Illustration for article titled Dear job seekers: dont be mad if a job you think you like doesnt respond to your application. The people reviewing your resume are probably idiots.

I work in recruiting. At my company, I’ve set us up where the hiring managers on various teams have access to our recruiting software. They review resumes of candidates who apply to their jobs, and if they like someone, they send me a note to that effect, and then I phone interview the candidate. I’m here to tell you, sometimes often these managers are idiots.

It’s not that they’re actually idiots, they just are, like many people put into jobs with hiring responsibilities but not given proper hiring training, acting on all their worst assumptions and preconceived notions about what should be important with hiring, but actually isn’t important at all.


There’s a particular manager I work with who’s rather high strung about wanting to get candidates, but when they do see one, they ask nitpicky questions that don’t make sense. Yesterday, someone applied to this manager’s job opening, and the manager likes the resume. But, the manager is being an idiot.

The candidate’s resume lists an end date of February 2020 on their most recent job. This usually indicates they don’t work for that company anymore, as most people who still work somewhere list their most recent job date as (start date) to present, not an end date. They also included a list of references, the first of whom is a senior manager at their most recent job. Here’s the note I got when requesting a phone interview:

Please do a phone interview for (name) to gain additional information. Get additional information on his AutoCAD experience and reasons for wanting to leave (most recent company). I notice he has a Principal from (most recent company) listed as a reference. Little unusual that the principal is knowing that you want to leave.

You know what’s not unusual? Getting laid off from a job and your boss offering to be a reference. Which is a much likelier explanation for this candidate’s resume. But no, this manager has to go and make a bunch of incorrect negative assumptions about the candidate. I sent a happy little note back to clarify:

I will phone screen. The job at (most recent company) has an end date—probably has the reference because doesn’t work there anymore. I’ll find out for sure.


This is but one example, but it happens all the time: people reviewing resumes see something that leads them to make assumptions about the candidate, and without fail these assumptions are A) negative and B) usually incorrect because they’re made by people who know fuck all about hiring.

I try to drill it into these managers’ heads not to think like this, but, they’ve got long and illustrious histories of thinking this way about candidates, and old habits die hard.


So, just remember, the people on the other end of those job applications you’re submitting are terrible. It sucks, but when it comes to applying for jobs, the best thing you can do for yourself is set your expectations as low as possible. If you encounter people who are genuinely competent throughout the entire hiring process, you’ve found yourself an exception.

UPDATE: I got a response back from the manager on my explanation:

Oh... I did not notice that. Just assumed it was a recent resume and had Feb instead of to Current. Yes, find out a little more info.


See, they admitted they made an assumption! People do all kinds of assuming when reading resumes and unless they are making educated assumptions, they’re probably misinformed.

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