress people and tell them that running a credit score on a potential candidate doesn’t show what there work ethic is like it shows how they handle THIER MONEY!!! Credit scores don’t show if you are a thief, a bad driver, an over weight person, a hard worker, or a slacker. The only thing that they show is hey you have either paid your bills on time or you haven’t. Further more we are sending gen y’ers to college and grad school to rack up copious amounts of debt while there are very few jobs for them out there when they graduate from school and there intrest rates on there student loans are close to 7 percent (thanks George W. Bush for really caring about getting our country eduacted). This goes back to Gen Y’ers Grandparents generation and our parents for completely screwing everything up while we were still in college. Thanks guys for leaving our generation a little better off then yours was….NOT

  27. My husband, a well-qualified electrical engineer, was suddenly out of work after 17 productive years at one company and over 18 with the company before, when his company closed due to mismanagement. Everyone was laid off about 2 weeks before Christmas 2008 and most are still unemployed or underemployed. We spend many hours each week searching for another job for him, have spent a fortune sending out resumes and cover letters, he’s signed up with three temp agencies and several job search sites, and at this time, have almost 2800 emails from those sites listing “available” jobs. He applies to every one that’s remotely related to his 35 year long career in the industry, but has had only THREE interviews come of it in almost 2 years and not a single offer! He’s willing to commute up to 50 miles each way, has offered to work any shift, will take a cut from his former salary…whatever it takes…but nothing has come of the efforts. I work part-time and we’re drawing on his 401-k to fill out the minimum required to pay our bills. We coupon religiously, buy only if it’s on sale and have a coupon in most cases, got rid of the house phone immediately and use only cells, dropped internet service and use the library 6 days a week for job searches, held a rumamge sale and got all we could for what we had, seldom go out for a meal (and then ONLY with a BOGO coupon). Spending has been cut to the bone, Christmas last year consisted of homemade baked goods and dollar store cards and will be the same this year. Oldest son was killed in an accident 5 months ago and expenses were unbelievable, aside from the mental anguish and emotional drain placed on us all, and has only made the job search more desperate. Aat the time of the layoff we expected to retire in four years, but instead two of those years have been spent laying himself out before hundreds of human resources managers and department heads, asking for a chance toprove his worth. That can only become depressing and almost demeaning after a while, and is affecting his health and attitude. All we ever wanted to do was work hard, be productiveindividuals, and put away money for our golden years, but here we are, hitting the bricks daily in search of something to jsut get us by. This just isn’t right and mos tof our country is paying for poor decisions that someone else made!

  28. All these things you say about job hunting are true and have been true always.
    I ran into these problems 50 years ago, but they worse now. To many companys have sent jobs overseas to save money.This leaves fewer jobs at home and more people looking for them.It has become cheaper to produce outside our borders and import it in. A job that pays 16 dollars an hour here pays 8 dollars a dal or less outside this country. Figure that one out. Companys are being pickier now because they can. Want a job with an american? Go to a foriegn country like India. Just make sure you know what Grits are.

  29. This will certainly be financially hard for some, but it in the long term it may be wise to hire a career or interview coach. A less expensive alternative would be to attend a free or reduced cost event in your community or at local college/university.

    Reasoning: Everyone has their faults and quirks and since most employers cannot or will not offer constructive feedback to candidates it’s up to each job seeker to try to improve themselves. The recession has been a humbling experience for many, and I think the career rules of yesterday no longer apply. Qualified (and less than qualified) labor exceeds demand; thus it would be wise to invest in yourself to increase the chances of being hired.

  30. I am from the state of NJ, my unemployment started in 2004,in 2005 I had gone back to school, worked part-time at nights…upon completion of the classes that I was taking..I again went on the the “job search path” I’d interviewed for many positions usually told that I was overqualified which interprets I was too old (my age is 64)…I started working for temp. agencies with the promise of respective employers that it was a position temp to perminent…surprisingly they usually came up with excuse that things weren’t going to gel as they were experiencing downsizing at the time, or they weren’t doing as well financially as in previous years…when in truth they wanted ti hire someone younger without experience and at a cheaper rate….at this point I “threw in the towel”, sold my house and moved to Mxico ( this transpired in 2008) …yes I am angry to this day …..I feel that employers on the whole are terribly unfair to their employees and deserve the poor work force that they are faced with.

  31. I am employed now, only because i know everyone that works or own where i’m working. That seems to be the only way i have been able to get a job….ever. I have to know someone. I have noticed something when applying at places where i don’t know someone. 1) managers/owners are sexist. A vast majority of the places owned or managed by a male only hired very attractive females for an obvious reason…sex sells. Others because the guys they did hire tried hooking up with every girl that worked there or that came in….so a loss in trust. This screws it up for every other guy that is actually focused on their life and not the bedroom. Places owned/managed by females only hired females (or majority of females) because they think guys work to get some, the only problem was there was constant drama so they went through employees like 50 cents to a 5 year old. (this coming from asking). 2) Many places hire drop outs, convicts, and addicts (weather it be drugs or alcohol) before they hire a person attending school or just graduating. Even after the problems with drug dealing on the job, fighting on the job, coming to work drunk, or constantly being late or not showing, and getting arrested, employers still kept those people around….the only reason i can think of why….those people will be there a lot longer than someone who is moving up in the world. So people are sacrificing character and service for liability and stability. And also, as stated in the article…..older people or “baby boomers”….whatever….are being hired along with those people. It seems it is no longer what you know, but who you know. And if you are actually a good kid and land a job at a place like “#2″ be ready to be acussed for snitching.

    • I am a 25 year old female with a B.A. I am currently employed as an assistant store manager, and am in charge of hiring at my location. We hire the most qualified candidate. Period. We hire men and women, students and non, people with degrees and people without. People need to quit complaining that they are being discriminated against and improve their interview skills. My company just went through a round of hiring and I can’t count the number of applicants who came to the interview in jeans! Inappropriate interview attire. Yes, we look at job history. If you can’t keep a job for longer than 3 months at a time, yes it is a red flag, especially when the next candidate has been gainfully employed for the last two years at the same employer. Sorry, that’s the way it goes. I just hired two people. One is an older woman, mid fifties, with quite a bit of customer service experience. She was laid off from her previous position a year ago, and is probably over qualified to be a cashier, but she was prepared for the interview, well dressed, personable, and made it clear she was more than willing to work for the entry level wage we were offering, and quite happy to just be employed. The second new hire is a 23 year old student. He is still in school, and has worked part time since high school. He was also well prepared for his interview and well spoken; the most qualified for the position. I did not hire just women because I’m a woman. Maybe your negative opinion stems from your own negative attitude. The job market is competitive. Be prepared for your interview. I may be young, but I do not discriminate against older workers. Having a good mix of experienced workers that bring their years of job based knowledge with the younger, innovative generations is the best way to go. Everyone can learn from everyone else. Improve yourself and your interview skills and quit blaming the hiring managers.

      • Sara,

        I don’t think anyone’s blaming hiring managers. What everyone is saying is that during these difficult economic times, it would be easier if hiring managers could explain to each interviewee what he/she could do to improve so that when the interviewee goes on his/her next interview, he/she will be prepared. I was unemployed for four months and finally found a job somewhat in my field. I have the BA degree, the experience and I faced the same problems everyone else did with the, “you have too much experience,” etc. And I found the best luck when I could e-mail my resume to a real person instead of sending it to a computer system, where it usually got dumped immediately. Best of luck to you all.

  32. How many of you have taken a close look at your resume? You would be surprised at how awful some resumes are. Most people can tell you what they do and how qualified they are, but what they say verbally does not match their resume. You do not have to pay hundreds of dollars to get a decent resume, but please, look it over carefully and buy a book on resume writing and job hunting. Your resume should be easy to read (you only get about 30 seconds to capture my attention and sell yourself), it should list accomplishments and it should demonstrate how you separate yourself from others who have held the same job. A resume is not a biography – it is a marketing tool, it is your personal advertisement and it should be chock full of qualities employers are looking for. Your resume might be good, but it is never complete, it can always use work and updating. Now, whether your resume is good or not is only part of the equation – you may be better than all the applicants, your interview might go perfect but you still might not get hired. Why? Because the job hunt is two-sided. Just because you read a job announcement and declare yourself the right fit, does not mean that the hiring official agrees with you. Do not take it personally, do not get discouraged, and whatever you do, do not throw in the towel. Getting hired is a job in and of itself so it takes time – even if a hiring official were to tell you why they did not hire you, it does not mean that the answer they provide is the truth. Tons of intagibles go into hiring a person and truth be told, most hiring officials are clueless as to what they need – some may know what they want, but they don’t always know what they need and how to get it.

  33. For family companies, you have to offer a personal nitche for the family. i.e. babysit the boss daughter or coach baseball batting for owners son. I have noticed this in family businesses thru the years. find out what you can offer the family. I know one guy who has a woodshop for hobbycrafts and does home woodworking for the family in charge. For gov jobs, move to Louisianna and get to know personally a Judge or Lawyer out there. They will make the necessary contacts to get you on with the Parrish Gov payroll, not much work either. If you can work these angels, it might help. Also in the deep south, join a church and do some kind of free services there. There is always an advantage in private companies for this type of strategy. This sending out e-mail ressies blinding into the cold dark computer space has never worked for me or anyone else I know of.

  34. As a former hiring manager, I’ll be happy to share my reasons for avoiding Gen Y potential hires. I hired several and in each instance it was the same. They didn’t show up for work on time. They didn’t dress appropriately- one girl showed up in pajama bottoms. They didn’t make proper use of their time at work. They didn’t return from lunch on time. They called in sick more often than older workers. The list went on and on. There was absolutely no work ethic and no sense of give and take. To them, it was all about what the employer could do for them and nothing about what they would do for an employer. After firing the last one (and then finding a notebook that she had written page after page of her soon-to-be married name, practicing her signature plus her research on how to sue the company for making her work) I decided that unless the candidate was stellar and could prove a solid work ethic in an interview I probably would pass on another Gen Y hire.

    • As a Gen Y person myself, I took great offense to this comment Dee. Then I realized having been a hiring manager myself…you’re absolutely right!! But please, don’t let a few bad apples spoil the bunch :-)

    • It is unfair to lump all people of a certain age into one category. I’m 25, employed since age 16 with a college degree. I have never missed a day of work and have been promoted steadily since my first position at 16. You’re doing the same thing people on here are complaining about…quit judging based on someone’s age! I’m currently the hiring manager at my company, and that is the last thing you should do. I value the older workers and the experience and on the job knowledge they bring, as well as the innovation and energy from the younger employees. Quit judging and start training.

    • OMG-that is like soooo true!!!! serioisly as a business owner I find that the 20 somethings generally have a crappy attitude…have unrealistic thoughts on employment, dress code, work time arrivals, sick time (a hang over is not a valid “sick” excuse), most have poor communications skills and are generally whiny people with no work ethic. This recession will most likely toughen a few of them up. This Lindsay/Paris mentallity is disgusting! so, unless you really are on a reality tv show behave professionally, stop being a victim, and realise that 95% of the employers out there simply want you to be on time-work your scheduled hours with out complaining

    • Gen Y’ers can complain all they want, that is the perception they as a group have in the market place. They come in with a sense of entitlement (want too much money), expect to be promoted immediately, and in general have a lower work ethic than previous generations. I have heard and seen this from and in a number of different organizations. This new philosophy of child raising where kids can never fail or lose (why’d we stop keeping score in soccer??), where kids are given constant encouragement (yes Johnny, you are the best! No Johnny, you didn’t get any right, but you tried real hard so you get an A!!), and where kids are never required to develop an attention span (thank you 300 cable channels, high speed internet, PS3) they simply aren’t acquiring through life the skills that professional companies are seeking. These are life skills, not things you learn in college.

      There are of course exceptions at all ages, but Gen Y is fighting an uphill battle. If you’re in that generation, expect a hiring manager to be a bit skeptical and demonstrate through your interviews how what I described above absolutely is not you (worked a part time job since age of 15, love to compete and understand that losing only helps you define your current limitations, straight A student while taking extra credits and working, etc). Best of luck… at 31, I have to say, some of ya’ll make me look good :)

  35. I was turned down several times because I was “over educated” and “not realistic” about wanting a job that didn’t necessarily require such a degree.

    The next job I applied for, I filled out the application twice – once with my full name and education, and once with my nickname and partial education. Each application went to a different HR Rep at the same company. End result, two rejection phone calls: one because I was over-educated and a flight risk, one because I was under-educated and could have used just a little more learning to be the right candidate.

    When I clued the second Rep to what I’d done, she had no answer as to how to explain that they were contradicting one another.

    Also been turned down after a 3 interview attempt. According to HR: was great candidate to get the job done, but they wanted someone who would be more “fun” and could learn the job.

  36. As an interviewer I will tell you a few things to never do:

    1. Write “See resume” and attach to empty application.
    2. Leave ANY section empty on an application.
    3. Leave errors on an application.
    4. Wear street clothes to an interview or job.
    5. Make any kind of demand at an interview.
    6. Use referenes that call you by “Mrs” or “Mr.”
    7. Use references that label you as “Extremly Confident.”

  37. Seriously? Companies don’t want to hire educated and intelligent people? They’d rather hire a dumbass as long as they stay when the economy gets better? This article, and the people that believe it and are whining in the comments section are clueless. I swear, I have never seen a more “entitlement-minded” generation than the “Y” generation. The truth, even if it hurts your little feelers is this…..If you go to an interview, and you don’t get the job…..YOU WEREN’T THE MOST QUALIFIED. Deal with it, and move on instead of throwing yourself a little pitty party because you KNOW that you were the best because that’s what your mommy and daddy have been telling you your whole life. Come on!

    • There are a lot of qualified candidates out there in terms of education and experience. My organization, like most these days, have more than enough qualified applicants for each position. I’m not sure what “over educated” means in this post. It seems to me that there are an abundance of undergrad and grad degrees out there and I don’t really consider this over educated, although many Gen Y’s (not all) seem to forget that many of the rest of the workforce have advanced degrees too. It’s not like our parents’ generations where a college degree was a ticket to a promotion. Job postings tend to list minimum and preferred qualifications, but chances are the chosen candidate will surpass these qualifications and be a great fit in the organization in terms of experience, qualifications, and work culture. It sucks, but many Gen Y’s are not going to get their foot in the door with only a degree or two and a couple internships. It’s the reality of the job market. Organizations can afford to be choosy about work experience and culture. They also leverage this to find a balance, weeding out those who they think they might have to pay too much – the “overqualified”. I personally don’t believe anyone can be overqualified. Either a person is qualified and wants to do the work for the available pay or they don’t…period. A word of advice to Gen Y’s out there still looking for a job in your field. Use what you learned in college in any way you can to get experience. Volunteer in your area of interest, join professional organizations and participate in network events, start your own consulting or freelance business. It will show initiative and, when the market picks up, you’ll have something meaningful to put on your resume.

  38. I don’t mean to be difficult here, but…

    As someone who has done a lot of phone and in-person interviews, I can tell you that age rarely has anything to do with it. Instead, we’re looking for a particular skill set and a good fit.

    If you have too many skills, you’re not going to be a good fit, because you’ll always be looking for a better job; our investment in you is unlikely to be returned. If you don’t have enough skills, we’re going to spend a lot of time training you and in a time when people routinely change jobs, we don’t want to put a lot of work into that.

    Let’s talk about fit. How well you fit into a company/organizational culture is affected by your age in terms of experience or if the company is young as a whole. Otherwise, age has little to do with it. We’re looking for that skill set and fit, not age. I would advise you to look at your skill set; are you proficient in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access)? Have you done this type of work before? My experience is that when older people are passed over, it’s usually because of a perceived lack of particular skills, not age.

    Remember, there are a lot of people out of work, so there’s a lot of competition for every job. All things being equal, an employer is going to choose the person with the best fit for the job. That means that similar experiences, which normally are fine, won’t be right now.

    For recent grads who are finding themselves overqualified: take some of your education off your resume! Your resume does not have to be all-inclusive. In fact, it should contain ONLY pertinent information. If your MBA over-qualifies you for a position as an A/P clerk, don’t mention it!

    For college kids: internships are great, but they’re now a dime a dozen. Get a job in the summer in the field in which you’re interested. Make sure you don’t graduate without relevant, paid experience.

    Generally speaking, working after obtaining an undergraduate degree is best. Somewhere between 2 and 5 years of experience is helpful when obtaining the graduate degree, and it is the best way to ensure the correct amount of education AND experience.

    • So to summarize what you just said. I need to falsify my education, work experience and accomplishments in order to be perceived to be the right “fit” so that I can obtain a position with your company. In other words you want my resume to be a lie or filled with half truths ( lies) just so I will be that perfect “fit”.
      WOW, where have truth and ethics gone?!

      Oh, I forgot, my resume is now my “marketing brochure” so it must now be acceptable for my resume to be filled with exaggerations, falsifications, and omissions!

      Now I completely understand why I haven’t had any luck finding that elusive position. Apparently I don’t lie well enough!

      • Dave,
        You are dead on with your reply to Leah….. now polish up that Marketing Brochure and go out and get that job at A/P!!!!

        Actually it is a present day realty entering in the Information Age. Leah has some good points, but I definitely feel the frustration of having to “invent myself” for consideration for just an interview. I have had several (so at least the Marketing Brochure is working), only one of those was a total loss. Then again the last person that left that job left with two hours notice, so I prefer to think that the hiring manager was at fault. The HR manager actually contacted me later about another position; same manager so I declined.

        I’ve been told I have great skills, but we are going with an internal candidate (I love this company!); the only other company (I love this company too!), was more of mutual decline. By the way, this interview consisted of 20 something’s lead and manager. Great rapport, and a truly caring and “going places” young manager; we just couldn’t agree on the win-win.

        The rest of in person interviews did not answer follow ups, either by mail (quaint I know) email or by returning a call. Both sides employed and unemployed are truly frustrated and unhappy with this current situation. People involved in hiring decisions cannot, by company policy, give out any reason for not hiring. The rest of us can only hope those professionals continue to post on sites like this. If I see myself in one of those posts I have something to work on!

  39. What’s funny to me, is that the same companies that won’t hire us are the same companies that will depend on us purchasing their products/services in the future. I don’t know about you, but the places that I’ve interviewed for have left a bad taste in my mouth.

    On another note, how do the expect us to spend money when the starting salaries are insulting. The highest salary I’ve been offered was less than half of what I paid for my education. Not to mention the fact that I have a child that is not yet school age and daycare is ridiculous. I’ve had to turn down job offers because the salary would ONLY cover my daycare expenses.

    I’d rather be at home with my little one BROKE than work 40 hours a week and still be BROKE.

    • Exactly. Boycott everything and post bad experiences online. One company called Complus Data in Tarrytown decided they weren’t interested in me after the found out I wasn’t 20 years old. They just weren’t asking questions — which made me wonder what they saw in my resume (I didn’t make myself appear that young and I have been told I can pass for under 40) CAN YOU SAY AGE DISCRIMINATION? And it is so easy to look on Linkedin to see who has the job. The person they hired was 25 years old and went to community college whereas I have a masters. What assholes!

  40. I am frankly just sick of all this. Since 2008 I have been hopping from one contract position to another to keep food on the table and the bills paid. Then I am judged for being a “Job Hopper”. What?! Seriously? I even note it on my resume that it was a contract position. Then I had a position that I was about to get hired on for and I fell and sprained my ankle off site. It was a nasty sprain and I had to be on crutches for 6 weeks. Their company policy didn’t allow me to come to work on crutches- so they let me go. I hate the “disposable people” mindset. I am a good person, a good employee and a hard worker with a lot to offer. I am so sick of this crap I almost would rather just work at Target – but you know what – even they haven’t called me!!! I feel like I am just not right for anyone.

    • Lump all your experience as a Contractor under a “Contractor” line on your resume over the full range of dates you were working and simply reference different companies you spent time at. By grouping them together you show continuity in something (being a contractor) and easily avoid the job hopping issue. It will also save a bunch of room on your resume not having to list locations and date ranges for every 90 day assignment.

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  42. I was told by one employer that I failed to sell myself. Another hiring mgr, took one look @ me & asked if I was sure I was even fit for the job as it was labor intensive. I told her I was layed off from a more labor intensive job than the one I was applying for, but as the interview progressed, I realized I didn’t even like her or want to work for her. She was not a nice person. I thanked her anyway and wrote her a follow up letter just to part ways nicely.

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  48. There is a way to get even even by boycotting everything. You can also trash these companies on a site called Glass Door where you sign up anonymously and post all the rotten dirty secrets about a company, or the interview. I would name names. Can’t be good for their online reputation.

    There is another site called Rip Off Report where you can report bad products.

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