Two Year Search with Four Interviews. Why?
By Admin

November 23, 2010

“TWO YEARS!   I’ve been looking for two years and I only got four interviews.”

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That’s what he said with a sense of deep frustration mixed with despair but you could tell it was absolutely true. We had lightened up at the end of our interview this week and just began chatting.

“I’ve had four jobs my whole life! I can’t even get an interview!”

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I really liked him.  You could tell he probably was one of those supervisors workers would really enjoy working around.  He had a kind face. He was comfortable in his shoes. He had a sense of confidence about him that wasn’t pompous but carried off a sense of a job well done which accumulated from his life experiences. From the way he dressed you could tell he took pride in himself and invariably – his work.  What he did, he did to the best of his ability, more than likely.

So what was he doing wrong to have only had four interviews in two years claiming all the while actively seeking employment? I thought.

I lifted up his three page resume, laid it down in front of me page by page, leaned forward and said,

“Let me tell you how it is…..

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Employers, more specifically their human resource people, don’t read resumes anymore. They “glance” over them. They haven’t the time. Plus because they receive so many of them it’s just not possible to read them all. Instead they skim.

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What they look for is what they need at the moment. They don’t want to see the possibilities in people. They don’t want to see how much you can grow with them. They don’t care what additional skills and talents you may bring to the table. They just want to know what you can do for them, right now! reflection words words essays Essay essays
If an employer is looking for a skilled CNC/set-up person with manual lathe experience…those are the buzz words they’re going to be scanning when viewing a resume.  If they don’t see those words, they move on very quickly to the next resume.

So putting your life history down on paper showing every type of responsibility and skill you’ve acquired may seem like a great idea but in all reality, it’s shutting the door before you get a chance to say hello. To them it’s clutter fluff.

Resumes need to be catered to each job opportunity these days. There is no such thing as one resume fits all. That’s why you haven’t gotten interviews. This resume has far too much information for them.

I know you’ve managed a large manufacturing plant. I know you’ve balanced labor within revenue. You were a trainer. You were a hiring manager. You did scheduling and inspection. You developed and maintained quality control procedures for anodizing, phosphate, dry film lubricant and painting. You know federal regulations. You’ve written and established operating procedures including safety.

But the only words they really need to see are “plant supervisor”. The rest is fluff.

Instead of this chronological resume you might want to consider a functional resume where you have more flexibility to highlight the particular skills that the job is seeking.

It’s a better resume to customize according to the individualized job. This way, based on your experiences you can use “their” buzz words, what they are looking for that makes you a perfect match. This way you will be noticed.

And do try to keep it down to one page. Never ever would they go beyond the first page.

You’ve got a lot of wonderful skills, let’s just fix this resume and see what happens.”

It’s a whole different hiring world out there today than it was even four years ago. We should write a book about the differences in hiring from then to now. It would help a lot of people – especially one as talented as this candidate. A whole different world indeed!

We’re looking at a long weekend coming up. Now is the time to rethink that resume. How much clutter fluff do you have in it? Is it speaking directly to the job sites needs?

Send it to me and tell me what job you’re going after if you want a second set of eyes.


  1. Susie Sharp

    Barb, this is a great piece. I really enjoy how Champion takes the time and effort to help individual job seekers. Many other employment firms couldn’t be bothered. You associate a name with a face and then look inside. Thank you for all that you and the other Champion folk do. You actually humanize an experience which can be brutally inhumane.

    I hear that on the average, a resume may receive 18 seconds of scanning before going to the circular file. If that’s all it gets, I’d advise folks to do their resume in at least 12 pt. text and make sure it has plenty of white space. I liked your term “clutter fluff”.

    Thanks kindly – I look forward to your pieces.



    • Thank you Susie. Champion does have a people first mentality. Everything we do is customized and personalized. There is no difference between the way we treat our candidates and the way we treat our clients. Thank you for your post!

  2. Thanks Susie. Helping others is truly the only reason we have 3 career-related websites and over 300 articles of advice to share with job seekers and employers. Articles are added every week. As a matter of fact, it is true that Champion puts out more advice to the NE Ohio employment market than all other services combined. “Altruism” is the “A” in Robert A. Schepens. “If you can’t be Kelly Services (Huge), then do the right thing for people” I always say. Sarcasm intended. Enjoy your Turkey day. Hopefully you read my FB link to Pow and the real history of Thanksgiving. Hell, no sarcasm intended there, just good ol’ fun. Gobble Gobble.

  3. I only disagree with one statement, that the job market has changed in the last 4 years. I remember seeing a short film in the late eighties detailing the head of human resources for one of the Fortune 500 companies, who would receive nearly 200 resumes per day for various openings. It was absolutely impossible for her and her small team to wade through over 70,000 resumes so they developed an easy regime:

    1. If the resume was over 1 page, it got thrown out.
    2. If the resume was typed on plain white paper, it got thrown out.
    3. If the resume did not match the envelope it came in, it got thrown out.
    4. If the resume had a strange or hard-to-read font, it got thrown out.

    There were some additional filters, but for the most part they immediately weeded out a huge percentage of candidates without even knowing whether or not the candidates were qualified. Certainly they were disposing of qualified candidates, but evidently those particular applicants weren’t taking the steps or care to make their resumes stand out enough to avoid the cull.

    I don’t think much has really changed, other than many of the resumes are now in electronic form.

  4. And sometimes Bud those electronic forms are received in such poor format it was a waste to even send it. But the name on the electronic resume will be remembered for sure! I find it best to attach the resume to an email than completing anything online. You have better control of how it looks when received. I wish I could say I wouldn’t know about the 80′s and what it was like then…but that would be a lie. Thank you for your post. Barbara

  5. Bud: WOW. Sure a “Fortune 500″ company could set all the silly rules they/she want. The HR person really really screened for qualifications back then, just like they do now. White paper? OUT! 1.5 pages!!! OUT!!! Bad envelope? OUT!!!! ah…the font being strange, I agree with that. That’s simply a personal choice. Can’t stand fonts that begin with the letter “G”.

    I am sure the HR person was a true professional in all else she did, like discard Medical Insurance plans due to there being too much blue on the brochure. Or less than 42% white space.

    BTW, on some Mondays I get 700+ resumes. I only discard the ones from out of town and the ones that show fast food as their #1 career choice for more than 3 years. If we ever get to be a Fortune 500 company we’ll start discarding at 2 years fast food experience.


  6. Pamela Glowski

    Champion has a SOLUTION for everything…even for companies who want to do their own hiring! With the overwhelming amount of resumes HR Professionals are receiving…it’s no wonder they cave to silly rules and miss great candidates…the aspirin to the headache? Champion’s Managed Response! There is an article at that tells all about it…