when a job ad doesn’t list the true qualifications the employer is seeking

This was originally published on August 28, 2011.

A reader writes:

I’ve been working for the same company for over 7 years, and recently I applied for a position posted on the company website. It was a training position and I met the qualifications that were listed and it seemed to me I would be a good fit for the job. However, the HR rep emailed me back a week after I applied to inform me that I didn’t meet the qualifications. She listed four qualifications that I did not meet, but none of these were listed on the original job posting.

Is it a common practice to vet prospective candidates based on undisclosed qualifications?

Sure, it’s not uncommon that a job posting doesn’t list every single thing that the employer is looking for. But it’s not typically because they’re deliberately keeping job requirements secret. Instead, it’s one of the following:

1. The person who created the job posting doesn’t know what they’re doing. They’re not clear on what skills and traits they really need, and therefore the posting isn’t either. This often results in postings that require, say, experience in a specific software even though what the employer really needs is someone who can learn that software quickly. Sometimes it results in the truly ridiculous, such as requiring five years of experience with a technology that’s only been around for two years. And sometimes it goes in the opposite direction too — being so vague about the requirements that almost anyone would qualify.

2. The person who created the job posting did know what they’re doing, but there’s some flexibility to the requirements so they just listed the most important things. There might be 10 things they’d love to find, but only 3 are essential and the necessity of the others will vary depending on the candidate’s overall package. For instance, they might be willing to forego requirements 4-10 if your skills and accomplishments in 1-3 are really impressive — in which case, they might just list 1-3 in the ad. And that could certainly lead to them telling a candidate who met requirements 1-3 but still didn’t blow them away that they’re hoping to find un-posted requirements 4 and 5 too (rather than saying, “meh, you just struck us as kind of mediocre”). And that would be true — and it would be reasonable that they didn’t list those requirements in the ad, because they’re not going to be requirements in every case.

3. It could also be that they didn’t list a particular qualification because they didn’t realize its importance until they talked to a candidate who lacked it. For instance, you might advertise for a communications director who has a track record of placing stories in major publications, an ability to craft compelling soundbites, and strong relationships with reporters. Then you might talk to a candidate who has all of that — but she’s always worked for high-profile issues that are easy to get reporters to cover, and you realize that you’re looking for someone with a track record getting coverage of duller, more challenging issues. Or you realize in talking to her that her aggressive, fairly confrontational approach will give your more soft-spoken industry fits. Or everything else is great, but her writing — which just needs to be decent, so you didn’t even address it in the job requirements — is truly terrible. And so forth.

Ultimately, I think your question is about feeling that you were somehow treated unfairly — that the employer is conducting their search process in a less than transparent way. But that way of thinking doesn’t really get you anywhere. Maybe they’re inept at hiring or maybe they’re not — but it can be hard to tell from the outside … and either way you’re better off simply accepting that they didn’t think you were quite the fit they’re looking for — for whatever reason — and moving on.

{ 56 comments… read them below }

  1. Rat Racer

    I don’t know if this is just my field, but job postings at my last two companies were HORRIBLY written. Such that it was basically impossible to understand what the job was about unless you had some kind of inside knowledge of who posted the position and for what purpose.

    These were both large corporations with weak, old-school HR departments. HR had attempted to create universal job categories, with canned language to describe them, in an effort to create consistency across departments. The result was disastrous and you end up with titles like “Sr. Business Change Development Adviser.” (The heck?) And since hiring managers had little to no agency in writing the descriptions, they were uselessly vague.

    Just saying that even internal candidates can have trouble reading the tea leaves.

    1. SevenSixOne

      THIS– The posting may be so unclear because the hiring manager didn’t write it and the person who wrote it has no idea what the job really is.

    2. MaryMary

      I saw a job posting once for a Benchmark Enabling Analyst. It was like someone played mad libs when creating the job title.

        1. LQ

          This sounds like someone who heard that you had use Dreamweaver software to make websites.

    3. Maggie

      My old company did the same. It was SO vague and to have a ‘day in the life’ you would probably have your head explode when you realized the vast difference between the ad and reality. I won’t tell you my title but you will NEVER find it at another company. It was ridiculous.

  2. Anon.

    I also work in training (as a contractor), and I saw the same thing happen to someone who wanted to make a lateral move into a different group. Say that the job description was written for just what they needed (although it might not have been in your case), I find that training groups have a particular way of doing things, and some groups find some skills very important, and other skills not so important. They can run the gamut from people who organically shift from subject matter experts to trainers to groups who think having a graduate degree in instructional design is very important, as well ashow to use a variety of multimedia tools (for eLearning). It’s, of course, the group culture that rarely makes it in the job description.

    Frankly, I think training groups can be an argumentative bunch–sometimes in an org, one group thinks they do training so much better than one or more groups. Maybe that’s why you got dinged this time…maybe not, but a possibility. I’m sure that this is not just in training where one group thinks they do stuff better than another group within an org.

    Say that you really, really wanted to work for this group (or another group in your org), find out who works in that group and get to some people in the that area. I don’t know how kosher it might be, but maybe even have an informational interview that’s for your own professional development, and you’ll be familiar with its culture.

  3. BadPlanning

    Whenever I read job postings for what’s essentially my job, I feel like I’m not qualified to do my job. For me, it’s an important reminder that you don’t have to exactly match every single requirement on a posting (I’m sure for some jobs you do, but not how they post jobs internally and externally at my job) and I probably underestimate my skills.

    1. Kelly L.

      Me too! I don’t know if it’s impostor syndrome or what. I feel like I’m not a “real” (this thing) and all the others are doing much more difficult work.

    2. Lizabeth

      +1

      Some of the “wishlists” in job ads are incredible; especially with software.
      AND they don’t want to PAY you appropriately for “knowing” said software…

      1. LQ

        My favorite is always people who want more experience with software than years the software has existed.

        1. Erik

          That’s very true for software engineering roles. We always get a good laugh when someone asks for 10+ years of experience in X, when X has barely been out for 6 months.

  4. HR “Gumption”

    A few years ago we needed a receptionist. Coordinated with Office Manager on necessary requirements then posted ad, screened (many) resumes, did phone interviews and pared it down to the final 4 candidates.

    At that point the OM said the receptionist needed a car for the occasional bank run, and guess what? The two best choices didn’t own cars. I protested noting that this was an entry level position with entry level pay and we are in a metro area well served by public transit. And Seattle is not cheap to live in.

    Fortunately my protest was recognized although I had to promise to make any bank runs, funny thing is I never did a one.

    After that I made sure to dig a bit deeper for requirements needed for any new or replacement position.

  5. HM in Atlanta

    Semi-regularly, there are comments/discussion about how hiring managers should be treating hiring like a priority (and not leaving it up to HR people who may or may not have a grasp of what the hiring manager wants). Every single time I’ve worked with another manager to hire, they come up with absolute must have skills/experience, only after we’ve screened and/or interviewed people. It’s always because they didn’t take the time to really think about what they needed in job (usually, because they were focused on what was happening day-to-day and thought the perfect candidate would fall into their laps).

  6. Leah

    Ugh. It gets worse when different organizations use the same title for widely varying jobs and are vague in their descriptions of job duties so you just have to guess.

    I was about to apply for a job (that would have required writing a cover letter more or less from scratch) when I remembered that I had a friend who worked there in a different area. Not only did he clarify what that role does and that I’m years away from qualified for it but also he mentioned a job title I would be qualified for if they had an opening. Well, they did and I sent in my application this morning.

    I really wish there could be a glossary of job duties used by all hiring managers so I don’t waste my time sending in and they don’t have to review an application for a job that is a bad fit. For example, I have seen the phrase “Oversees …(work area, such as marketing)”. I have seen this used in a situation when:
    *someone else plans, I carry out
    *I carry out as part of a team, with or without my planning input
    *I supervise someone/a team to make sure it happens
    *I manage a team, some of whom do X and I am involved in planning
    etc.

    I get that titles may vary depending on different organizations’ needs, but can we at least find some common language for descriptions?

    1. SevenSixOne

      The one that frustrates me is “senior”.

      A posting for a “Senior Teapot Engineer” may mean someone with many years experience engineering teapots, someone to supervise the other teapot engineers, or some combination of both. ARGH.

      1. MaryMary

        I work for a small company, and my former boss hired in a woman as a Senior Analyst because she had about five years of experience in a similar role at a competitor. Before she was hired, we only had Analysts, there was no Senior Analyst position. Hiring her as a Senior Analyst caused an uproar. We have Analysts who’d been with the company for 15+ years, they were furious that they were not Senior Analysts. My former boss was confused and defensive, because he’s tone deaf about these kinds of things. And the poor new hire walked in on her first day to find that several of her coworkers resented her before they’d even met her. This was a year ago, and we’re still digging out of the aftermath.

      2. StevenO

        Here all “senior” means is that the person in the position negotiated a higher salary. Seriously.

        1. Annie O

          Here it’s a phony promotion to appease folks who want to move up. I say phony because it seems to have no connection to performance or industry experience. It’s more like, Wakeen’s been here 8 years, he’s complaining about the lack of promotion opportunities, so let’s call him “senior.” To the best of my knowledge, we’ve never hired at that level.

    2. PizzaSquared

      I’ve had this problem a few times in my recent job search. In my fields, titles are widely varied, but recruiters also seem to take them as strictly defined in the way their company defines them. So if they’re looking for a “X Manager,” and I did exactly the same stuff that their “X Managers” do, but I was called a “Y Director,” they don’t even want to talk to me.

      To some extent I can address this by adjusting the titles on my resume, but I don’t always know what they’re looking for (going back to the OP) or what their definition of the titles is. So I end up resorting to trying to describe what the job entailed in the description, and hoping they actually read that far (evidence suggests they don’t).

      Thankfully I’ve got some really recognizable and prestigious companies on my resume, which is usually enough to get me onto at least a phone call with a recruiter where I can explain it. But just yesterday I had a really frustrating call with a recruiter who kept telling me I wasn’t a fit because I didn’t have “X management” experience, even while I tried to explain that a “Y Director” at my company does literally the same thing as their “X Manager.” Sigh.

  7. Lili

    “inept at hiring”. This.
    It happened to me as well. I moved on and got something better.

    Do not take it personally, keep your head up and move on. Good luck!

    1. Anon

      I agree.

      I tell myself that often… it’s still hard to take repeated blows to the ego.

      In my case, no one is being hired in the case of most of these rejections. Positions stay open forever.

      I can only relish the future possibility of saying no to one of these employers if/when they double back to me.

  8. Nessa

    My favorite job description is the job non-description. The best example I’ve seen is from Craig’s List, and it said: “Basic paralegal duties. Send resume and cover letter.” How do you make yourself shine with so little information? I have no idea what this person wanted, and I’m betting they don’t either. I guess the moral of the story is learn to ask for what you want!

    1. Jen RO

      I once went to an interview where the interviewer basically let me talk the whole time. He admitted that he knew they needed a [my job], but they had never had one and didn’t even know what questions to ask. It was an interesting experience and I might have even taken the job, but I later learned they were paying under the table so I withdrew from consideration. (They are still looking, one year later.)

  9. Annie O

    I’ve also seen the requirements change midway through a search due to the quality of the applicant pool. For example, the job ad asked for skills A, B, and C. Several applicants also had skills D and E. Then the hiring manager starts rejecting people for not having D and E. If the rejection simply says, “You’re rejected for not having D and E,” it can seem a bit unfair to the candidate.

  10. Maggie

    How timely! I just had an interview in which they told me that the role I had applied for was ‘actually a succession plan’ to take over as the head of the department, when the ad is for a support role. WTH?? I am thinking it’s either a trial run and they just can’t legally say it, or they want diamonds on a zirconia budget. (I picked up that term here at AAM, thank you to the author!) Either way, I am pretty apprehensive.

    1. Artemesia

      I had some fair success recruiting diamonds with a zirconium budget and it definitely is one of the reasons ads are vaguer than they ought to be. And yes we had some ideal candidates who laughed in our faces when they found out what we were planning to pay. (I was totally sympathetic to their view — I was in a constant battle to pay people better.)

  11. nyxalinth

    Yp, what OP said is basically what I mean about the whole “We called you for an interview even though we don’t think you don’t have enough experience to land the job” bugaboo that I’ve run up against. I’ve suspected that what Alison said is what’s going on here. It doesn’t bother me so much anymore since I long ago decided that whatever the ad says there’s probably ten other things they want being left unsaid, but it’s nice to know that my brain isn’t just making that scenario up!

    1. Mimmy

      Ha! I remember being called in for an interview at a school for kids with emotional & behavioral disabilities; I think it was in their transportation department, I don’t remember exactly what the job was. The interviewer asked me about experience in accounting-related aspects, even though my resume had NOTHING that suggested I had any such experience!

      1. Mimmy

        Whoops – forgot to mention that I didn’t apply for this job; I’d sent out “blind” resumes to various places, the school being one of them.

  12. James M

    Personally, I love the purple squirrel job listings: a required skill set so specific and so varied that only one person qualifies for that position: the person who just left it.

    Gotta love the warm fuzzy cocoon of magical thinking.

    1. Annie O

      Yep, my company tried that last fall and yadda, yadda, yadda … we ended up having to hire two people to get all the qualifications we needed.

    2. Al Lo

      My company has a position that evolved over many years to encompass three different areas, which didn’t intuitively go together. It was the result of a single person, over her career, patchworking these together as she moved between departments and as need arose.

      About a year ago, that person left. One of her job descriptions was moved back to the department she’d originally worked in (she took that particular job with her when she shifted), and the company started trying to hire a person who could meet the job requirements of the other two roles in one job.

      Fast forward to now — we’ve had 2 people in the last year in that role. The first one lasted 6 weeks, the second 6 months. Thankfully, at that point, my boss realized that it was impossible to hire specifically for that role, and split it up into about 3 different part-time components [one part-time contract, one outside consultant, and one addition to a current staff member, bumping her from part-time to full-time], which is now working much more successfully.

      Thankfully, the theory that one person could fill the whole job description didn’t last too long, and the company was flexible enough to realize it and reorganize the hiring process to actually work.

    3. Anon

      Magical thinking is exactly what it is.

      There is an eery parallel between what HR and hiring managers try do with computers and a big checklist and what the kids in the movie ‘Weird Science’ do–
      ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eejklj3d9Q )

      — try to create a fictional person out of thin air.

      (Kelly LeBrock was nearly perfectly ’80s hot’, wasn’t she?)

      Until and unless Taleo or other HR info systems can create real human beings, maybe companies need to improve their social skills and find employees among the land of the non-fictional.

  13. HAnon

    In the graphic design field, I keep coming across positions that are written as Web Graphics Designer, but are really “Top-notch developer with an eye for design” in disguise. I had two recruiters contact me about the same position and they both called it different things…the wording on the description was also confusing, because “some knowledge of coding” is not the same thing as “able to develop and code a website from scratch” which is often what they’re actually looking for…and the recruiter doesn’t necessarily know the difference, so it’s only much later in the process that I actually find out what the position entails. And this has happened many, many times as more employers are trying to consolidate two positions with completely different areas of specialty and education into one position. So I feel your pain…

  14. Artemesia

    I used to recruit for a position that was hard to fill. Our ideal candidate would be a person with considerable private sector management experience, an MBA and a PhD in a social science who was willing to work on year to year contract for not all that much money. The person also had to demonstrate their teaching ability and be excellent at that and pass muster with a set of grump tenured faculty. Our ad cast a much wider net because we realized that to find someone with these characteristics whom we actually wanted to hire would be dicey. This meant we ended up with a lot of retired school principals who were not at all what we wanted but vaguely met many of the requirements. (the retired part was fine — but experience in public schools was not on point for this particular position) We actually ended up with some great hires over the years who met most of these criteria — but a lot of applicants who were discarded without consideration (we always had a couple of hundred) I am sure thought they met the requirements of the position. It doesn’t help that the ads for the position had to go through a ridiculous committee process where clarity was generally sacrificed.

  15. MR

    It amazes me how often hiring managers ‘mail in’ their job posting. It is so obvious when this happens.

    You can usually tell when the posting is really vague about what the position is, or what requirements that you need to have. Also, a lot of buzzwords is a good tipoff as well.

    It’s important for a HM to get the job posting right. If you put crap in the posting, do you really think you will get the right person for the job? You get out of it what you put into it, just like everything else in life.

  16. Queen Anon

    I’ve always wondered why it’s not an considered an egregious act for a company to misrepresent itself and the jobs it’s hiring for when it is (and rightly) considered an egregious act for a jobseeker to misrepresent herself. When a jobseeker misrepresents herself, she’s a liar but when a company does it, it’s just one of those things – you know, they probably didn’t do it on purpose – it’s because there’s some flexibility there and maybe they didn’t realize everything they wanted. Same as when an employee quits without notice – it’s a horrible thing that shows how irresponsible they are and it’ll haunt them for a long time. When a company does the same thing – lays someone – or many someones at once – off with no notice, it’s just the way business is done. Actually, it’s a horrible thing, but it’s not going to haunt the company for a long time. People will still try to get hired there.

    1. Queen Anon

      Meant to say “it’s because there’s some flexibility there and maybe they didn’t realize everything they wanted and they very likely didn’t do it on purpose.” (Except they may have so as to exclude internal applicants that they’re required to interview, but no one will ever say so!)

  17. Gallerina

    I had #3 happen to me a few weeks ago. I went for a second interview and got asked to do a written test for a skill that I have no experience with at all, wasn’t in the job description and wasn’t on my resume. The written test (unsurprisingly) was awful and the second interview turned out to be a massive waste of everyone’s time.

    If the job description had mentioned that particular skill set as an essential, I wouldn’t have bothered applying and a great deal of time and effort would have been saved by everyone concerned.

  18. AW

    I’ve had this happen but gotten to the interview before I learn that I actually only meet half of the requirements that they had in mind. Once was because they got a grant in the 6 weeks between my interview and their decision (not exaggerating) and they hired someone who had initially been overqualified but that they could now afford. The other time was in the interview where I think I hid my mortification pretty well when question after question was answered with variations of “I have no background in that but let me tell you how great I am.”

  19. Carolum

    There’s also the “going through the motions” theory – that they had their candidate in mind, and they were just going through the motions of placing an ad and interviewing people, knowing all along that they were going to hire someone else.

    1. Carolum

      (Of course, during the interview process they might meet with people whom they think might be a good fit for another opening, now or in the future.)

  20. Erik

    I had an experience last month on LinkedIn for a Senior Director of Software Engineering at a biotech company. The job description looked good and was the position I was interested in, so I applied. I had a phone interview with the hiring manager.

    The manager apparently changed his mind after he posted the job, so it was now just Director. Okay, fine. I asked more about what would be different. After going through a series of questions that seemed to so on forever, it was more of a technical lead position at most, nothing that would be Director level work. That was a huge letdown for me, and I felt that was nothing more than a “bait and switch” scheme.

    The hiring manager could’ve at least updated the job description but apparently was too lazy to do so. He ended up looking bad in my eyes, and probably why he was still trying to fill the position. There’s a big difference between “Senior Director” and “Team Lead”. I will never apply to that company again.

  21. Call Girl

    I once applied for a blind ad (for fun) that did not list the company name, whether it was a full time or part time job, or the rate of pay. The only qualification listed was “enthusiasm.” It was probably a telemarketing/sales job. I sometimes wonder if they ever hired anyone.

  22. Suzanne

    Reading all this leaves me very frustrated but I know it happens all the time. No wonder the economy is still in the tank! I have sat in on interviews and reviewed resumes for several of my jobs, so I know a bit about the hiring process and know that it isn’t neat & tidy. I also know from having been job searching in the past few years, and having friends and relatives do so as well, that this lack of transparency is very difficult on the job seeker, who spends time, energy, and resources applying and /or interviewing for jobs that either don’t really exist, don’t exist in the form that they are advertised, are so specific that God himself wouldn’t qualify, or the decision of who to hire was made long ago so you aren’t going to get the job even if you are God.
    As a job seeker, you are expected to be on your A game all the time, have the perfect resume & cover letter, excellent & cutting edge skills, and nary a flaw in your past but for the employer, whatever floats their boat seems fine.
    A friend of mine who is unemployed recently excitedly prepared for an interview . He spent days learning about the IT parts of the position because he knew he was weak in that area, practiced, and prepared. The interviewer (who was the hiring decision talked incessantly about himself during the interview and obviously had no idea what the position in question was all about. My friend knew as soon as he left he would not get the job, but talk about frustrating! He wasted countless hours preparing for this interview and was excited about the job at which he would have excelled.

  23. nyxalinth

    On a similar yet side note, Don’t post a listing for an ad that is totally different from the position in question. Last year I saw an ad for customer service/office support. this is what their ad said, and mind, that line about ‘recent growth’ is BS. They’ve been running this ad for a year now:

    Looking for candidates to fill positions in Customer Service Support/Inbound sales processing. We have expanded into a new office space due to recent growth. The ideal candidate should be career minded, and looking for advancement. Applicants should be comfortable in office professional organization with some telephone work. Consistant and regular customer interaction are to be common. Employee Life and Health benefits are provided. We are looking to fill these positions as soon as possible, please email your resume/cover letter to the provided link above.

    -Colorado is on the forefront of new and emerging markets for the company.
    -Weekly paycheck
    -International recognition
    -Leadership development program
    -Residual Income/Pension

    Benefits Include:

    -Health Insurance after 90 days
    -Life Insurance after 90 days
    -Yearly Conventions
    -Lifetime Pension

    The pay is 35-50 k a year which should have clued me in (it’s fluctuated form ad to add, too) . If you saw this ad, what do you think the job would be? Exactly what it says?

    Nope. It was outside, face to face insurance sales. When they called me for an interview last wee and told me this I said “Your ad said it was customer service and office duties.”

    “Well, sometimes people call and ask questions about their policy, and you’re based in an office, and have to do paper work and things of that nature, so the ad isn’t misleading, in our opinion.”

    I barely managed to keep my cool but I stayed polite and told them they’d hire the person they were looking for if they ran their ad honestly and that the position wasn’t for me, kthnxbye. They still run their ad of lying lies a year later. Some people never learn!

    1. Artemesia

      The business model is we hire you and in the first 90 days you con your long suffering relatives and close friends into buying insurance; they you have fished out your pond and we let you go never having of course has to give you health insurance or other benefits. And of course if it is a poor product your relatives and close friends all resent you or feel cheated that they bought something they really didn’t want and now you don’t even work there anymore.

      So of course the ad runs constantly, they have 90 days turnover.

  24. misspiggy

    In the UK, I think you have to have a publicly available list of job competencies that you can prove you recruited against, to avoid discrimination claims. At least, that’s been what I’ve understood from various HR departments. Otherwise, what’s to stop a firm rejecting you because you’re female or have a foreign name, and claiming it was because you didn’t meet an unknown/made-up set of criteria?

    1. Anon

      Haha. Discrimination is alive and well.

      How about getting response to your CV and a phone interview within 48 hours of submitting it and acing technical questions in the first half of the in-person interview only to have the hiring manager baselessly/out of nowhere implicitly accusing you of being racist and asking racial-charged questions in the interview and one week later seeing you in a social situation and drunkenly yelling at you about your ‘white privilege’.

      A hiring manager at Oxfam did this to me last month.

      1. S.A.

        Wow that was unprofessional of them to put it mildly. I’ve only been accused of “white privilege” once in my life and find it ridiculous. I think my accuser thought there was no way a white female could actually work hard and do their job better than they could.

        You have my sympathy on that. I’m not sure how I’d respond to that situation. Note to self: Avoid Oxfam…

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Hmmm, I think there’s a fundamental misunderstanding here. Pointing out someone’s privilege isn’tan accusation or an attack. It’s a reminder — so that we can examine our own privilege (since society affords some groups very real benefits that it doesn’t afford others) — and ideally so that you can better understand the experience of other people and find ways to use your own privilege for good. It’s not an accusation.

          1. Anon

            I have very little privilege.
            I grew up poor and remain poor. Please let me know where I may cash this privilege in. I need to pay a few bills.

            Secondly, I grew up in a multicultural, diverse community, and, unlike many of the bourgeois bohemian yuppies who spout this white privilege rhetoric, actually intermingle with the unwashed masses on a daily basis. I understand the plight of common people because I am one of them. Any notion of privilege that is based on race only is garbage, as economics has a ton to do with it as well.

            Making assumptions about me because of my race is racism, pure and simple.

            Essentially, if someone wants to lecture someone on privilege, try finding someone who is privileged to yell at.

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              Anon, your comments are being sent to moderation because you earlier told someone to “shut it,” which we don’t do here.

              This is not the place for a debate about the issues you’re raising, but I do want to say that I think you’ve misunderstood the concept of privilege. I strongly reading “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” by Peggy McIntosh, to get a better understanding of what privilege is.

              And then if you’re still willing, these will flesh that out further (the first one might be particularly of interest to you):

              http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/explaining-white-privilege-to-a-broke-white-person-shesaid/

              http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/07/white-privilege-at-princeton-never.html

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