EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

You would think that at this point in our lives our BS detectors would be well tuned. Unfortunately, when it comes to being rejected for a “work opportunity,” the “reasons why” we are given are more often than not taken as some kind of absolute truth.

I am often asked by candidates for assignments I am handling for clients of The FECG, LLC (www.TheFECG.com) why they weren’t chosen. I wish I had an answer that provided some useful information. In the hundreds of assignments we handle in a year, I can count on one hand the number of times that a client has taken me through the entire batch and given me explanations why this one or that one wasn’t chosen. Most of the time I don’t even get an explanation as to why those they have interviewed weren’t chosen.

More often than not, I don’t even get an explanation as to why the person they selected was hired beyond “he’s a great guy.”

Let’s accept the fact that for the most part everyone who makes it to the finals is technically qualified to do the job. The winner is usually the one person who clicks with the company on a personality basis. The folks at the hiring company know that they may be stuck with someone the greater portion of their waking hours and they want to make sure it is someone they like.

So, moving along to the issue of your question as to why you weren’t picked, understand that when people are asked a question of this nature, they are going to be sensitive to your feelings. The best approach is to pick on something you can cure. If you don’t have a CPA, well then this is the best comment to make. If only you had a CPA. If you had a long career with one employer, then the “explanation” is that you haven’t been at enough firms to gain the kind of experiences we feel we need. If you have been at a lot of firms, then the explanation is that we feel you are a little bit of a job hopper and we are concerned about that.

I think you’re beginning to see that you can’t win, and that is exactly the point. You didn’t win, and in today’s world of litigation for any reason, no one is going to give you any explanation that will get them sued.

Of course, the explanation they give you will have some ring of truth to it. Yes, there was something wrong with your background for THAT JOB.

That is not the same thing as there being something wrong with your background. Call it “looking for love in all the wrong places,” or anything else you like. It is not appropriate to use the information you get from these kinds of sources as a guide for future action except in very limited ways.

The purpose of the information you are getting is analogous to what con men do. It is called “cooling your mark.” In other words, you have to provide an explanation that will satisfy the “complaint” and yet not make the job candidate angry.

So, the next time someone tells you what is wrong with your background, I hope you will take it with a grain of salt. That is all the consideration it actually deserves.

Regards, Matt

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