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The 5 Perfectly Good Job Applicants You Won’t Consider

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Maren Hogan
on June 11, 2014

As recruiters get increasingly better with their reach, they are getting more rigid with their screening and vetting processes. That sounds great in theory, but that would assume that those processes are screening for the right things.

I’d like to talk about the potentially stellar candidates that will often get booted out of the process early on for factors that don’t always indicate a poor match.

Are these five candidates really so bad?

The Online Degree

While online degrees have gained credibility very recently, they still don’t hold as much weight with employers as those from traditional brick and mortar colleges. TIME did some research on the matter and asked HR execs at several F500 companies if an online program would be viewed as a credible credential in a prospective candidate and found some worries.

“One executive was concerned about how students were graded and assessed, while another worried about the reputation of online universities and believed that online classes were generally not as challenging as traditional college courses. These are the challenges that MOOCs, for-profits and corporate-academic partnerships still need to surmount.”

As online programs become the norm in higher education, employers are going to have to find better ways of assessing a good education. Things like brand awareness and reputation of the institution are likely to be the factors that matter more.

The Gap in Employment

Bullhorn study found that a candidate with a criminal record, who is currently holding down a job, would have an easier time impressing a hiring manager than a candidate who has been out of work for two or more years.

The longer the employment gap, the harder it is to find a job. I get the reasoning (for the most part), but are recruiters taking this a little far? SmartRecruiter’s social media intern, Laura Hong said:

“Is an employment gap really a clear and justified indicator of qualification? I like to believe the answer is “No,” because every candidate has a viable reason. You need only ask, or your company risks screening out those with amazing talent.”

The Job Hopper

A 2013 Gallup pole revealed that worldwide, a mere 13% of employees are engaged at work. It’s no wonder we’re seeing far more job hoppers now than in the “good ol’ days” of long tenured employees. When talent is not satisfied, recognized or compensated fairly, they’ll leave; especially if they are quality talent who knows their worth. 

HR expert and frequent contributor, Kazim Ladimeji contends that job hoppers actually posses some unique traits that make them valuable in business:

  • Adaptability
  • Ambition
  • Ability to take risks.

The Wild Social Media Profile

Recruiters should probably stop taking social stalking so far. A wild or unprofessional Twitter or Facebook does not indicate the type of worker a person is, what hard skills they possess or assess their cultural fit. If they’re toking it up in their LinkedIn profile picture, that’s probably where they can draw a line. infographic indicates that one out of three employers have rejected candidates based on something they found on social profiles. That seems like a lot of rejection based off of information that has nothing to do with the candidates’ professional lives. 

The Bad Interview

Recruiters have to stop rewarding good interviewing skills, for the simple reason that they aren’t hiring based off of interviewing skills! If a great resume, their knowledge of the company history and the ability to carry on small talk are the three main performance objectives for the position, then by all means the great interviewer is perfect. 

I realize that recruiters have to fly through the stack of resumes in the most efficient and effective way possible in order to reach deadlines and keep productivity going. That can mean that some pretty great talent is winding up in the “send rejection letter” pile when they really shouldn’t be there. When recruiters focus on what really matters, which is finding that cozy spot between skill and cultural fit, that’s where great matches are made.


Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Hogan speaks and writes on all career and workforce related subjects. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and SMBs around the globe. Red Branch Media was formed in 2006 as a simple consultancy. Today, the firm is a full-service B2B Marketing Agency that serves clients in the U.K., Africa, China, Israel, Europe and North America. Primarily focused on the Human Resources and Global Workforce vendors, Red Branch Media handles clients of all shapes and sizes.

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