IET
Decrease font size
Increase font size
Topic Title: Interviewed but rejected due to lack of experience
Topic Summary:
Created On: 02 December 2011 04:46 PM
Status: Read Only
Linear : Threading : Single : Branch
Search Topic Search Topic
Topic Tools Topic Tools
View similar topics View similar topics
View topic in raw text format. Print this topic.
 02 December 2011 04:46 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



eswnl

Posts: 144
Joined: 29 November 2008

I've noticed that companies invite you for interviews but reject you because you don't have the experience. Even if your interview performance is good.

I find this odd because if they have your CV, they can see your experience and if you don't have the experience they should not be interviewing you (and wasting your time or producing false hope).

The only reason I can think of is I'm being used as a backup candidate, in-case they don't find the experienced person they were expecting. Then they would have to downgrade the job slightly and introduce (shock, horror) a bit of training.
 04 December 2011 11:05 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



jencam

Posts: 608
Joined: 06 May 2007

As a general rule only about 5 candidates are interviewed regardless of whether 10 or 1,000 apply for the job. The fact that you made it into the top 5 probably means that on paper you are good enough for the job. Rejecting people on lack of experience is commonplace and always has been. It may have been possible that you were a backup candidate and another one had a 99% chance of being offered the job prior to the interview. This situation does indeed happen quite regularly but you probably will never find out.

My advice is to find out which areas you are weak in. A possibly substitute for work experience could be working on an open source project then documenting it.
 05 December 2011 10:02 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Couldn't agree more. All else being equal the more experienced candidate is going to get the job, partly due to saving costs of training but mainly due to lower risk: if someone's doing the job already you know they are competent to do it! But out of 5-6 interviewed candidates there may well only be 1 or 2 who have all the experience; and they may not have the right personality, may only be applying to scare their present employers, may ask for too much money or may get offered a job elsewhere. If employers only interviewed candidates with "perfect" CVs they'd hardly interview anyone!

Job seeking in engineering at the moment is incredibly tough, but there are opportunities around, you've just got to keep plugging away at it.

One lesson which I've learnt the hard way: if you have any suspician that you are being invited to interview to "make up the numbers" there is no harm in asking for an informal telephone conversation first - it's quite reasonable to say that you're very interested in the position and you'd like to find out more about it first. That way you may be able to judge whether the job really is the right fit for you. (Obviously don't say you want to find out if it's worth you spending the time and money coming to interview, even though that's what you really mean!!) This can be particularly valuable if recruitment agencies are involved: they have been known to polish the truth when they tell the company about you, along the lines of "his CV says x but actually he's done y".

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 05 December 2011 12:29 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



UncleFester

Posts: 67
Joined: 04 April 2006

In your formal rejection letter(s), have the prospective clients given you specific reasons for you not being successful?

Have you tried mailing a letter asking for feedback? From experience this has often been met with constructive reasons for their decisions and this may tailor your next interviews to build on any weaknesses that may have let you down.
 05 December 2011 02:07 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

On paper you may have been equal to the other candidates but it's the on-site interview which then reveals that one candidate has more experience in relevant areas. Our CV's do not tend to cover all our experience else they would likely not be read and so we generally stick to the main points which are then explored in more detail at the interview. Also it can be the confidence with which things are explained. I have picked up two jobs where after starting I was informed that I came across as being more confident in the relevant areas I was explaining and yet I know the employer did not inform the rejected candidates of this and simply used the same reason you were given. Keep attending the interviews and sooner or later you will tick all the relevant boxes of an employer and it will then be the other candidates getting the 'sorry you did not have enough experience'. See each interview as giving more experience on interviewing and stay positive.

Regards.
 07 December 2011 12:12 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



eswnl

Posts: 144
Joined: 29 November 2008

Its interesting that you must have exactly the right experience to get the job. It also means that you are not learning anything new by doing exactly the same job as you were doing before. How are you supposed to expand on your skill set?

I guess once you're in the company though, you could move sideways and learn something new. But only in larger companies.

My last job (Electrical - designing wiring looms), I managed to get due to the other candidates not having sufficient experience. This is perhaps hinting towards a possible skills shortage in this area, and not electronics.
 07 December 2011 09:36 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Originally posted by: eswnl
How are you supposed to expand on your skill set?

Immediately expanding your fundamental skill set by changing jobs is almost impossible. Generally people develop new skills through their current employement; the problem is - as you suggest - that you can get into a position where this is not practical. (Incidentally the size of the employer is not totally relevant here, a very small but growing company can give some of the best opportunities for development, as everyone has to help with everything!)

So a common reason for changing jobs is to move to an employer where there are more opportunities for developing your skills. I've changed employers three times in my career, each time was, strictly speaking, a demotion but each one allowed me to progress in a different direction because the new employer had different opportunities - one step backwards and three steps forwards if you like. But each job change did make use of my core skills at the time, so employiong me was very low risk.

Just remember that employers are recruiting you to do a job, not to give you a training opportunity! But there is no harm asking in interviews about what development opportunities there are, a good employer will be pleased that you want to progress (in the fulness of time).

That said, I'm currently job seeking myself, and am definitely looking for a position beyond my present role, but because I've taken on responsibilities considerably beyond my actual role I have a portfolio of evidence that I can move to a new position - because I've already effectively done it! That's the other way, but it's not easy to build up that evidence and make it solid.

Trying to change career is extrememly difficult, whether in engineering or anything else. It involves a lot of hard work and a fair amount of luck. My experience is that all you can do is keep pluggiung away at it, take advice from everyone you can, and keep your ears and eyes open. Good luck!

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 08 January 2012 01:04 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



danielrainbow

Posts: 8
Joined: 13 November 2003

Sadly you'll never find out.

I once applied for a job in a university doing IT support (after having worked a couple of years in a different university).

I was turned down with a sited lack of experience.

No worries I got a job else where. Imagine my surprise when a much less experienced co-worker (who started after me) revealed to me that he'd applied for the same job, and been offered it (though at a reduced salary because he was not experienced)

no recruitment agencies involved we both applied directly to the same people, his would have been either his first or second IT job, I'd had >5 years experience in the type of job, including 2 years in a similar role...

fact is sometimes, (for whatever reason) you might not fit the job. either your character isn't right, you don't look the part the interviewer doesn't like you on sight. or in my case, your CV is rejected with no other contact, whilst less experienced people are invited to interview, and offered a job...

I.e perhaps the requirements of the job aren't properly described to people making the advert, or the job advert is just a lie to get people applying...

it's extraordinarily unlikely that people will apply for a different job doing exactly what they are doing or have been doing for years, (the only reason I was is because I split up with girlfriend and wanted to move to a new place) so lack of experience is a fit all excuse that can be used with impunity.

Don't fret it. keep applying and you'll find something
 06 September 2012 05:20 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



promsan

Posts: 10
Joined: 25 July 2008

If there is a dictionary of Business Speak (or BS for short), then "Lack of experience" essentially translates as "Too risky" (in every or any sense).

It's an interviewer's way of lying to you to get rid of you without having to think too hard. Even if you ask for feedback, you may get this line. You may even get it for a "trainee role".

The whole interview process can seem like a game of chess, where your real qualifications and experience are not usually that relevant, and what they're really looking at is how convincing you are, because let's face it, until they've worked with you for a while, you are still a risk, no matter what it says on your CV. Frankly most engineering jobs are not that hard for someone with an engineering education to learn after a few weeks. The other issue is whether they think you are using the job as a stepping stone to something else to nab some free training at their expense.

You've got to remember that whatever HR people and engineering managers say or write, what they seem to want is the world on a stick... a 35-year-old with the quals and experience of a 55-year-old, and they want it for the salary of a 15-year-old.

...
[/snip ...getting off my soapbox!]

Edited: 06 September 2012 at 05:29 PM by promsan
 06 September 2012 05:41 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Originally posted by: promsan
If there is a dictionary of Business Speak (or BS for short), then "Lack of experience" essentially translates as "Too risky" (in every or any sense).

..or lazy, or arrogant, or uncaring, or has no real interest in the role, or just downright lied on their CV - I've seen the lot!

It's an interviewer's way of lying to you to get rid of you without having to think too hard. Even if you ask for feedback, you may get this line. You may even get it for a "trainee role".

Lying, or letting down politely?

The whole interview process can seem like a game of chess, where your real qualifications and experience are not usually that relevant, and what they're really looking at is how convincing you are, because let's face it, until they've worked with you for a while, you are still a risk, no matter what it says on your CV.

The last half-sentence is totally true. This first half less so: what you're looking for is a whole package, not just quals and experience but also interest, someone you could work with, and someone genuinely interested in the job

Frankly most engineering jobs are not that hard for someone with an engineering education to learn after a few weeks.

I don't know where to start with that extraordinary sentence. Show me an RF FPGA design engineer who can become a safety engineer in "a few weeks", or vice versa, and I'll employ him tomorrow!!!! After 30 years I'm still learning every day. I think you need to find a more challenging job

The other issue is whether they think you are using the job as a stepping stone to something else to nab some free training at their expense.

Absolutely. Fortunately an experienced interviewer can spot those a mile off.

You've got to remember that whatever HR people and engineering managers say or write, what they seem to want is the world on a stick... a 35-year-old with the quals and experience of a 55-year-old, and they want it for the salary of a 15-year-old.

Yes please. And they must be unattached so happy to work Christmas day and travel the world at a moment's notice. And be a master baker in their spare time so they can deliver hand made cakes to their manager once a week (or is that just what I want from my staff?)

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 06 September 2012 05:59 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



promsan

Posts: 10
Joined: 25 July 2008

I'd agree that the reason they use this lie is because they suspect that the candidate might be being dishonest about some aspect... probably not CV these days, but motive or motivation.

I'd also agree that it's used as a foil for when there's a personality clash.
I also think you can encounter some interviewers use this line if they despise people who are in some way more qualified than them in some aspect (not the same as being arrogant, just a factual thing, like having a degree instead of a HN-something, A panel where you could see that one loved the candidate and the other just hated them - but not for objective reasons.
I think the soft skills side - personality match (or "charm" if you like), belief in the motivation.

I certainly don't see how this line can be considered polite; if anything, it's cowardly. Just saying "we chose a better candidate" would be better than wheeling out this line.

"I don't know where to start with that extraordinary sentence. Show me an RF FPGA design engineer who can become a safety engineer in "a few weeks", or vice versa, and I'll employ him tomorrow!!!! After 30 years I'm still learning every day. I think you need to find a more challenging job"
You've misconstrued that whole sentence... of course you learn every day, and that's why we become engineers... but every engineering "trade" is learnable fairly quickly - becoming fabulous at it is another matter.
 07 September 2012 11:04 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Originally posted by: promsan
I certainly don't see how this line can be considered polite; if anything, it's cowardly. Just saying "we chose a better candidate" would be better than wheeling out this line.

Not sure...I do see where you're coming from here, the problem with the "we chose a better candidate" line is that it instantly begs the question "better in what way?" Actually the best response is the blank "your application was unsuccessful on this occasion". What we typically do is:
Where a candidate is rejected as they genuinly have too little - or wrong - experience then we often tell them, sometimes quite specifically, as these are the candidates we may consider for other positions (it is quite common for me to interview a candidate for one position and decide they can't do that but could do another that we might not have even advertised yet).
Where a candidate has (for example) lied on their CV, doesn't seem genuinly interested, or just comes over as a pain in the backside, then it's likely to be "your application was unsuccessful on this occasion".

"I don't know where to start with that extraordinary sentence. Show me an RF FPGA design engineer who can become a safety engineer in "a few weeks", or vice versa, and I'll employ him tomorrow!!!! After 30 years I'm still learning every day. I think you need to find a more challenging job"

You've misconstrued that whole sentence... of course you learn every day, and that's why we become engineers... but every engineering "trade" is learnable fairly quickly - becoming fabulous at it is another matter.

We may be talking about different types of "engineering" here! An engineering role will typically take 2-3 years to "learn", if it takes a few weeks to learn it ain't an engineer role I think there may be confusion here about a "trade" and a "profession", the IETs view is that engineering is a professional role. Plenty of debate about that elsewhere on this site! (I am not going to even mention the difference between an engineer and a technician...whoops I did.)

The genaral point here is that candidates often grossly overestimate the time that recruiters have available to deal with candidates. We're all trying to do our "day jobs" as well, and we need to concentrate on finding the right person and getting them in. With the best will the world, companies are not there to provide moral support to unsuccesful candidates. HOWEVER, I would say to anyone rejected from an interview that it is always worth asking for feedback: you may well not get it as the company just doesn't have time (and also they don't want to get into legal arguments), but sometimes they will. You tend to get feedback when the recruiter thinks you're a good candidate but not right for that role / company, you can guarantee not to get feedback if you go in with a belligerent "why didn't you employ me?" question - no-one wants to employ Mr Angry! I had a wonderful example a few years ago of a candidate who was (although he didn't know it) second placed after the candidate we employed. The rejected candidate wrote what we considered to be an extremely aggressive later telling us that we had made a mistake and that we should reconsider him (remember he did not know who the other candidates were). As it happens, the first candidate didn't work out. Now, if the second placed candiadate had written a professional letter thanking us for considering him and hoping that further opportunites may arise then he would have been reinterviewed. As it was everyone agreed that this was not someone we wanted in our organisation.

With about 200 applications for every job, 199 people are going to be disappointed every time, and 5 out of the 6 on a typical interview shortlist are going to be very disappointed. All you can do is show good grace, and if you liked what you saw of the company let them know that you accept their decision but you'd welcome a chance to have a go for anything else. Rudyard Kipling's "If..." is really helpful to read when job hunting.

Cheers,

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert

Edited: 07 September 2012 at 12:03 PM by amillar
 20 March 2013 04:49 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



belngo

Posts: 3
Joined: 11 May 2012

Don't forget we still are in a tough recession, with dynamics and a demand for efficiency and disingagement from any sort of risky critical appraisal that recruiters have never seen before in their life.

On the other hand, It is very sad - I am sorry to say - that while the distinction between 'professionals' and 'paraprofessionals' or 'technicians' still makes sense with respect to many fields of declarative knowledge, at the beginning of one's career, and not just in engineering, it is absolute non-sense for experienced people, over 45.
These are often rejected (and not even called for interviews) because even if they may have the pertinent experience required for a position they miss the.... juicy titles of the qualifications that employers have asked as mandatory criteria for shortlisting.

In that professional associations, including the IET, fail to recognise there is a major issue in the job market: decades after its conception, the idea of 'lifelong learning' is still quite abstract and nobody knows how to measure it in practical terms.

Missing a measure for lifelong learning (while we are going deeper and deeper in a knowledge economy with technologies changing very quickly and the smart professionals and paraprofessionals all together learning on the job and on the opportunities they have) is something that has devastating long term impact on the very idea of 'professionalism' and can erode the trust in formal education and qualifications.

Cheers

Brunella Longo
Information Management Adviser
Link removedLink removed
Statistics

See Also:



FuseTalk Standard Edition v3.2 - © 1999-2014 FuseTalk Inc. All rights reserved.