When I was a new recruiter back in the Stone Ages, one of the 1st people I interviewed had been out of work for 4 months. I asked him where he had been on interviews and he rattled off a list of 19 firms that he had interviewed with and had all rejected him. 19 companies.
When I brought my notes from the interview to a more experienced person in my office, I was told not to represent him. After all, 19 firms had evaluated him and found him lacking. It was likely that his skills weren’t as good that he claimed they were.
He was right. A year later, this person eventually found a job at a tiny company that no one in my market area had any regard for.
When someone has been out of work for a year, companies engage in a similar mental process that starts over them, asking themselves, “What’s wrong with this person that they had been out of work for a year? Why did they interview at a number of companies and no one else has wanted to hire them?”
Unless an explanation is offered proactively, hiring managers and HR people are left with their doubts and concerns to ponder over. Because time is precious and the likelihood is that all those other firms were not wrong in the assessment of this individual, companies don’t interview candidates who have been out of work for a long time because they don’t see a reason to waste their time on the off chance that this person might actually be better than all the other companies have thought them to be.
Yes, when you are out of work for a long time, you desperately needed job… Badly. The question in an employer’s mind is not whether you have forgotten something, but whether you ever knew it to begin with. After all, so many other companies have evaluated and assessed you for that knowledge and you been found lacking. What’s going to be any different this time?
Again, without any explanation offered proactively hiring managers and HR people are left to their own imaginations to ponder that question and, trust me, you will always come up short in their thinking.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2016, 2021
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2200 episodes.
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