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What does it mean?

What does it mean when a company places an advertisement specifying what skills they are looking for in a programmer, you send them a resume and cover letter because you have those skills/experence and they send you a letter telling you that you have excellent qualifications but that you're are not "a match for the skills they are looking for?".  WTF?

Is this some kind of cruel HR joke?  Did the company just place the ad to collect resumes? (I'll never for the life of me understand why companies do that?)  All of my "turn-down" letters read like this?  I mean what the hell do you have to do to getting a fuckin job?  Why all the bullshit.

P'd off
Friday, December 12, 2003

Not "a match for the skills they are looking for" just means that they looked at resume and didn't think that you are qualified for the position. This may mean that your skill level isn't at par with what they want or they don't think you would be a good fit for the company in other aspects.

This is just a polite way of saying "you're not good enough" or "we've got better candidates".

Friday, December 12, 2003

I'm sure the ad doesn't list every quality they're looking for, and let's be honest, it's a hirer's market right now.

Brad Wilson (
Friday, December 12, 2003

It means "We got 100 resumes.  We only look at the first 15, and bin the rest.  You were number 67.  Have a nice day."

The alternate is "We have a Word macro looking for keywords.  You need at least 15.  Yours had 6.  Have a nice day."

Tip:  Look at all the ads, and pick out the keywords.  Jam them into your resume somehow, eg replace old-fashioned "Stock Control" with the now hip "Logistics".

Failing that, add the line "I've love bookstores, since they have lots of books on C++, C, Java, C#, .NET, Python, ASP, VB, Visual Basic, Internet, Network, NT, Microsoft Office, Security, TCP-IP and more."

Bingo, 15 keywords.  You've just made it past the first filter.

Now you need to get past the low-paid temp, then the junior recruiters, then the person handing the job, then the company HR, then the ah bugger it, I'd rather be unemployed.

Friday, December 12, 2003

It might also mean that they needed to advertise the job (because of some internal company regulations) but they already have a good internal candidate. Thus, the whole process is a joke. I've seen this done before.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

LOL AJS, I like your macro answer.  I could believe it, except that I can't believe that there's an HR guy out there somewhere who actually knows how to "program" macros.

my god, it's late... or is it early?
Saturday, December 13, 2003

First, count yourself lucky that you received any reply at all. Last year, when I was job hunting, I almost went crazy because after hundreds of resumes sent out, I received only a handful of replies. Granted, one of those replies was the one that got me my current (crappy) job.

Second, there are a lot of reasons why you might be told you have excellent skills but that you aren't quite what the company is looking for. As I've been recruiting lately, I find myself using this phrase quite a bit for candidates who just don't quite have the amount of experience I'm looking for or who haven't been working on the right sort of projects.

If I had more time, I'd explain in detail to each candidate why he didn't make the cut; but frankly, just sending them a canned "You're not quite what we were looking for" email is quite time consuming. (But after going crazy last year, I swore I would respond to every candidate who followed the directions in the advertisement.)

It certainly can be frustrating.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

It's just a polite standard refusal letter. I send letters tellling people we had so many good applicants we couldn't shortlist them but are keeping their details on the database in case we change our mind. In 90% of the cases it's half true; I'm keeping their details on the database so if they apply again I know to refuse them automatically, but I am not going to offend somebody by sending him a letter saying he's a piece of crap I wouldn't hire to clean my toilets, even if it is true.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, December 13, 2003

>> "I'm keeping their details on the database so if they apply again I know to refuse them automatically,"

I hope you are talking about different positions.  Also people resumes change over time.  Sounds like a bad practice to me.... asshole.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

The job search is psychologically brutal, because there is an implied negative value judgement in every rejection. Maybe companies are aware of this when they don't respond and are being kind by being mute. Maybe.

And another thing to consider. When you have a lot of experience or reek of being above a certain age or in a certain demographic, you may be too unacceptably "subversive" to consider.

The point is, companies want a "right" fit. Rightness connotes being in a range, and being neither way above nor below. If they're looking for an unwashed junior developer, they don't really want to consider someone with an all star track record because that person will simply not be happy in a position defined for entry level work.

Bored Bystander
Saturday, December 13, 2003

The usual response to a rejected candidate is some form of: You're a great person, but unfortunately we can't use you right now.

In other words, the exact wording is meaningless. I'll bet if you could locate other candidates, you'd find that they all got the same letter.

Don't sweat it.

Celia Redmore
Saturday, December 13, 2003


I remember whan I was 18 years old and I genuinly believed that they had been impressed with my CV, and that I would be considered for future positions.

How naive was I ?

Ged Byrne
Saturday, December 13, 2003

"It might also mean that they needed to advertise the job (because of some internal company regulations) but they already have a good internal candidate. Thus, the whole process is a joke."

Sometimes it's not necessarily because they have a good internal candidate.  Nepotism is alive and well despite company policies against it.  Either way, the advertisement is merely a matter of adhering to the written hiring policy while circumventing it's intended effect.  The job description is written to match the desired person's resume almost verbatim, a couple unlucky folks get an interview despite having no chance at actually getting the job, they go ahead and hire the person they were going to hire anyway, and it sails through HR because the person is the perfect match for the advertised job description and they can come up with sufficient justification as to why the other candidates they interviewed weren't good enough.  To borrow an metaphor from high school dating, the company is being a "dick tease."

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Oh, well, at least a couple of unemployed SW engineers get job interviews to record for their unemployment eligibility...

Bored Bystander
Saturday, December 13, 2003

anon... Now that I think about it, soon after being laid off I saw my exact job description on a job site. Well, it didn't match at all what I did or even was expected to do, but it was the right title. What it did match was the skillset of the guy who replaced me. I thought at the time that he had written the ad looking for someone else to work under him, but now I see it was probably written with the intent of hiring him specifically.

He was transferred from another division, and from what I can tell, was being groomed to take over my spot for a while. He came from the same division as my boss at the time, and was probably brought because my boss was new and was looking to establish a beachhead and wanted to take his old, loyal staff with him.

Let's hear it for nepotism and internal politics.

Full name:
Sunday, December 14, 2003

I've also seen it done to satisfy immigration requirements. You have to advertise the job to see if there are any qualified Americans that can do the job. Same result as described above.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Did anyone else expect this topic to be about an IBM commercial?

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, December 16, 2003

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