Employment laws notwithstanding, “Chemistry” or “Fit” between the candidate and the hiring executive, not the candidate’s qualifications / experience, decides who gets the job.

Earlier I wrote about a relative whose toxic employer screwed him terminated without cause five days before Christmas, 2013.

He’s my stepson, a brilliant young director of engineering. Between February and July, while recruiters ignored many of his competitors, he won interviews with six companies. In August he and his family relocated to the Midwest, where he is again director of engineering.

He followed a recipe for résumé customization that you might be right for too.

Having been an in-house recruiter for 18 years, I know that at the Director level and above, if the recruiters are doing their jobs, all who go from “Applicant Pools” onto “Candidate Slates” will be comparably well-qualified.

And I’m familiar with the company line: “We always hire the best-qualified person.”

From personal experience I know that’s just legal argle-bargle.

No. When everyone on a candidate slate is well-qualified, the hiring decision is based on the “chemistry” or“fit” between the candidate and the hiring executive. If it’s great, “You’re hired!” If not, “Sorry. We selected someone whose experience more closely matched our requirements.”

HR code for “We liked someone else more than you.”

Getting the chance to build “Chemistry” / “Fit” is a two-step process

Only Step 1 is completely under the job seeker’s control.

Step 1. Mirroring the advice of motivational speaker and master sales trainer, the late Zig Ziglar, to be a “Meaningful Specific,” not a “Wandering Generality, my stepson only applied where his accomplishments made him an “Ideal Candidate.”

By customizing his accomplishments and skills to each job, he was always an “Ideal Candidate.”   

When his competitors presented themselves generically, mass-distributing a flood of Job Search Junk Mail(“dates-and-duties” generic résumés) they committed Job Search Suicide and prolonged their unemployment.

Because my stepson used each company’s actual job specifications and customized his cover letters and résumés to their unique requirements he fast-tracked his candidacy. Recruiters and hiring executives easily saw how he could be the solution to their needs and how he’d “fit” into the company. When they met, they naturally continued the conversations his accomplishment stories had started in their minds.

Step 2. During the interviews he worked to enhance the “chemistry” / “fit” between himself and the hiring executives by openly sharing ideas and showing his authentic “self.”

Some hiring executives weren’t a good “fit.”

Example: After three interviews at one plant, the “fit” was perfect. He was on fire and his potential boss, peer directors and his new staff were salivating to hire him. They wanted him yesterday because they knew his managerial skills, technical knowledge, engineering creativity, drive, energy, and divergent, non-traditional thinking were what they needed to revitalize their struggling engineering function.

His final interview was with the president, a don’t-rock-my-boat-with-new-ideas linear thinker.

The president rejected him, not because he wasn’t qualified but because my stepson did not think linearly, like he did.

I’m glad the president said “no”because HE WAS A POOR “FIT” for my stepson.

What does this mean for other stellar performers languishing in toxic “Shark Tanks”?

It means there’s hope because there are still companies where senior executives are not slaves to their egos and aren’t seeking clones of themselves. Instead, they are stand-up, forward-thinking people of integrity looking to hire and reward “Meaningful Specific” “Ideal Candidates” to solve critical problems.

The Nugget

“Ideal Candidates” are accomplishments-based, show their authentic selves and follow a successful job search recipe.

My stepson’s recipe was my Amazon Kindle Best SellerD-I-Y résumé-writing book.

Click here to sample the ingredients.

“If you can’t get the interview, your education and experience won’t matter.”

About Don Headshot

About Don Burrows

For over 30 years, Don has helped job- and promotion-seekers, ignored by recruiters for work they've proven they can do, create custom résumés and targeted cover letters that won them interviews as Ideal Candidates. Today, he focuses on employed, high-five-figure, mid-career professionals passed over for promotions they know they've earned. Using his TOP CANDIDATE FOR PROMOTION™ system, he helps them win interviews as TOP CANDIDATES - whenever they want them - from now until they retire. He can be reached at LifetimeCareerPlan.com