EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

If you really need to get someone you are interviewing off the phone or out of your office, there is no better approach than to use what I call “The excuse you can’t cure.”

In the annals of job search, there is no better tool. No one gets mad. No one screams. No one hits you. (This is especially important.) The beauty of “The excuse you can’t cure.” is that the victim doesn’t feel a thing. In fact, he/she usually accepts the problem as his or her own, not yours.

This tool plays itself out with comments such as “If only you had a CPA.” Well, if you don’t have one, you certainly aren’t going to get one by tomorrow. They may as well have said: “If only you were taller.” That isn’t going to happen either.

“We already have enough candidates.” This is a new one I heard recently. I can’t believe there are ever enough candidates.

Consider all of the truthful things they could have told you that would have gotten them sued. You’re too old. (This one would have been good for at least $100,000 in court, don’t you think?)

“You’re over qualified.” Actually, this is one that is used all the time. What exactly does this mean? I guess it means you could do the job with one hand tied behind your back. Okay. Let’s see. If you understand the job requirements and are willing to work for the money on the table, I wish someone would explain the problem to me. I guess the company is looking for someone UNDER qualified so the work can get screwed up. Then, they will need someone with your skills and experience to come in and FIX it.

The fact that this proven technique is used all the time isn’t the actual problem. (Now that you know people are using this on you, you will be more alert to it.)

The REAL problem is that I hear people who have had this approach used on them actually repeating the explanation and expressing it as some truth relevant to their job search. The only “truth” is that they weren’t interested in engaging your services.

A CPA may be listed as a requirement, but in most cases it isn’t a REAL requirement to get the job done. Trust me, there are lots of non-CPA’s out there doing SEC reporting who know more about it than your average or even above average CPA.

While handling “customer objections” when things get to this stage are simply not possible, you should anticipate the relevant issues and address them early in your conversations with prospective employers.

If you bring it up, you can address it in the manner and with the explanation you want the hiring manager to repeat to all those engaged in the process. If you think you are lacking in a credential, you are obligated to speak to your strengths that overcome the lack of a certification. It is never easy, but it can be done.

The same thing is true of being “over qualified.” My explanation was to suggest to people that I wasn’t as capable as they thought I was. Granted, not everyone can deliver tongue in cheek humor as well as I can, but I’m sure you can come up with your own approach if you think this is what might be keeping you from a perfectly acceptable “work opportunity.”

The most important thing to do in the job search process is to keep your chin up. (It is easier to hit that way, and you look more important and confident.)

Regards, Matt

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