5 little-known secrets about job-searching

You might think you’re an experienced job seeker who understands how hiring processes work. But behind the scenes, hiring often works differently than job seekers assume that it does.

Here are five hiring secrets that you probably don’t know – but which can give you an advantage over your competition.

1. Application deadlines often don’t mean anything. Job seekers often take application deadlines as gospel, but they’re frequently interpreting them incorrectly. Many job posting sites require employers to list a deadline when submitting a job opening; that means that employers are forced to pick a date even if it doesn’t reflect how they’re actually managing the search. That means that a candidate might see a deadline listed and figure that they have until then to submit an application – when in reality, the employer might be interviewing candidates on a rolling basis and make a hire before that deadline has rolled around. Or perhaps they haven’t yet made a hire, but they might be far along in the process with other candidates and using much stricter criteria to add anyone else to the mix.

2. You can fudge your answers to some of those automated application requirements. The people who set up online application systems often don’t think about the requirements they program into them, and how they’ll kick out people whose applications they might actually like to see. For example, you might encounter an application system that asks if you have a bachelor’s degree in say, economics, giving you the option to answer yes or no. Let’s say that you don’t have a bachelor’s in economics – but you do have a masters in economics. If you answer the system’s question honestly, you might be automatically rejected, even though your masters should get you by this screening requirement – and if you were being screened by a human, almost certainly would. Rather than answering every question literally, thereby getting yourself automatically rejected, it’s often smarter to answer the questions in the spirit in which they seem intended. It’s okay to answer in the way that you think best gets your qualifications across; then just make sure that you include clear, concise explanations of anything necessary in the notes section and make sure that your resume is accurate.

3. Employers call references who aren’t on your official reference list. Employers know that the names on your reference list were likely selected because they’re the people most likely to say glowing things about you. Because of that, smart employers won’t stick to the list you provide; they’ll ask to be put in touch with additional managers from your past or just contact them on their own. And employers don’t need your permission to call people who aren’t on your reference list, so you might not know that they’re doing this.

And speaking of references…

4. Policies about not providing references are frequently broken. Some employers have policies of not giving references beyond confirming your dates of employment and your title. That might lead you to think you don’t need to worry about that manager who hated you giving you a bad reference, or to worry that the boss who loved you won’t be able to tell anyone that. But in reality, these corporate policies are broken all the time. HR offices are generally sticklers about adhering to them themselves, but individual managers are often willing to give detailed references no matter what their company policy is. That’s especially true when a manager thinks you’re a great worker and wants to help you get your next job.

5. No one is going to be outraged if you apply for a job you’re not perfectly qualified for. Conscientious job-seekers often worry about whether they have precisely the right qualifications to apply for a particular opening – but you might be worrying about this too much. If you have most but not all of the qualifications an employer is looking for, it’s often worth applying anyway. Many times, job qualifications are more like wish lists, and the employer will end up hiring someone who doesn’t perfectly match the job posting. And if you’re worried that you’re wasting the employer’s time or that they’ll roll their eyes at your application, know that loads of unqualified people apply for most openings. There are almost certainly people in the candidate pool for the job you’re considering who are less qualified than you are!

Besides, the worst that can happen is that they’ll reject you. But you might end up with an interview.

I originally published this at U.S. News & World Report.

{ 66 comments… read them below }

  1. Adam

    #5: Getting over this one was a big one for me. But hearing this enough on AAM got me to sit down and really look at the job listings more closely and realize as posted they often are idealized expectations of what they hope to get. Macgyver crossed with Dr. Who as it were.

    So now I’m getting better at picking out which things are “requirements” vs. “stocking stuffers” and it’s opening things a lot for me.

    1. M

      Ahhhhhh this one is so hard for me too. But my “dream job” opened today (I know, I know, but what I mean is, the position I’ve been lusting after from the outside looking in) and I don’t have alllllllll the “preferred” qualifications, but if I don’t try, I definitely won’t get it!

    2. Big10Professor

      Not to even mention the fact that the amount of time put into tailoring a job description can vary WIDELY by company. When I was applying for academic jobs, so many of them had the boilerplate stuff, so it was like “Requirements: PhD in a related field and ability to use MSWord.”

      1. Adam

        Funny thing, I recently went back to my Alma Mater’s undergrad library to do some things. It had been a long time since I set foot in there and they’d undergone a total renovation, mainly to install multiple school computers. All of them were Macs. Of the dozens of machines I saw around 1% of them were windows based. Makes me wonder what the faculty gets.

        1. Daphne

          I work at a university. All lab computers are Macs. However, most of them are running Windows 7. It is easier to image and manage the Macs. Our campus as a whole is about 50/50 Mac/Windows for employees.

        2. Snork Maiden

          I have had a Mac in some way, shape, or form for the last 10 years and use MS Word and Excel, if that’s what you’re implying.

    3. Lisa

      I am really tempted to apply for a CMO job for a small company that has grown exponentially, but still small at heart and clearly can’t afford the salaries that ‘normal CMOs’ get. I have experience in the areas of marketing they are looking for, but only a manager right now. Should I take a chance at the CMO job or apply for the lower level job there that I have no experience doing?

      I’ve run into problems where I can’t be considered for jobs unless I already have that title, but the description is essentially a director of marketing with a CMO title.

      1. Graciosa

        This is an area where the size of the company can help you. Just because you might not be ready for a CMO job in some companies doesn’t mean you’re not a good candidate for this one. You may as well take advantage of the disparity and let it work in your favor.

    4. Stephanie

      I had that realization when I’d apply for “perfect fit” jobs and never get a call and then get a call from jobs where I met two out of seven qualifications. Some orgs are ok training a new hire, some aren’t great at writing descriptions, and some write those descriptions with the professional equivalent of a six-legged unicorn in mind.

      1. adam

        What would you even do with a six-legged unicron? Brushing that thing must be a nightmare…*shifts eyes*

      2. voluptuousfire

        I had that realization when I’d apply for “perfect fit” jobs and never get a call and then get a call from jobs where I met two out of seven qualifications. Some orgs are ok training a new hire, some aren’t great at writing descriptions, and some write those descriptions with the professional equivalent of a six-legged unicorn in mind.

        I’m glad I’m not the only one who has this experience! The jobs where I’m pretty much a line for line match are the ones that reject me fifteen minutes after I submit my resume and the jobs where I meet half the criteria or less are calling me two minutes after I submit my resume. I wonder why that is?

        1. Anx

          Yes! If I’ve done the job before or the job is really vague I might get a call back.

          If it feels tailor made for me…nothing.

        2. Stevie Wonders

          Happens to me too. Seems to be little correlation between supposed requirements and whether a company calls back. Loose fit ones call back much more than great fit ones. Been baffling me for 30 years. But the automated tracking systems seem to be making the loose fits harder to come by.

    5. Beancounter in Texas

      Perhaps I’ve been writing job ads wrong then. I specify skills are required (and mean it) and what skills are helpful but not required.

      1. Adam

        It’s much appreciated but it’s definitely not common from where I sit. From my experience it’s usually a just one big list of “wants” and the closer to the top the more important it is (usually).

      2. Joey

        Same here. Minimum qualifications really means minimum qualifications for me. Id take it as a sign of poor planning and a poor understanding of employee compensation if your minimums are flexible.

        And, it’s not going to look real good for you if the EEOC is contacted because the 60 something minority woman with a disability complains that she met the stated qualifications, but you hired a 30 something white dude who didn’t.

      3. Anonymous Educator

        Even if you write for your exact requirements, you still have to hire the best candidate. If you can’t find that exact candidate, you have the option to change the job description or extend the search, but even if you extend the search, you may not find that exact candidate.

      4. Amber Rose

        I think the problem is when nobody has those skills, but they still really need to hire someone soon. Which happens in bigger companies a lot. So they have to go with the next best thing.

        Also in big companies there is sometimes a disconnect between the department of the person writing the description and the department needing a new hire.

    6. Steve G

      I am applying to jobs for the 3rd week in a row and have applied to 15 and have heard nothing back. I usually hear back right away, not sure what is going on with me or the economy or whatever……

      As per #5, I do notice a lot of Financial Analysts jobs that require aaaallllll sorts of computer programming languages that I can’t believe they are actually needed. The vast majority of work time is spent in Excel….and I think HR depts. need to stop including Salesforce and SAP experience in job ads. Programs like that are not like Excel – Excel takes years of practice to learn – Salesforce has features that are either common sense to use or you have to do things in a way that is tailored to the company; I don’t see how experience using it is a great way to differentiate candidates.

      1. voluptuousfire

        If you learn the Salesforce basics (creating cases and contacts, merging duplicate records, etc), you don’t have to be trained. Saves the employer trouble.

        1. Natalie

          Still though, if a software program is pretty easy to learn it should probably be a “nice to have”, not a mandatory requirement.

      2. Lauren

        My boyfriend is a Financial Analyst at a smaller firm, and he’s had a range of experiences with that. He interned for one department and had to learn VBA really quickly. He then got hired in to a sort of data analysis position as an analyst and had to learn a lot of new programming languages (including SAP). It was a bad fit an he returned to the position he originally interned for, and now he’s back to good old Excel. So long story short I think it depends on what kind of Analyst you are, but the vast majority seem to only need Excel.

  2. Brett

    #2 My least favorite automatic check is the one against job hopping that rejects you if you have too many recent jobs. Because I supplement my main job income, I often have as many as 4 jobs at a time and have held at least 6 different side jobs in the last five years.

    Some automated checks do not care if you have held one job continuously; seven jobs in five years still equals an automatic disqualification. I wish I could remember the corporation, but I even ran into one once that did this exact check, and then locked you from reapplying with the extra jobs omitted.

    1. Stephanie

      I haven’t run into that, but I’ve run into the systems that automatically reject you if you have say, four years’ experience instead of five years’. Which ugh.

  3. Ann O'Nemity

    I almost always love Alison’s advice but this batch hits a nerve. It bothers me that candidates might see advice columns like this and think, “Sure, I can still apply even though I don’t meet any of the minimum requirements.”

    I recently posted a job ad and 90% of applicants don’t meet the three minimum requirements. So on Friday I added a few automated application questions. Applicants are already fudging to get their applications considered, as evidenced by the disconnect between their answers and their resumes. Now I’m stuck playing detective to determine if any applicants are even qualified. It’s a waste of their time and mine.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      The thing is, though, it’s true for many/most jobs, and I regularly hear from people that when they started applying for jobs that felt a bit like a stretch, they started getting interviews when previously they weren’t. So I do think job seekers need to hear it, even though I agree with you that it’s frustrating when you’re one of the rare employers who truly does mean “required.”

      But honestly, it doesn’t matter what people are or aren’t told. People are always going to apply for jobs that they’re unqualified for; I’ve never done a hiring round that didn’t involve having to screen out large numbers of unqualified people. It just comes with the territory!

      1. Ann O'Nemity

        Alison, do you have any extra advice for hiring managers who have a small number of iron-clad minimum requirements?

        You’re right that some unqualified applicants are going to apply no matter what, but I keep thinking that there must be something I can do on my end to prevent it.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          You’ll never be able to prevent it altogether! Doesn’t matter what you say or how clear you are!

          That said, you might be able to cut down it on by saying something like this in the job posting: “These requirements truly are iron-clad; they’re essential for the job and we won’t be able to consider candidates without them.” Or, if your ads have a more conversational tone (which I prefer in general): “While we know some job requirements can be flexible, we want to be transparent that these are not. We want to be be considerate of your time (and yes, save ourselves time as well), so we want to stress that we won’t be able to consider candidates without these qualifications.”

        2. DJ

          My husband is currently job-hunting. Several times, we’ve seen “Please do not apply for this position unless you have x and y skills” in bold and all-caps. I appreciate the notification; it saves both parties from wasting time (though I’m sure it doesn’t stop everyone).

        3. Joey

          I changed the way we listed qualifications to the below and it’s helped, but I still get lots of folks who apply anyway (I set up my system to auto screen them out so I don’t even see them).

          Must have (no exceptions):

          1. Bachelors degree in x or related.
          2. X years of experience in x

          Preferred (but not required):
          1.
          2.

          1. AndersonDarling

            Yes, when I see the Required and the Preferred, then I know they are serious about the requirements.

        4. Anonymous Educator

          I don’t know if recruiters in other industries work this way, but I used to work for a company doing recruiting in the educational sphere, and clients used us (as opposed to posting on public job boards) sometimes specifically to avoid this problem. They knew, because they were paying us, 1.) that we had good candidates and 2.) that we would listen to their specific requirements and send only people who met their bare minimum requirements.

      2. Not So NewReader

        I read through the comments and I see people are still struggling with this. I am kind of, also.

        My question is: Let’s assume a logical calm HR/HM person is looking at apps, someone like yourself. How far off the mark would a person have to be to tick you off? How about a person that applies repeatedly for various jobs, at what point have they crossed over to being annoying?

        Did you ever get to a point where you said “NO! not ever!” And what did that person do that was so far off track?

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          How far off the mark would a person have to be to tick you off?

          Pretty damn far. And even then, I’m not going to get ticked off; I’m just going to think that they’re resume-bombing and applying for everything they see, reject them, and move on. It’s so, so common when you’re hiring that you really don’t get ticked off about it.

          How about a person that applies repeatedly for various jobs, at what point have they crossed over to being annoying?

          That definitely happens — after a certain point it can start to feel like “we’ve told you pretty clearly that this isn’t the right fit.” It’s hard to give an exact number though, since it depends on what they’re applying for, how big of a range, how large the company is, and how far off they are in their applications. If they’re close but not quite, it’s not going to seem problematic. If they’re always missing the mark, you’re more likely to feel annoyed.

          Did you ever get to a point where you said “NO! not ever!” And what did that person do that was so far off track?

          Oh, sure. But that’s about bad or clueless or incompetent behavior, not about applying when they shouldn’t.

          1. Anonymous Educator

            I don’t know if this is the exception instead of the rule, or if it varies by industry, but one time my office (at a school) was looking to hire someone, and one candidate applied to several different positions in our school at different times. Instead of us thinking, “this isn’t a right fit; why doesn’t she get that?” we thought “Wow… she must really like our school and really want to work here.”

            Turns out that was the case, and she was (and still is) an amazing employee.

    2. Lily in NYC

      It bugs me as well, but not as much as when people apply when they have absolutely none of the qualifications. I can’t believe how many administrative assistants have applied to a VP Strategy role for which I’m screening. It requires a specific type of master’s degree and experience as a management consultant, but people with no undergrad degree and two years of admin work have applied. Indeed.com is a great site but it finds our jobs and posts them, and then we start getting random applicants who can’t be bothered to read the posting carefully.
      I see Alison’s advice more like saying if you meet most of the requirements and almost meet a couple more, then go ahead and apply. I’m cool with that!

      1. Anonymous for the Moment

        I think there are a couple other factors that sometimes come into play –

        Unemployment payments may require you to prove you applied to a certain number of jobs every week. I dislike this intensely. Either
        1) you really want a job and are already applying for anything that seems reasonable,
        2) you really don’t want a job but are smart enough to continue to meet the requirements by applying to a sufficient number of positions for which you are not qualified and/or deliberately blowing the interviews, or
        3) you are actually stupid enough not be able to game the system.

        The waste generated in the first two categories outweighs the savings from the third.

        Another factor is the “support” of helpful relatives who
        1) really believe you can do jobs for which you are hopelessly unqualified (which is sweet in addition to being annoying),
        2) insist that you apply to certain jobs (or a certain number of them – kind of like family unemployment rules) either as a condition of continued support or just by repeating themselves so often that you give in to get some peace, or
        3) apply for jobs on your behalf without your permission (an AAM example I have thankfully not had to deal with myself).

        It is almost impossible to persuade them that job search rules have changed in the last few decades (what with these newfangled computers and all) or that your lack of medical training might disqualify you from a job as a trauma surgeon when you’ve always been really good in emergencies and could probably pick it up in no time flat.

        All of these can contribute to generating applications from the pool of unqualified candidates. Even if we solve for candidate optimism, these other forces will still be in play.

        1. Stephanie

          Yeah, I’ve had family members send me everything from Big Box Cashier jobs to Senior VP roles. My state UI office only required like two contacts a week or something, so I usually could find enough relevant things without resorting to applying to a bunch of off-base things.

          A couple of times, I’ve also had someone be like “Oh, you really should apply to this role at my organization. You’d be a shoo-in” and it’s something I’m wholly unqualified for (too senior, no direct experience, etc). I say this and they’re like “No, you should apply for this senior strategy role! Be positive!”

        2. Steve G

          +

          #4 – you’ve met people younger and/or less experienced that you who have the same job title as the ad does, or in a higher position, so assume the job isn’t as high level as the ad is trying to make it sound,
          #5 – you glassdoor the company and the pay is relatively low, so you assume that they’re willing to bend their own rules….
          #6 – you have a feeling the requirement is unnecessary…for example, asking for higher level computer skills/years of experience using said programs than you know is the norm for the level of position/pay (from what you can surmise it actually is on glassdoor).

        3. Anx

          Agreed.

          There’s also the issue that is very, very hard to find entry level positions with no experience requirements. If something is asking for 2 years experience, and you’ve done a volunteer/intern version of it for 1 or 2, and worked 2 years doing something relevant, and 1 year doing something with transferable skills, and you can’t find any postings that match your experience level more appropriately, and everyone’s telling you not to just languish in long-term un(der)employment, and you’re scared that never reaching above your current situation will lead not only to stagnation, but also backsliding, then there’s a lot of forces tempting you to apply for reach positions.

          And there is still (still!) a lot of denial among some well meaning family members that educated, productive people will end up having to work jobs that don’t pay a living wage or much room for advancement, if they can find them at all. I know I’ve felt a lot of pressure to find more and more jobs to apply for, lest I feel or look lazy and unmotivated.

          1. V.V.

            +1 So many in denial. I deal with it on an almost daily basis. Mostly Aunts and Uncles who are pissed at me, because my cousins are using me as an excuse not to go to college.

        4. V.V.

          We had hit a patch awhile back where it was necessary for my family to apply for food stamps. I’d thought that unemployment’s apply for 3 jobs a week rule was painfull, however the lady at my local DES office told me I had to have 3 INTERVIEWS a week or be disqualified.

          I told her I had applied for over 100 jobs over the previous year and a half (thanks to unemployment I could show her the records) and had a total of 5 interviews in that time, how in the world was I supposed come up with 3 interviews a week? I thought better of my temptation to be sarcastic when I saw she was quite earnest.

          “Rules are rules, as outlined in your handbook!” she said, telling me not to worry since, if necessary, the cumbersome appeals process was open to any applicant.

          As it would turn out, my husband made $30 over the maximum the next month due to unexpected overtime and we were disqualified at that point before my joblist could be scrutinized. I was told we could reapply if he made below the threshold the next month, but since we were always so close anyway I didn’t bother.

          1. Anx

            ““Rules are rules, as outlined in your handbook!” she said, telling me not to worry since, if necessary, the cumbersome appeals process was open to any applicant. ”

            I’ve mentioned it before here, but it seems to me that every program meant to help people find employment or cope with unemployment (social services) operates under the assumption that people can’t find jobs because they don’t know how to use a computer or backtalk too much and wear ripped jeans to job interviews or are uneducated. They are woefully unprepared for helping provide services or assistance to people these days.

            1. V.V.

              … Or they tell themselves that those must be the reasons (butt hanging out of ripped jeans, wiping your nose on your unwashed sleeve when interviewing for food handling positions, sheer laziness).

              Otherwise they might have to admit that bad stuff really can happen to good people, and that flies in the face of what most of us are taught and fosters the secret fear that they could be next.

              Work hard and you will get ahead! If you don’t it is because you must be deficient in some way for which society could not be responsible.

            2. Robert Columbia

              Yes, my experience has been that government employment centers are operating under the presumption that most people are there because they lack basic employability skills. Our local office bombards us with offers to help us learn to read, learn basic computer skills, understand how to write a resume, how to search for jobs on the internet, and how to dress for an interview. Uh. Someday, I want to walk in and say that I want to take the class that is equivalent to having 5-10 years of experience in what employers are asking for. If you can read, use computers, have a college degree, and know that shoes go on feet, they will shake their head and mention that they have GED prep sessions and and ask “oh, would you like to register for this class on how to search the internet for jobs?”. Obviously there is a problem here.

          2. Stevie Wonders

            If you could get that many interviews a week, would you still be unemployed? I’ve never had three interviews a week. (I did manage two a few times, long ago.) These government rules are at least 30 years behind the times. Your application to interview ratio looks pretty typical to me.

      2. NJ anon

        I have the opposite problem. Hiring for a bookkeeper and getting resumes from mba’s.

        1. De Minimis

          Yep, I had a master’s degree and a CPA and applied for a lot of bookkeeper jobs because that’s all that was out there.

      3. Anonymous Educator

        I get where you’re coming from with your specific example… at the same time, I’ve actually had a couple of great jobs (where I have also been able to do a great job) be jobs I was wholly unqualified for (and actually thought I wouldn’t get a call about, let alone follow-up interviews and a job offer).

    3. CAA

      Yes, this. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please don’t apply for work on a government contract when the posting clearly states that a security clearance is required and you must be a U.S. citizen to obtain one. This is not like a requirement for 5 years of experience and you have 4. If you can’t get a security clearance, I can’t hire you, no matter how good all the rest of your resume is!

      Seriously, I just looked at my current posting and I’ve marked 35% of the candidates as “not qualified” because they are not citizens.

  4. MM

    I agree with 5 for the most part, but only apply if you’re just a *little* unqualified. Too many times I’ve posted jobs called for Master’s degrees in a highly specific field and received an Office Admin diploma. Sifting through these wastes both of our time (the employer needing to weed out the very unqualified, and the applicant taking the time to create and submit the application.

    1. Kai

      Yeah, I think that’s an important distinction. If you don’t technically meet all the requirements because there’s one system they use that you’re not very familiar with, or you have one less year of experience than requested, that’s one thing. It’s another if you don’t have anywhere near the education needed to even do the job.

    2. Ethan

      That’s generally the advice I’ve heard. What’s a *little* unqualified, though? I recently applied for a marketing job that asked for a marketing degree, and I don’t have one. However, the job itself is right up my alley – only half of it is marketing and it’s what I do for my current company. The other half is something you’d have to train a marketing person on but I already have knowledge of (my current position is a catch-all in a small non-profit). If it just asked for a generic bachelors and said “you have to have experience doing x, y, and z” I think I’d be one of the more qualified candidates for the position. It’s killing me that I haven’t gotten a call back (yet) :)

  5. ThursdaysGeek

    I don’t know if this would be #2 or #5, but a friend was looking for work in our area, and a city job stated that one requirement was that they could be available in a half hour at any time, day or night. We discussed that requirement, since he lived about 35-40 minutes away, with good traffic, and that wouldn’t include the waking up and getting dressed if he were called at 2 am. It looked to me like they were limiting their applicants to the small subset of the local population who lived within about 15 minutes on that side of the city, and people who would lie and say they could do it.

    If you’re going use the word ‘requirement’, there are potentially very qualified people who will not apply. It looked to me like they already had someone they were planning on hiring, so maybe it really was a requirement for them.

  6. Master Lock

    With respect to references, I’ve seen you repeat this many times. But, why do you gloat or even think it’s OK 1) to encourage managers to go against policies that forbid references and 2) for managers to being doing this in the first place ? Just because you see it happen often doesn’t mean it’s the right thing only because it favors you. What if someone wrote to you saying they were fired or reprimanded for giving a reference that was against policy? Simply because many people are doing it, doesn’t make it right.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I’m not sure why it’s coming across as gloating; it’s not gloating. But I strongly believe that employers should give honest references, that candid references are a crucial part of hiring well, and that companies that attempt to prohibit it are doing a massive disservice to their employees when they move on. It would take an awful lot for me to hire someone who didn’t have references who were willing to talk about them.

    2. hildi

      I may not be understanding your concerns correctly, but I’d also argue that no one is twisting a manager’s arm to go against the policy. In this overly cautious culture, I think more managers are aware of the “we don’t give references policy” than not. So if a manager is “breaking” that policy at their company, I’d be surprised if they didn’t know about it. Thus, the responsibility for deciding to do that is on the manager, I think.

  7. Jessica

    Re#5 – what if it seems like the job is asking for WAY too much experience? I just saw a posting for an Accounts Receivable Specialist where I have done all the stuff they are seeking in my 2 years of accounting experience. They want someone with 6-8 years. I feel like the experience required and actual responsibilities don’t match. Still apply?

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      They might be looking for deeper experience than what you have — sometimes doing it for longer means that you’ve had experience with a wider variety of problem-solving, for example — but there’s no harm in applying. Unless it’s an application that would take hours or something like that.

      1. De Minimis

        I would see this a lot where I used to live, I think it was just a very tight job market and they knew they could get someone with a lot of experience for a lower level position. It was a big part of why I was unemployed for so long and why it was hard to “settle” for a lower level job.

  8. Azumi

    What happens when your office is related to HR- EAP, in this case, directly supervised by someone in HR- and your best reference is really, really against giving a reference due to policy?

  9. Stacy M

    Calling other managers bothers me. I don’t include 3 of my managers because they are all from the company I currently work for and therefore speak to each other. Word would get around that I am looking for a job….I think that’s terrible…

  10. Stevie Wonders

    Problem with number 5 is the increasing prevalence of purple squirrel/unicorn laundry list ads asking for ludicrous to impossible skill sets, a particular bane in tech. With ATSes enforcing this, managers are not seeing any resumes.

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