Don't Argue With the Hiring Manager!

Even in this current economy where companies are hiring as fast as they can (and that can change quickly), being unethical AND obnoxious in a job search is lethal for your search AND for your career. Being snarky, snide, or obnoxious does not pay.


Sure, companies do dumb things at times, because they are run by humans, who tend not to be perfect. But calling them out on it won’t change them, and will not help you there.


To illustrate, here’s a story, from the summer of 2019. This originates from a hiring manager (the HM, as I’ll refer to him here) who posted to a job search group email list as a cautionary tale. He gave me permission to post this here as long as I made some changes in industry, so he nor the candidate could be identified, which I have done.


The HM and candidate had the email exchange below. The HM received this reply to a question he had about an applicant's experience. IMPORTANT: The applicant had stated on their application they had 2 years of experience in each of the required areas of expertise.


Their email exchange, begun by the hiring manager:


Subject: Clarification on experience


Hi [candidate],

Reviewing your resume, I don't see any evidence of [technology #1] or [technology #2]. Can you enlighten me where you gained that experience?


To [Hiring Manager]

Subject: Re: Clarification on experience

Well unfortunately, I have no industry experience with these methods so I can't enlighten you on my experience; but I can certainly fabricate it if it makes you feel any better. Experience, really? All you need to know is the technical jargon that is the scientific language, and the general aptitude to learn a new skill. Well that's how I feel about it anyway. Good look [sic] finding your perfect candidate.


That candidate was immediately dropped, as you might expect. Who wants to hire someone without the necessary time spent using very specific skills, especially if they out and out LIE and say they are willing to continue lying?! Would you want this person on your team, with, for example, tight deadlines and high levels of regulatory compliance necessary?


Of course not. Unethical, argumentative people are not considered serious candidates. And if your industry is a small one, word will get around about avoiding you. On the contrary, if you do a good search and are hired, once you’re inside, you can make the case for how job requirements should be adjusted.


So EVEN IF you think what the employer is asking for is not valid for the job, EVEN IF you think what they say they want for the position is not really needed, EVEN IF it’s accepted industry-wide that “knowing technical jargon” is all you need, you DO NOT insult the hiring manager or their company. You behave as an adult, answering application questions truthfully and professionally.

Or you don’t apply there at all.


Leave a Comment
WOW! Hearing too much about lies on resumes and on LinkedIn of late. Integrity is a critical component on both the hiring and the candidate side. And arguing? Just a tad not-very-smart if someone really wants the (any) job.KimAileen WhiteSep 9th, 2019 3:14 pm

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