Stupid Job Requirements and the Stupid People Who Write Them (Job-search/resume tip)

“Candidate must have 10 years in social media”

“Candidate must have five years experience developing Web 3.0 applications”

“Candidate must have taken a start-up to a $100M company in five years”

“Candidates must be able to travel back in time” (just kidding but you get the point)

I love reading job-requirements where it is clear that neither the company and/or the recruiter has no idea what they are looking for by listing skills that simply do not exist.    Yes, web 3.0 or  10-years in social media may sound sexy.  But WTF?   The other requirements that I like are for a person, whom, if they met these requirements, would almost certainly never be interested in the role that is being offered.  If you can take a company from $0-$100M then you do not need a recruiter and you probably wouldn’t be interested in taking a sales-director role at some unknown company.

The downside of this (for job-seekers) is that these recruiters/companies will not work with someone who doesn’t have these skills on their resume.  So it doesn’t matter that you are very successful or are generally a great fit for the role, without ‘Web 3.0’ your resume ends up in the same circular file as everyone else.

Rejection Reply – how to get feedback?

I had a different post in mind for this morning, but Simon Meth got me a little riled up.

I can understand why he suggests recruiters stonewall candidates when it comes to giving them feedback on why they weren’t selected, lets face it who wants to get into a protracted discussion/argument with emotional candidates.

Sure “Most people will accept” that you are “unable to provide any details and that you thank them for their time and interest” because they have become so used to being treated this way. But to suggest “You should never give them any reasons” is just perpetuating the disconnect that exists and doesn’t help either party.
Surely there’s a better way for both parties to behave?

What I’d like to have read from Simon would have been some suggestions on how recruiters can provide feedback without getting themselves into a discussion/argument.

Yes, this cuts both ways, the job seeker who wants the feedback needs to handle their side of the conversation without getting all defensive/argumentative etc…

So how should job seekers handle the situation? Here to start us off is my take on how to ask and “listen to feedback” without getting into an argument.

Lets start with what we’re trying to achieve here: The minimum you want to achieve is to get feedback so you know what to do differently next time, and avoid burning any bridges by getting into an argument (or worse).

1. Ask questions, don’t demand answers.

The whole point of this conversation is for you to learn how THEY understood the skills, abilities, experiences you have. Recruiters are not mind readers, and you can’t expect them to “know what you mean” if you don’t tell them clearly through either your resume or the interview.
So your goal here is to get feedback about what needs to change. If they say you didn’t have enough experience, and you thought you did, then that tells you you’re going to need to polish the answers you give next time.

2. Listen to what is being said without interruption

The hardest part about asking for feedback is to hear it. After you’ve asked your question, Listen, don’t interrupt. when the other person has finished, then it’s your time to ask any follow up question or get more clarity.

3. Keep your ego, emotions in check.

This is really hard, but immensely important, leave your ego somewhere else and keep your emotions in check. Things you’ll hear will make you feel like you did wrong or you’re not as good as you think you are. Given your probably feeling a little stressed and upset having this feedback heaped on top may make you want to rant and rave (and you may even feel justified in doing this), but please don’t. Burning bridges and loosing your rag isn’t going to help you, as much as it feels good at the time.

4. Clarify any points, don’t get defensive.

You’ve managed to ask the question, you’ve not interrupted their reply, and your managing your emotions, but you hear something you disagree with, or you know they’ve gotten it wrong. Rather than give in to the urge to correct them, you can ask clarification questions e.g. “Could I have made the point better that I have 5 years administrations experience?” or “So you suggest it’d be good to highlight my 5 years admin experiences better”.

5. Thank them for their feedback, close on a positive note.

Recruiters, HR etc. are all busy people and while we may want them to give everyone feedback, it’s practically impossible for them to do that. so if your lucky and got someones time, do the courteous thing and say “Thank You“. You’ll be surprised how far that will go to help you in the future. And it’ll also leave them with a positive impression of you. Who knows it may help you get the next opening they have, and wouldn’t it be sweet if that opening never got advertised so the candidate-pool was just one. YOU.

Would love to hear your thoughts on what else to consider, or even how and what questions to ask.