Why Do They Do That? or Recruiters–Again

Dear EvilHRLady,

I burned-out a couple of years ago in my first attempt at a management job and have struggled at work trying to do the best I could. I finally decided that I had to have a change and quit my job about a month ago.

I’ve been trying hard searching for a new job and I’ve got some calls but then things go badly. I’ve received two calls now saying that they want me in for an interview and that they will e-mail me the details but then I get no e-mail information and when I call to confirm the interview the time is changed (again and again until I finally give up).

I don’t understand what is going on and if they don’t want to interview me, why call in the first place? I don’t think my former work place would sabotage me but I’m starting to feel that way. I haven’t lied on my resume (although I leave off the six months as a manager since I really don’t want a management position anyhow).

Am I doing something wrong? Why would HR do this? The second time it happened the job offer came through a trusted friend and the HR person was very nice.

Thank you.

Regular readers know that I’m not fond of recruiters. Because of that I’m dying to blame this all on the recruiters. (Note, I am not using the term HR because HR does so much more than recruit. For instance, we also fire people and make bad vacation policies.)

But first, we must deal with our question writer.

Your first mistake was quitting without having another job lined up. It is always easier to find a job when you have a job.

Second, put your management job back on your resume. Otherwise, you have 7 months of unemployment to explain away. And if the question comes up, “what have you been doing for the past 7 months” you either have to lie (you’ll get caught) or confess that you purposely left off a job. This makes us HR types very curious and more likely to probe into that job.

A better idea? Be upfront. “I had a management position at Company X and it turns out that I’m a fabulous individual contributor, but only a mediocre manager. My strengths lie in doing the work, rather than managing others. Let me tell you about some of the things I can do for your company.”

Companies really are starting to realize that a non-management track is a fabulous idea, so you may find things look up for you when you start admitting that is what you want–to be an individual contributor.

And now to blame the recruiters. They are desperate to fill the position, so yes, they notice that you fit the qualifications and so they call you to schedule without consulting the hiring manager. Or, they didn’t notice the 7 month gap on your resume. After they called you, they realized they didn’t want to interview you. Rather than having the guts to say so, they just lead you on until you stop calling back.

Or, your prior company is sabotaging you–which is unlikely, since you don’t have it on your resume.

Or, you’ve just been hit by bad luck. Positions frequently get put on hold after candidates have been contacted. It may open up again so they don’t want to tell you no only to have the position open again.

See, it’s not all the fault of the recruiter. There are a ton of players in the hiring game and anyone of them can mess it up for you.

Go and re-write your resume and then hop on over to Ask a Manager and read about cover letters. Write a fabulous one for each job you are applying to. If you don’t know how to write one, harrass our friendly manager and maybe (please!) he’ll give us a sample one.

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