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No Luck Getting a Job? Reasons Employers Aren't Hiring

Updated on July 3, 2016

There's no doubt that the unemployed are facing big obstacles in their job searches. Getting no response after submitting a resume is all too familiar. In other cases candidates get a foot in the door and make it to the first or even second interview, but for one reason or another fail to get the job. It's tempting to blame external factors for the lack of jobs. Nothing can be done about recessions, cutbacks, automation, and outsourcing but at times people sabotage their efforts right from the start. This article explores both sides of the job dilemma.

Why Do Some People Remain Unemployed?

Lying on a resume – They might exaggerate work dates to close a gap in employment history, or say they have a degree but didn't graduate university. Lying on a resume isn't a good idea and thinking discrepancies will go unnoticed is a big mistake. Employers can, and probably will, do some kind of background check, talk to previous managers, or ask difficult questions to see if a person really has the ability to do the job.

Failing to prepare for an interview – Job hunters must be ready to talk about their work experience, company knowledge, and how they handled a difficult situation in the past. However, answering every question intelligently isn't enough. Employers want to see passion, not boredom. Finger or foot tapping, fidgeting, or showing awkward facial expressions indicates a lack of interest even if candidates don't know it.

Ignoring the company's instructions – If an ad says "No phone calls" then don't contact the company this way. Similarly, mailing/faxing a resume and cover letter when an online application is requested indicates that applicants only care about what they think is important. That's strike number one. What important details will they miss on the job?

Other reasons – Sending resumes with spelling/grammar mistakes, not following up after an interview, arriving just in time (or late) to an interview, and not asking a single question to a recruiter can get a person's name removed from the list rather quickly.

Do Employers Deserve Some of the Blame?

The resume was relevant to the position and free of errors, the interview was great, and after the follow up call and thank you note were sent nothing happened. What went wrong?

It may have nothing to do with the applicant. In fact, the unemployed stay out of the workforce for reasons that are legitimately beyond their control.

Employers are being too finicky – With so many out of work, companies believe they can afford to wait indefinitely until the perfect candidate is found. That would explain why candidates have two or even three job interviews, assuming they make it through the initial screening (and many don't). Even though companies think they're saving money by not hiring, an unfilled position hurts the business in the long run.

Companies don't want to train – How many times has the phrase "five years of experience required" appeared in job ads? In most cases, employers are reluctant to train somebody new because it's thought to be too expensive. What do they do instead? They look for a person who is working, i.e., the skills that can only be learned by doing the job itself. Consequently, college grads who could fit in to jobs nicely with a bit of training don't get noticed.

It looks like employers are, at least partially, contributing to the problem. Could it be the skills gap is really an issue of inflexibility among employers? Rather than keep a position open forever, perhaps it would make more sense to help a new employee along until he or she can get up to speed. Employers are further complicating the situation by using computer algorithms to screen potential candidates, adding rigidity to a process that will leave everyone behind except that "perfect" hire. Employers could work more closely with schools to develop students' abilities before graduation.


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