RIFed by AI? Do Not Give Hope Who Enter There

April 18, 2024

Rest assured, job seekers, it is not your imagination. Even those with impressive resumes are having trouble landing an interview, never mind a position. Case in point, Your Tango shares, “Former Google Employee Applies to 50 Jobs that He’s Overqualified For and Tracks the Alarming Number of Rejections.” Wrier Nia Tipton summarizes a pair of experiments documented on TikTok by ex-Googler Jonathan Javier. He found prospective employers were not impressed with his roles at some of the biggest tech firms in the world. In fact, his years of experience may have harmed his chances: his first 50 applications were designed to see how he would fare as an overqualified candidate. Most companies either did not respond or rejected him outright. He was not surprised. Tipton writes:

“Javier explained that recruiters are seeing hundreds of applications daily. ‘For me, whenever I put a job break out, I get about 30 to 50 every single day,’ he said. ‘So again, everybody, it’s sometimes not your resume. It’s sometimes that there’s so many qualified candidates that you might just be candidate number two and number three.’”

So take heart, applicants, rejections do not necessarily mean you are not worthy. There are just not enough positions to go around. The write-up points to February numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that show that, while the number of available jobs has been growing, so is the unemployment rate. Javier’s experimentation continued:

“In another TikTok video, Jonathan continued his experiment and explained that he applied to 50 jobs with two similar resumes. The first resume showed that he was overqualified, while the other showed that he was qualified. Jonathan quickly received 24 rejections for the overqualified resume, while he received 15 rejections for the qualified resume. Neither got him any interviews. Something interesting that Javier noted was how fast he was rejected with his overqualified resume. From this, he observed that overqualified candidates are often overlooked in favor of candidates that fit 100% of the qualities they are looking for. ‘That’s unfortunate because it creates a bias for people who might be older or who might have a lot more experience, but they’re trying to transition into a specific industry or a new position,’ he said.”

Ouch. It is unclear what, if anything, can be done about this specificity bias in hiring. It seems all one can do is keep trying. But, not that way.

Cynthia Murrell, April 18, 2024


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