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Ask a Recruiter: Why Won’t Anyone Hire Me?

This is getting old

Young women applying to jobs

You might be in the midst of a job search, perhaps one that feels like it’s been going on too long, wondering, Why won’t anyone hire me? 

Job searches take time, but you could be making mistakes that are protracting the process. We spoke to Matt Hornyak, a talent acquisition consultant at Philips, about what the problem may be if you’re just not getting hired. 

How long is too long to be applying for jobs and not get any bites? At what point do I need to explain employment gaps on my resume?

If you’re truly qualified for a position, my experience has been companies don’t hesitate to reach out right away. My first task as a recruiter is to review the day-before applicants and reach out to anyone who is potentially qualified to set up a phone call. So if you’re not getting any bites, there could be problems with your application materials. 

A common theme us recruiters see is not being qualified for the position. Upwards of three-quarters of the candidates that apply to role are not actually qualified for the role they’re applying to. 

Anything longer than a six-month gap you should address on your resume ex. Caring for loved one, paternal leave, unemployment, etc. 

Read more: How to Know if You’re Qualified for the Job

If I’m not getting any callbacks, could the problem be with my application materials?

Yes, the first thing that comes to mind are poorly written resumes. 

Resumes are your first impression of someone. They should be easy to read and outline why a company should hire you. Too often we see typos, grammatical errors, lacking accomplishments, lacks action verbs, incorrect formatting, etc.

What if I keep getting to the interview stage but get no job offers?

Take a step back and analyze the interview. My recommendation would be this: Right after your interview, get in your car and play back the interview while taking notes. What questions did I struggle with? How were my interactions with each interviewee? Did I come across as passionate or desperate? And how did I balance oversharing?

Read more: Ask a Recruiter: Can I Be Myself During an Interview?

What are some of the most common reasons you / hiring managers pass on qualified candidates?

  • Candidates are unprepared for the interview. Not enough research on the company and the team they’re interviewing with. 

  • Candidate not asking enough questions (ties back to not being prepared). 

  • Culture fit.

  • Candidate not being concise enough when answering questions. Answers should be to the point.

  • Candidates oversell themselves. Lacking the true technical skills. Not able to articulate their true skills or where they applied these concepts. Inability to answer hypothetical scenarios when lacking specific skills. 

Read more: Waiting to Hear Back on a Job Application? Here’s How Long You Can Expect to Wait

What can I do to make myself more appealing to recruiters / hiring managers?

  • Build a robust LinkedIn profile.

  • Find the balance between being interested and being patient with the hiring process. 

  • Always keeping HR or talent acquisition updated during your job search. 

  • Have a clean, well-written resume.

  • Research, check out the interview teams’ LinkedIn profiles, become comfortable with products or service offerings, elaborate. 

  • Practice behavioral-based interviewing.

  • Always have questions to ask.

  • Follow up with thank you letters after each interview.

Can I ask a recruiter / hiring manager why I didn’t get the job?

Yes. If you have interviewed, the recruiter should be able to provide authentic feedback into why you were not selected for a particular opportunity. 

How do I stay positive in a job search that seems like it’s taking too long?

Today’s job market is extremely competitive and that is something that should be taken into consideration. 

The typical job search takes five to six months on average, and standard interview processes can vary between two to six weeks. Be mindful of the level of the position you’re interviewing for, with leadership opportunities taking more time. Just because you hear stories of it happening faster for others you need to mindful that it takes time. Job searching should be a multifaceted approach For example: Personal networks, networking events, LinkedIn, job boards, etc.  

Read more: What Is a Hiring Freeze? How to Get the Facts Before Your Freak Out

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Matt Hornyak is currently a senior talent acquisition consultant specializing in clinical, quality and regulatory recruitment for multiple modalities across North America for Philips. In addition, he functions as subject matter expert driving recruitment analytics across talent acquisition. Previous to Philips, Mr. Hornyak spent five and a half years leading two national search firms’ accounting and finance recruitment practices. Outside of work he is currently pursuing his master’s degree in business administration at Cleveland State University, is an avid traveler, and self-proclaimed foodie. 

Matt’s answers have been edited for clarity, grammar, and length.

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By Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza

Content Strategist, InHerSight

Emily is on staff at InHerSight where she researches and writes about data that describes women in the workplace, women's compensation and contract literacy, and women's rights in the workplace. 

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