An open letter to people looking for an employee

Hey you, yes you. Why did you call me if you weren’t going to hire me? What the hell happened in the interview that ruined my shot at the position? Obviously there was something in my resume that was interesting enough to get me that first phone call. I wore my suit, I spruced myself up. What went wrong? You need someone to answer your phones and I need a job. Believe me, answering phones is not beyond my powers. I’ve been doing it for a good 15 years not. I do not have Turrets Syndrome, I do not have a BO problem and after a few mistakes in the mid nineties I have good fashion sense. Hire me. Or stop calling and getting my broke ass hopes up.
Thank you and good day.

A really cute girl in a short skirt came in the interview after you. We hired her instead. Sorry.

You’re complaining that they actually called you to tell you that you didn’t have the job? Hey, they paid you the courtesy of calling you…jobseekers rarely have such courtesies extended to them. Stop whingeing.

What the hell happened in the interview that ruined my shot at the position? Obviously there was something in my resume that was interesting enough to get me that first phone call. I wore my suit, I spruced myself up. What went wrong?

Read what aktep said.

** I do not have Turrets Syndrome, **

It’s spelled Tourettes.

Apart from all of my nitpicking, good luck in your job search. :slight_smile:

I used to get really depressed when I didn’t get jobs, too. I’d sit there for hours, listening to “Madame Butterfly,” pulling the light cord on and off, over and over.


No, they did not call me to tell me I didn’t have the job. I was referring to the original call to set up the interview. Sorry for the confusion. I understand they can’t call everyone who doesn’t get the job and don’t expect it. I’ve just been on several interviews that went, in my opinion, well and don’t understand what went wrong. And they were both with women, so I doubt the lack of mini skirt was a problem. But I live near San Francisco, so maybe. . .
And I never mind having my spelling corrected, its the only way I learn.
And I appreciate any luck wished to me.

It isn’t necessarily what went “wrong” in your interview with them, but what went “right” in the interview with the person that they hired.

There are so many applicants, and when we (yes, I’m in the position of resume screening, setting up interviews and having a part in the decision as to who gets hired for the job), screen resumes, and interview people it’s a difficult process.

We don’t like having to hire only one person and knowing that many people out there who are just as nice, and perhaps just as qualified are going to have to go without.

We, those of us who make the decisions, don’t sit there and go, “gee, whose hopes can we dash today”?

It goes something like this:

Applicant A: Exactly qualified for the job, pleasant and personable.
Applicants B-F, See above, maybe with a few variations in personality
Applicant G, Same as above, BUT she/he really clicked with the other office personnel, PLUS, Applicant G has some skills which would put him/her in the running to take over a few extra duties, and allow him/her to move up in the company, thus helping the company grow and succeed.

The reason that I bolded might seem like a “who cares?” to you, when you’re desparately seeking work. But trust me, you don’t want to work in an atmosphere where you don’t fit in. And it’s also not pleasant from the company’s point of view if they hire someone who may be qualified as far as their skills and education is concerned, but is just not a good fit with their style of office/work enviroment.

People who do the hiring know this, and so they try to make sure that, not only for their sake, but the prospective employees’, that they pick the best fit personality-wise as well.

Even if you’re thinking “I DON’T CARE, I’m flat ass broke, I’d work with SATAN if I could just have a job”.

Have you tried temp agencies yet? Have you tried volunteering? Volunteering can get you skills, references, and time in a specific “job” on your resume. Temp agency assignments can work into fulltime gigs.

Have you tried substitute teaching? (subs are usually desparately needed, and in my state, and AFAIK, many others, one doesn’t need a teaching cert to sub).

One thing I did when I was desparately seeking work, was to check out books from the library. NOT books on how to be interviewed. Books from the perspective of how to interVIEW, that is, from the point of view of the person who doing the hiring.

If you know what they’re liable to ask, and why, and what they consider to be an “appropriate” response. You can beat them at their own game.

I’m sorry this is so rough for you, I’ve been there. Hang in there and good luck!!!

I’m thinking it was your hostile persona that 86’ed your interview, but I could be wrong…

Look, PucksRaven, I sympathize. A year ago, I was out of work and desperate. On the other hand, when my company recently hired someone, we got over 100 applications for one job. We didn’t call anyone we didn’t think had a realistic shot at the job. Among other things, the schedules of the people who do the interviewing were too busy to allow us to do anything else. The same applies to the folks we called back for a second interview. The reason we called people back for a third interview was any one of them could have done the job and it was tough deciding which one was best. I mean that. It was tough. In the end, it came down to those dreaded “intangibles”.

When I interviewed for this company, I’d been to interviews for two other jobs, and I thought I had a much better shot at one of those. I was wrong. Neither of them hired me, and I think this has proven to be the best of the three.

Why not this one? Who knows, but if they took the time and trouble to interview you, chances are it was because they genuinely thought you had a chance. It’s small comfort, I know.

Good luck,

We are currently hiring and going through this. We have many resumes. We will interview quite a few.

Of the resumes I have, I know four of the candidates personally. Two would be internal hires (and get some priority). One would be a rehire. The fourth is a guy that two of us worked with years ago.

I got my job at the end of the IT crunch. They interviewed for three months. Finally, someone I knew recruited me in for an interview - and being known to someone in the group and qualified (and “hitting it off” in the interview), I got hired.

It often isn’t that the next candidate is wearing a short skirt as much as it is the next candidate is someone’s friend or relative or someone who worked their last summer.

Definitely it’s the intangibles. I just interviewed for a couple of jobs, and both interviews went great. But one of the jobs, they decided after they interviewed me that I was too overqualified and they were afraid I’d be bored if I got the job. The other one, the interviewer decided she loved me and made a great offer. I ended up taking the job, but still have doubts that it’s the right place for me – clearly she thinks it is, but I still need a bit more persuading.

But Papa Tiger, with 30+ solid years of every kind of IT experience known to man, is facing a 40% unemployment in his field in this area, and while he’d love to leave his current job (before he gets downgraded or laid off, due to changes in the organization), sending his resume out is like sending it into a black hole. He’s sent it out to about 50 places and so far has received exactly one expression of mild interest. So sometimes it really isn’t you, it’s just the fact that the world sucks.

The last admin assistant I hired was out of 12 who all scored 95 or higher on my scoring of the resume. When you get a lot of top qualifiers, you start looking much more closely at work histories, length of time in previous jobs, promotion patterns, etc.

In the interview, I try to see if there is any “chemistry” going on. I may even gently push a couple of buttons to see what kind of reaction there is. I also have my other admin staff do an informal interview to see if they’re going to get along or have any sense of how the person is going to interact with others.

That you were called at all shows that you’re strongly in the running. I spoke to one woman who had just come from Denver, where there were routinely 300-400 applicants, most of whom never got past the HR department.

In short, you did nothing wrong (as others have indicated), you just didn’t click as well with the interviewer.

I really want to thank everyone who’s replied with suggestions and explainations. Logically I think I knew all that but it is good to hear from others, especially those on the other side of the interview desk. And you’re right, I really didn’t “click” with anyone I’ve interviewed with, so in the long run it probably wouldn’t have worked out. I just have to relax and hope for the one that does work.
Again, thank you, thank you, thank you for your comments and support.

Any time. I haven’t forgotten how incredibly frustrating looking for work can be. There is one thing I thought of after I’d logged off this morning. One thing that ruled out at least one of our final candidates was a lack of basic computer skills. What I mean by basic is being able to write a formula in Excel which would add up the contents of a group of cells, or indent a column in Word. Each of our candidates was given a set of what I thought were pretty basic questions, and only one of them did well on them. One fellow, who said he had a background in financial sales, didn’t know how to calculate what a 10% discount would be. Not in Excel; in anything! You don’t have to be a programming wizard (in this economy, I suspect we’re a dime a dozen), but I would suggest making sure you know enough about basic computer programs used in your line of work to handle day-to-day stuff, then learn a bit more so you can prove you’re a step above the other 105 candidates who’ve applied. It couldn’t hurt!


By the way, the day before the first interview for this job, I’d been in a car accident, and my neck was hurting like fury; the night before the second interview, I was afflicted with nasty, evil, vile stomach flu, so I was sure I wasn’t clicking. On the other hand, the powers that be apparently thought I was. That or they figured I was the only person who had the right combination of determination and stupidity to do some parts of it! :wink:


Good Luck PucksRaven!!!, I’ll be in the same boat as you are come December, I’ll be moving, not only to a new state, but to “THE STATES” when all of my adult life, and career (so far) has been in Alaska to this point.

To beat it to death, people hire who they LIKE. Chemistry is a huge chunk of the battle. Some things to consider when interviewing:

–If you are nervous or scared in the interview, it will be a painful process for the interviewer as well, especially if it’s a panel. Nobody likes to see someone in an inferior position have to squirm. If the interviewer is uncomfortable, it won’t matter how qualified you are, they will reflect upon you with an unconscious discomfort. Do whatever works for you to get comfortable before the interview.

–“Tell me about your greatest weakness.” Be careful. NEVER reveal anything like ‘time management’ ‘disorderly’ etc. It may seem like a good idea to appear vulnerable and honest, but by indicating critical elements of professionalism are a problem for you, you have just said, “I can’t do this job.” It IS ok to say, “My golf game,” “Chocolate,” or something minor(and positive) like you sometimes (weakness) BUT (how you identified and are correcting the problem).

–“Thank you for taking the time to visit with us today. Do you have any questions before we finish up?”

NEVER say, “No.” Remember in school when the instructor would ask that all questions be held until AFTER the lecture because most of them would eventually be answered IN the lecture? This is where you address what you feel is relevant that has not been covered. Highlight your strengths, introduce skills, experience and qualities you may have omitted from your resume–give them something fresh to consider that they will see IN THEIR OWN WRITING.

–If you have a sense of humor, let it come through in the interview. I don’t know how many interviews I blew because I forced myself to be serious. I obviously came accross as being overly stiff if not false. Every time I’ve made interviewers laugh, I have been hired. This doesn’t mean you need to do a stand-up routine, and by no means are you to tell a joke, especialy if you are not a funny person normally. But don’t be afraid to allow the atmosphere to become somewhat casual–It’ll relax the interviewer and they will recall the event (and thereby, you) as pleasant.

Enemies do not smile, laugh or relax. Be careful about what signals you are sending to the interviewers subconscious. the best self help tool I’ve ever used is, “High Impact Communication” by Ed Decker. Get it.

And good luck! things are tough all over. :slight_smile:

As an employer, Matchka pretty much said it all…and I’ve witnessed much pain in the process of interviewing throughout the years…and “hockey” is my weakness. Well, golf is too…

I meant that I am an employer, and I do agree with what Matchka said.:smack:


A friend of mine was visiting an old colleague of his who had become personnel manager for a gigantic corporation. While they were chatting in his office, he walked over to a huge pile of CVs on a desk, casually picked up the top half of the pile and dropped it into the waste basket.

“Why did you do that?” Asked my friend.

“We don’t hire unlucky people…”


Heh. Life is funny, isn’t it? I just landed a job (in Kansas City, so that I can at long last shack up with my husband), and when I interviewed for it, I was at the tail end of an illness and was sort of dancing in and out of wooziness throughout the interview. (Lucky for me, the interviewers did most of the talking.)

But that’s not why I thought I didn’t get the job.

I thought I didn’t get the job because:

a) They’d told me that mine was the last interview, and that they’d be deciding within the week . . .

b) . . . and then that week passed, so I sent an email inquiring about the job . . .

c) . . . to which they did not respond for another week . . .

d) . . . and when they did, it was to say this:

Did you catch that last part? Sounded an awful lot like the Big Kiss Off to me (and to my husband, my mother, my best friend, and my father-in-law). Not to mention the fact that I was supposed to have been the last interview, which made me think that they must not have been thrilled with any of the interviews up to and including yours truly, and so had called more people to interview.

So imagine my surprise when Monday came and I got a call offering me the job!

I was speechless.

At any rate, the moral of the story is that ya just nevah know. Life likes to mindf*ck you sometimes. Employers are but a pawn in the big Mind Orgy.