Aced interview - no job offer

jaffejaffe Posts: 11Member ■□□□□□□□□□
So I just want to post this to vent a little bit.

I started studying networking in 2012 and obtained a 2 year Associates of Applied Science Degree in Networking Administration. I started in an internet help desk in September 2014 at a small bandwidth management company for MDU's (apartment complexes near universities around the US). I was promoted to their NOC in March 2015. The NOC is pretty close to an engineering level because we configure and troubleshoot multi-layer switches and servers running PfSense all day (over 200 customer networks with hundreds of thousands of end users) while the network engineers mostly work on proactive design / implementation.

[Side note: I obtained my Network + N10-006 cert in August this year and have my INCD1 scheduled for December and will schedule my ICND2 for January. I feel that these certs will be fairly simple to obtain thanks to my active personal studying and my employers engineers being available for explaining concepts and protocols with ease anytime I have a question.]

So I decided to look around for new jobs because I'm craving an network engineer position (my current employer is undergoing an acquisition which is why I'm planning on leaving) and I know I'm capable of succeeding in the role, I landed an interview for a "Network Engineer" role administering and troubleshooting Cisco routers / switches / wireless LANs at my local community college (Austin, TX) which has over 8 campuses. The compensation was between 51k - 71k. I believe I answered 90% of their questions correctly (interviewed by the IT director and three tier 2 network engineers) during the interview and everything was going great. I could tell that I fit right in with their culture as well.

I received a call a couple days later from their recruiting / hiring staff asking me "Do you have any more experience besides your current employer?" (I've only been there for 1 year). I told them I'm still very young (age 23) and that this company was my first technical job, but I have professors that would recommend me (I graduated from this community college by the way) and am certain I would do well in this position. She then replied "Well this isn't whether you'd be a good fit for the job or not, the requirement for the job is a 2 year degree and 2 years relevant experience."

I could then see where this was going...

She then stated, " 2 years experience is a hard requirement, I'll check in with my manager to see if there's anything we can do"


They LITERALLY called me asking if I had ANY more experience I could have scraped up so I could be hired.... I wanted the job so bad and unfortunately didn't meet the "work experience length requirement" even though I was a great fit for the job.

Comments

  • si20si20 Senior Member Posts: 471Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Same thing happened to me about 1 month ago. I interviewed for a digital forensics role. The role was paying fair money - not extremely high, not very low - it was just right.. They invited me to interview and I had a 45 minute multi-choice exam, followed by a 45-min interview. I know for a fact that I got about 85-90% on the multi-choice exam. It stated I needed over 70% to get the job. So with the first hurdle over, I walked into the interview room.

    I was sat down and interviewed by two senior forensic examiners. They asked very little technical questions (because i'd hit 85-90% on the exam, I assumed) and their questions were all about my experience. Now, i've got a total of just under 7 years IT experience, with the last 2 years being the most relevant to the role...

    So I explained how I had found vulnerabilities, created forensic software etc etc. They *seemed* to be blown away. They were literally saying: "very good" after each one of my answers. I felt like I had it in the bag. I did accidentally ramble on quite a bit during one question, but only because I truly love the subject. They thanked me and said i'd hear from them very soon, they just had 2-3 more interviews to do.

    I literally began writing my 1 months notice to my current employer when they called to say I didn't get it. I couldn't believe it. I've had crap interviews where I knew I didn't stand a chance, but this interview went perfect. I aced the exam and I genuinely thought I excelled at their questions.

    I'm still working at my workplace - bored, depressed and seemingly unable to get out of it. It hit me quite hard that I didn't get the job. With seven years experience, certs and a BSc degree, it made me wonder what went wrong - and as per usual, they didn't offer any explanation as to why I didn't get selected...
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Posts: 1,722Member
    It's odd that it is such a hard requirement, but higher education can be a bit bureaucratic. A year's experience, education, and high level of competency should have been enough.

    It's not you, it's them :)

    At least you know that you are right on track. Knock out the CCNA, scrape together some more experience and try again.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • UncleBUncleB Posts: 417Member
    I do quite a lot of recruitment in the IT support sphere for different companies and may be able to shine some light on what happens on the other side of this pale curtain.

    When an ad goes out it will typically go to between 3 and 5 agencies who will advertise it on job boards etc and after they filter hundreds of applicants will send between 3 and 5 CVs each - so between 9 and 25 CVs will land on my desk for that round.

    I can typically discard about half as missing some element of the skills I'm after or who have some aspect that raises a red flag, then start a round of phone interviews to weed out the bullshitters and those whose language skills are too poor.

    From the face to face interviews I may come across a candidate who does very well (like your situation) but if there is more than one in the same rating then I need to find a way to differentiate - this is where I need to pick on the less important stuff (like experience), or if there is not much to choose between then I need to create a bit of a competition to see who gives the desired response.

    The competition could be to ask if they would take less money and see how they respont. Petulant responses are a bad thing as I want professionals who can operate on all levels and negotiate under pressure.

    Don't take it personally whatever you do - that is another sign of weakness. If you want to be taken seriously as a professional then be professional in all areas including the application process and in times of failure (especially failure actually as this is where the most effective lessons are to be found).

    It may suck, but then again so does life normally. Deal with it and let it make you a better candidate next time.

    thanks
    Iain
  • LionelTeoLionelTeo Posts: 526Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    That's a tell tale sign of a bad company culture with lots of with possible hidden budget cuts and stagnant salary. Think positive and find a better company that isn't petty minded about a simple things like work experience. Remember as a candidate, you should evaluate companies while companies evaluate you.
  • ratbuddyratbuddy Posts: 665Member
    UncleB wrote: »
    The competition could be to ask if they would take less money and see how they respont. Petulant responses are a bad thing as I want professionals who can operate on all levels and negotiate under pressure.

    Hey bud, thanks for the informative post. I'm curious, can you please expand on this part, maybe give an example of how you might phrase the question, and what a good or bad response would be?

    Thanks!
  • --chris----chris-- Posts: 1,516Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Same thing here. Aced the interview, got along great with the manager and co-worker I interviewed with. Called the next week to follow up, they appreciated it but said they were good. Waited 5 weeks to hear back like they requested, heard nothing. Called on Week 6 and was told they have extended an offer but if that person declines I will be up next. When I asked what I could have done better, she said the other party had a lower salary requirement.

    :/


  • olaHaloolaHalo Posts: 748Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Why interview you if you dont meet the minimum qualifications?

    Usually being interviewed means you passed the "bar" and were seen as potentially good enough for the role on paper.
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    A lot of places have some hard requirements for certain titles, pay bands etc. If you really like them, and they really like you maybe something can be worked out. A different title, lower pay, etc. I'd definitely try following up to see if anything can be done on the back end HR wise.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • philz1982philz1982 Posts: 978Member
    jaffe wrote: »

    She then stated, " 2 years experience is a hard requirement, I'll check in with my manager to see if there's anything we can do"


    They LITERALLY called me asking if I had ANY more experience I could have scraped up so I could be hired.... I wanted the job so bad and unfortunately didn't meet the "work experience length requirement" even though I was a great fit for the job.


    Out of curiosity, you couldn't claim school experience for work experience? What about home lab experience? Something seems fishy here.
  • UncleBUncleB Posts: 417Member
    ratbuddy wrote: »
    Hey bud, thanks for the informative post. I'm curious, can you please expand on this part, maybe give an example of how you might phrase the question, and what a good or bad response would be?

    I would speak to the recruitment agency representing the applicant and tell them straight "we have 2 applicants that have equal results so you need to get them to lower their rate to get the job". This is typically because while we may advertise the role at £35-45k, the agents only ever send applicants in at £45k, so they are not allowing us to use salary expectations as a tool to weigh applicants.

    We play hardball with the agents rather than the applicants, but if we get an applicant who will willingly drop several thousand rather than just one thousand, then it show they are keen to get the job and would probably be less likely to move elsewhere in a hurry (I appreciate this can be interprited in different ways). Staff who won't budge on salary tend to be good and they know it (in which case they are a higher risk of moving on when they get a better offer).


    If the candidates contact us directly when negotiating and try to sidestep the agents, they are blacklisted by both us and the agents as this is seen as a breach of trust in the implicit contract they have with the agency to represent them, and they could as easily do this to the employer later on.

    If we are discussing directly with candidates (eg internal interviews) then the negotiation style is what matters - whiners are a real turn off, ones who won't budge are seen as stubborn and ones who try to negotiate for, say, a bigger training budget or additional leave will be seen as the ideal candidate who is a realist who will work within our constraints - something essential in a support role I find. Candidates who are uncertain or hesitant are seen as likely to reflect this in their work - confidence is what works best.

    I hope that explains the thinking processes we go through, although I am a techie turned manager so have a different take on this than people who are just career managers.

    thanks
    Iain
  • john_mirandajohn_miranda Posts: 20Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    si20 wrote: »
    With seven years experience, certs and a BSc degree, it made me wonder what went wrong - and as per usual, they didn't offer any explanation as to why I didn't get selected...

    There is always that off chance that perhaps they felt you were over qualified and knew they wouldn't be able to afford you down a year or two.
  • deth1kdeth1k Posts: 312Member
    Sorry to ask a stupid question, but why did they interview you in the 1st place if they knew you didn't have enough experience? Why waste everyones time?
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    I'd assume no one noticed, or didn't realize it would be such a hard HR requirement. Doubt they scheduled an interview with the intention to waste their own time. Either that or the recruiter is full of it. One of the two.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • down77down77 Posts: 1,009Member
    Either that or the recruiter is full of it. One of the two.

    ^^ This! I've recently interviewed a number of network candidates where the recruiter has made promises or posted ranges outside what I have advertise to the organization. I don't mind interviewing a candidate without the exact number of years and/or certification/education required for the job if I feel they may be a fit for the team.
    CCIE Sec: Starting Nov 11
  • TheProfTheProf Posts: 331Users Awaiting Email Confirmation ■■■■□□□□□□
    deth1k wrote: »
    Sorry to ask a stupid question, but why did they interview you in the 1st place if they knew you didn't have enough experience? Why waste everyones time?

    Valid question.

    I would assume, that the experience is just a way of filtering candidates. If there are two candidates that perform exactly the same way, yet one has 1 year experience and the other candidate has 3 years, well the candidate with 3 years will look more attractive to the employer.

    Also, lack of experience may not always mean that you wont get the job. I've received offers for jobs that required 10 years experience when I only had 6 years.

    Again, there could be many reasons, but at the end of the day, you have to have a way of filtering out the candidates, and those are just some ways.

    UncleB made a good point, don't take these rejections personally, I know it can be tough at times, we've all been there.
  • ChitownjediChitownjedi Chasing down my dreams. Posts: 577Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    si20 wrote: »
    I'm still working at my workplace - bored, depressed and seemingly unable to get out of it. It hit me quite hard that I didn't get the job. With seven years experience, certs and a BSc degree, it made me wonder what went wrong - and as per usual, they didn't offer any explanation as to why I didn't get selected...

    Overqualified?
  • jaffejaffe Posts: 11Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    philz1982 wrote: »
    Out of curiosity, you couldn't claim school experience for work experience? What about home lab experience? Something seems fishy here.

    One of the requirements was a 2 year degree so it couldn't count towards work experience. And I had mentioned home lab experience in the interview and on the phone, but they wanted actual professional experience. I just got an email saying that they're "...moving forward with a candidate who's work experience more closely meets the college's needs."


    I appreciate everyone's response. I won't take this personal, I'm just upset because I felt so close to the engineering position I always wanted. They mentioned in the interview that routing, switching and wireless troubleshooting are the primary duties of the job, I felt elated at the time because those are three things I LOVE to do... I love solving problems. It's also the only engineer position I've seen so far that doesn't have ridiculous requirements (5-10 years work experience) which is why it was so attractive.
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