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Hiring can be tough. At times, it is similar to online dating. The hiring manager is often flooded with applicants. There are more potential employees (and in the case of dating, more singles) than anyone could ever truly sort through. So, what’s a hiring manager to do?

Unfortunately, most hiring managers use an elimination method. They try to look at what may be “wrong” with the candidates. Very often, there may not truly be anything wrong with the candidates. Often, they may be different than other candidates in some way. For example, a job may not require a master’s degree. But, if you are the only candidate who doesn’t have one, you may be eliminated from the consideration set.

Similarly, a company may be looking for someone with similar experience to their existing employees, or to the previous employee in the role. If you don’t have experience from the same industry, you may be eliminated from consideration.

Companies also look for employees who have similar work situations today. For example, a company may be hesitant to hire someone who is currently self-employed. Or a small company may be hesitant to hire someone from a large company, and vice versa. Similar rules apply when it comes to things like visa sponsorships, or any other notable difference. Any sort of difference can create a hurdle to get over.

Unfortunately, the same is true for perceived differences. Recruiters and hiring managers often read through twenty or more resumes in one sitting. They make quick judgements in order to efficiently work through the line of candidates. This can at times results in incorrect assumptions about your background. These incorrect assumptions can remove you from consideration.

There a few takeaways from this. First, if a recruiter shares why you weren’t selected, maintain a sense of perspective. First, they are likely sharing a quick judgement. Second, they are comparing you to a specific group of candidates. If you were the one candidate without a specific qualification this time, you may find this qualification is not even considered at the next job you apply to. Candidate pools are ever changing, and recruiter feedback is worth what you pay for it.

As a job seeker, you can help to combat these incorrect judgements by providing a cover letter with your application – and by customizing your resume. Use your cover letter to tell your story. Explain why you believe you stand out from the other candidates. Then, mirror the language and qualifications from the job description in your resume. This won’t solve every problem, but it can help in your search.

The job search process can be long and painful. Try to keep pushing forward. Just like dating, it only takes one great hiring manager for things to fall into place. Realize that you are not alone. Every candidate except for one received a reason that they are not a good fit, or are not qualified.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


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