EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

The world of job search is filled with a lot of cruel jokes.

I have often argued that when the answer is no with respect to your candidacy, the best thing you can probably do is stop listening. The reason is that just about everything that follows will either not be entirely true or will be as close as words come to being an out and out lie. Those on the other side of the table often consider these statements “little white lies.”

The problem with the questionable statements of fact that come at you in these situations is that they have that glimmer of truth. And, since you are at a sensitive stage in your life, you tend to believe them to have more validity than they deserve.

The most common approach to turning down a candidate I describe as “the excuse you can’t cure.” It is totally lethal. And, if you internalize these statements of “fact” they will affect your ability to compete for other jobs.

An example would be someone telling you that if only you had a CPA, you would have gotten the job. Well, if you don’t have one, this is not something you will be able to fix over the short term, if at all. While this statement may not be total nonsense, I’m sure all of us could point out successful CFOs we know who don’t have a CPA certificate.

They may as well have told you that you were too short. This is another of the many issues about your credentials that you can’t fix. The list is endless. We were looking for someone from a top 5 business school. (Didn’t they read your resume?) We were hoping to fill this job locally. (Again, didn’t they read your resume?)

Too short. Too tall. Too many jobs. Too long at one company. (Do I need to go on?)

The absolute truth in these situations is that they have not selected you. The reason they use “the excuse you can’t cure” is that the real reason might be something you could sue them for.

Perhaps they wanted someone just like you, but younger. Perhaps they didn’t know your religion, ethnic background or race. All of these issues are present in the marketplace. We would like to think that we are all past this kind of irrelevant criteria, but you may as well believe in the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus if you think prejudice doesn’t exist in the world.

The key issue is for you to know that when the answer is no, anything that is said shouldn’t be taken to heart.

After all, your fellow members of The FENG still respect you, as do your family and friends. It is their loss. Don’t add to the problem by believing in lies, white or any other color.

Regards, Matt

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