5 Reasons Your Resume is Ignored

NOTE:  This letter was condensed.


 I very much appreciate you posting your convictions and concerns about recruiting practices and abuses that, based on personal experience and anecdotal evidence, appear to be rampant.

 My concern is that large-scale adoption of HRIS platforms tied to on-line recruiting front-end interfaces that store and share candidate information allows similar abuses to become institutionalized and automated.

 I was personally recruited by an individual who had a position available where my knowledge, skills, and experience closely matched the extensive requirements set forth in the job description. After the recruiter reviewed my resume and forwarded it to the VP responsible for filling the position.

  I was asked to enter my resume through the company’s recruiting web site. Almost immediately, I received an automated reply that the position had already been filled. My application went no further.

 I suspect that the automated system used to collect and screen applicant information, which is used by numerous large companies, contained information that flagged my application for rejection. Unfortunately, there is no way that I can discover if such a notation has been attached to my employment history. 

 It is not the first time that this has happened to me, others in my professional network have reported similar experiences, and articles that have been shared on LinkedIn lead to the conclusion that employment histories are being reviewed and shared in the same way that credit histories are tracked and shared. 

 It is conceivable that a candidate might find that they are pre-rejected based on abuses such as you have discussed, inaccuracies that occur during background checks, or malicious reports from previous employers.


First, thank you. So much to discuss in this letter.

Your concerns focus on the automated systems that have been developed to screen applicant information. I agree with you wholeheartedly, there is tremendous abuse with these systems. It is getting worse, not better.

When applying on line, most companies require you to agree to submit to a background investigation. Of course, you check the box and agree. If you don’t, you can’t apply. 

Credit History

Yes, when you apply for a position, your credit history may be investigated. Surprised? With your on line application, you agreed to it.

Employment History

They are free to contact anyone, including your current employer. Surprised? I have seen good people fired because of this, and the kicker? The employer who did the investigation didn’t hire the candidate.  Out of a job, no recourse. By applying on line, you agreed to it.  

Of course, criminal history, licenses, and certifications, all of that can be investigated. Are there inaccuracies with this information? There may be. But, you have no recourse, by applying on line, you agreed to be investigated. 

The important thing to realize is that this can all be accomplished before you interview. It is legal, you agreed to it when you applied on line.

Recruiting Database Evil Explained

When the recruiter submitted you to the VP, the VP wanted to take you through the interview process. You were asked to apply on line. When you did, you were rejected. 

Several things could have happened here:

1.      The company may have already had your resume in their database. So, instead of working with the recruiter, and paying a fee to hire you, you are rejected. No other reason but for the fact that your information was already in the database. They own you, so they won’t pay a recruiter for you. They will pay a fee for anyone else but not you. Instead of getting into a legal issue with the recruiter, you are dropped.

Of course, this is such a lame move that nobody explained it to you, because nobody wants to put a name to this kind of ignorance. Even if they are paying fees to fill the position, you will be rejected. I could write a book about how short sighted and expensive this is for the employer. Whoever came up with this doesn’t know recruiting. When I try to explain this to HR execs, eyes glaze over, they can’t adjust their thinking. 

2.      You may have been automatically rejected because the corporate recruiter decided that there were enough people to interview, didn’t want you in the mix. No matter what the VP wants, its over. Again, short sighted, lazy thinking.

3.      You may have been automatically rejected because the AI decided you had too much experience, and therefore were over qualified.  Don’t you just love AI? 

4.      You may have been automatically rejected because the corporate recruiter was punishing the third-party recruiter for taking you directly to the VP. There is a lot of ego in recruiting. If a third-party recruiter breaks the rules, you’re OUT! The corporate recruiter is the decider. Who came up with that?  The VP should have more power, but she is subject to the decider in HR! Lovely. I have actually had an internal recruiter tell me that she trashed the resume because I had the nerve to talk to the VP first. VP was squashed. Since when do the executives report to HR?

5.      You may have been rejected because of salary considerations. This is a sticky wicket. Several states have passed legislation that prohibits asking for salary history. But, they can ask you what you want to make. That’s legal. But, it’s a trick question. How can you answer if you don’t know what the employer wants to pay? Wrong answer, you are OUT!

Now the hard part for me to swallow:

Why didn’t your recruiter question this? Was the VP notified? My guess is that the recruiter just took the whole thing on the chin and moved on. He won’t lose a client over you, I promise. 

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