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A sure way never to get hired


(MoneyWatch) Dear Evil HR Lady,

I've applied for countless positions, for about a full year now, with one organization. In early spring, I received a call back from a recruiter who was very rude. She kept looking for reasons for why I would not have the time for the job or fit the position.

I made the rookie mistake of leaving her a couple of messages about the application. She then turned me down for the job. I was crushed. Since then I've been turned down for every job I've applied for. The recruiter turns down my application repeatedly. I met a man who offered to put in a good word and take my resume straight to a hiring manager, and even that didn't work.

I've basically made a powerful enemy, although I want nothing more than a job. What can I do to repair this problem? I know the job market is tough out there and that there are more qualified people. I'd like to work at this company, but I'm not holding my breath anymore. I'd assume at some point it would look bad on a company if they turned a qualified person down an obscene amount of times?

Do you know how many companies there are out there? Me neither. But it's more than this one company. Even if you live in podunk, USA, there is more than one place to get a job. And you need to apply there. It doesn't look bad for a company when they repeatedly turn down a qualified candidate. No one cares. As long as a qualified person gets the job, no one cares who didn't.

You may have offended a recruiter. She may be a complete jerk. She may be an irrational monster. She may have devoted her life to seeing that you never get a job at this company.

But the reality is that even if the recruiter loved you and thought you were the world's best candidate at the beginning, once you start applying for every open position at a company, you get a notation next to your name. Want to know what it is? Crazy: Do not hire.

It's not written down anywhere, of course, because recruiters aren't stupid and they don't want anybody to claim that they are discriminating against anyone. But when you start to apply multiple times for multiple positions in rapid succession, your credentials no longer matter. What people start to think is that you're desperate and lack judgment.

Now, this doesn't mean that you can't ever apply for multiple jobs at a single company. If you apply to two or three jobs that you are qualified for, fine. That's even recommended. When you start to apply to everything that opens up, even when you are only tangentially qualified, when a job that you are qualified for does open up you won't be considered because of the invisible crazy stamp on your name.

It's time to move on.

When you are job-searching, I know that sometimes what you want is any job. You just need a paycheck. The problem is companies don't want to hire just anyone. They want a person who wants this job. The other problem is you cannot convince anyone that you want this job when you've just applied to every job.

Forget this company. Re-tune your job search. Look for a job that you want. Customize your resume to the job you want. Write a cover letter that explains who you are and why you would be great for this job, and then apply.

This company is not the place for you. Move on.

Have a workplace dilemma? Send your questions to

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