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A colleague suggested me to apply by email to a job at my university. After reviewing the job description, I indeed strongly match the job offer, I even have stronger skills that what they ask as I was an early mover in the field of e-learning 10 years ago and my PhD research are in this field. My university already punctually hired me to do such missions, but it's this time a full time job so the university may move better in this direction.

I just received a very brief negative answer saying "...your application wasn't selected. Your profile doesn't correspond to the job." from the HR.

The writing style is very elegant but totally empty (template), such as I may genuinely doubt they even read my CV.

In copy is one teacher, good friend of the HR, that doesn't likes me. I re-read the job offer, and can confirm my application do match the job offer. As every university, there are stories of insider jobs and back stabbing, so it doesn't surprised me much to be rejected unfairly.

Yet, I should not have to accept such claims that I don't have these skills.

How can I anwers such sweetly written bad faith email ?

  • How do you know it was written in bad faith? – jcm Apr 17 '15 at 14:16
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    So you got a canned rejection. You think they didn't read your CV. What makes you think anything you write? Feel free to write them. Not that I expect that it will make any difference. Had they replied that you are overqualified, I doubt that you would have felt much better. – Vietnhi Phuvan Apr 17 '15 at 14:27
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    Why would you want to respond? What would you hope to achieve? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 17 '15 at 14:34
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    No, it's only accepting "this university says this job isn't a fit at this time", and that's it. – Adam V Apr 17 '15 at 14:39
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    What does this have to do with your professional network? Did they post the on a letter on a public web site or send it to you directly. How would your professional network even know you applied for the job. So it was a standard template. What do you hope to achieve? If it does come to your professional network you would be the guy that did not get the job and then accused them of a bad faith rejection. – paparazzo Apr 17 '15 at 16:53
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You don't.

There is no benefit of responding to a rejection email from an external job, and even less if it's automated/templated. That reason could mean a large variety of things, you could be overqualified, they could have found someone more qualified, they could have posted the job knowing who they would hire, etc.

  • It's not an automated by bot, clearly. But this HR and her colleagues clearly share some textual templates. – Hugolpz Apr 17 '15 at 14:12
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I'd drop it.

There's no win for you here. There are two possibilities:

  1. You didn't get the job because of a valid reason. (Job went to better candidate, you're overqualified, etc.)

In this case, complaining about "bad faith" just makes you look like a sore loser who jumps to conclusions and accuses others of bad behavior when he doesn't get his way.

  1. You were actually the best candidate but rejected because of a rival's personal issues with you.

What do you hope to accomplish by responding to the email? Getting the job via email complaint is unlikely. Even if you were to get the job this way, I doubt you or your coworkers-to-be would be happy in such a situation. Again, this makes you look like a sore loser.

You mention in the comments that you're "integrated into this community professionally". If so, then continue being a positive contributor to the community. Picking a fight over this episode will severely undermine that with no benefit to anyone.

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    Yep. Take your ego and emotions out of any professional decision. This off-the-cuff flippant reaction is exactly the sort of thing that will close off a lot of opportunities for you in the future. Word spreads easily in industry and academia. No one wants to take on someone who makes accusations like this, even if it's correct. To quote an old Al Pacino movie: "It's not what you know, it's what you can PROVE!" :) – Cloud Apr 17 '15 at 15:53
  • Noticed, i ask because i want to hear others opinion. – Hugolpz Apr 17 '15 at 20:54
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First, HR is never going to tell you any reason other than generalities about why you were not selected to be interviewed. It is their job to protect the organization, not to make you happy.

Next there are two kinds of fit that are used to determine who to interview. The first is technical, does the person have the actual skills to do the job according to what I see in the application.

The second, and more often more important, is about cultural/personality fit to the organization. While this is often determined in the interview, sometimes you can see if from the resumne or from people who work there who know you and this comes into play when the resume is evaluated.

Sometimes a organization even has an informal list of people they don't ever want to work with. This is especially true in professions where everybody knows everybody else such as in academia where the academic subject is fairly specialized, everyone meets at conferences and very few people have the qualifications on paper. In fact if they were familar already with your thesis, perhaps they were not impressed by your conclusions or perhaps they know their work is going off in a differnt direction.

The person who works well individually is going to fit some organzations better than the great team player and vice versa. There are serious organzations and fun ones and different people fit them differntly. There are managers who like conflict and people pushing their ideas and managers who want only yes men. Some managers want to work with people with a stronger technical background than they have and some do not. Some like diversity of ideas and some prefer everyone to have roughly the same perspective on things.

The organization gets to decide what personality traits or attitudes are the best fit for this particular work group.

They have to the right to unilaterally reject any candidate they don't think will work well with the current team. This is particularly true when there is a current employee who has actually worked with this person in the past. Many companies in fact will turn down great candidates if only 1 person says no. Many copmanies ask employees who worked at the same places as a candidate if they know him and what they thought. It is a legitimate part of the process. Many people have gotten turned down as a result of the poor reputation they have with former co-workers or in their technical community. Many people have gotten the job when they are less qualifed on paper because of the great reputation they have with former co-workers.

If there is someone who already dislikes you at that organization, it could be that is the reason you were turned down. And that is not bad faith. That is a legitimate way to evaluate candidates. Current employees should not be forced to work with people they arleady know they cannot get along with.

It also could be the manager turned down hiring you for another reason such as others he saw as more qualified when reviewing the resumes. Just because you feel extremely qualified doesn't mean that people reviewing your resume might not see others that seem better to them and only want to interview the top 3 and you were 5th. And what you viewed as a minor part of the requirements might actually be the most critical to the hiring manager.

So you don't know why they thought you were not the most qualified. Perhaps you genuinely were not based on their evaluation criteria.

And often more than 50% of the applicants might meet the listed job requirements (for some jobs 90% or more), they are never going to interview all of them unless there were very few applicants.

You also don't know that HR rejected you. The emails would always come from them. The hiring offical may be the one who chose not to interview you.

Finally, you need to stop this habit of thinking things are unfair. The world is unfair to everyone at times. They don't owe you a job. There are lots of jobs, you wil be rejected for many of them when you apply becasue they can't hire everyone who applies. I assure you that for every job you have gotten or school you have been accepted to there was some other candidate who thought he was unfairly rejected because he was highly qualified.

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