My Name Is Not… Candidate

My first name is not passive; it’s not Talent. My Mom never gave birth to a child named Candidate; my Dad never told his friends, “This is my son, Human Capital.”

My Name Is…

My name is Monica, and I am frightened. I am a single mother trying to raise a family and protect them.  I am diligent, trustworthy, and I will make a company better.  My name is Monica, and all I ask is a chance, an opportunity to at least talk with you for just a moment, all I want is an opportunity to prove myself.  My name is Monica, I don’t want a handout.  I want to work to provide for my family, feed my children, and pay my rent.  Please take a chance on me, I promise you will not be disappointed Please? My name is Monica, and I am scared. Why?

My Name Is…

My name is Emory, and I am angry. After working for the same damn company for 36 years and consistently receiving great reviews and raises, all of a sudden my job gets outsourced to some third world country and I’m not even given a chance to interview for another internal job?  What we’re going in a different direction is the BS line the consultant tried to feed me; HR didn’t even have the guts to tell me this to my face. What am I supposed to do now? Drive for Uber? How am I going to pay for my kids’ college tuitions? Who’s going to hire someone who isn’t an anointed Millennial with skills that are “up to date”? Hell, when did using a smartphone app become more important than being able to build a smartphone? What’s wrong with these people? Don’t they know that they’re destroying our country? Why I wasn’t even asked to stay? Why?

My Name Is…

My name is Carl, and I am tired.  I am over 40 in Silicon Valley and I am sick of hearing that I am not a culture fit for your company. I am over qualified for the position. Since when did actually having the skills to do what is required to get that project done be a bad thing?  Why are all the startups ignoring me, blatantly telling me that I am too old? I have shaved off my beard, dyed my hair, I’ve been there and done that and got the requisite t-shirt.  Why do you have a team trying to accomplish a project I could do alone and before the deadline? The reason you are going under is that you are hiring friends and pretty people instead of those who know how to get the job done. You choose to fail without me instead of succeeding with me. Why?

My Name Is…

My name is Samantha, and I am so confused. Everything I’ve always wanted to achieve I have. While I was in school, I took some of the hardest courses. I volunteered in my community. I tutored high school girls. I have a high GPA. And all I can get is a job as a Receptionist while living with three other girls in Brooklyn? Look, I know we’ve been called the entitled generation but when did wanting to make a difference in the world come to mean entitled to a job that has nothing to do with your major and falling further and further behind on your bills? Why don’t you just ask me to help you and your company to be better? You’re not that much older than me yet you already know that I won’t be able to do the job? Why are you so afraid to take a chance on me? Why?

My Name Is…

My name is Hector and I am lost in understanding.  At eighteen, I joined the US Marines because I could not afford college and I wanted to serve my country and I am proud that I did. I fought in two wars. I took a bullet for this Nation only to come home to nothing. To be forgotten.  I am told that I could pose a possible disturbance due to PTSD, which I don’t have. I can not get a position anywhere, not even Walmart as a stocker. I carried out logistical missions, drove million dollar machinery and led men into battle when I had to. Yet here I am, one month away from being homeless because I cannot afford rent. My savings are almost gone, and all I find is stone hearted people that callously never return my calls or emails after they first talk to me. Why?

Our Names Are…

Our names are Derek and Steve, and we don’t know what to say to these people.  They are people you know – those resumes you’re holding. Not sure when we forgot that but we’re still left speechless by the outcome. These resumes aren’t the whole story for people who have names and lives – stories to tell and experiences that could change your company. 

Many years ago, we began our journey into this profession and have helped so many people get something better.  There have been struggles, sure, many whom we could not help or those we didn’t want to due to arrogance. Yet what is worse is the lack of support we receive from the bulk of those in our recruiting community.  

Far too many recruiters don’t practice the listening skills they’re seeking and make too many assumptions regarding what they believe you want to do, what they believe will make you happy. Far too many recruiters – seasoned and non-seasoned alike – believe they have ESP and are experienced psychotherapists. Damned what you say during a screen or an interview, they’ve already made up their feeble minds.

Too many recruiters practice the “fake it until you make it” training model, and actually believe they’re skilled enough to assess people’s functional and technical skills. Many won’t even admit they don’t know what they don’t know.

Feedback. None. They will even tell boldface lies to your face.

Lying, faking, and silence might be major pillars of a tawdry drama–romance–crime novel but in our profession, these three elements lead to only one thing:


About The Authors

In a collaborative co-writing effort, Steve Levy + Derek Zeller took turns writing paragraphs to develop this article and concept. If you want to learn more about either of these authors, google them. That’s your job after all.

  • “They Call Me Mister Tibbs!”

    My name is Michael; I am IT Pro and Data Analyst looking a new opportunity in accounting and auditing.

    • Steve Levy

      Michael’s profile – neat stuff here – is

      • Thank you, Steve for support!

      • maureensharib

        Michael is smart.
        Michael seems to know most recruiters aren’t “on” (pay) LinkedIn to have access to LinkedIn’s InMail contact system.
        Michael puts his contact info in at the bottom of his profile page.
        I bet Michael gets a lot of spam as a result of his @ in his emails (bots picking him up.)
        Better if Michael used Michael dot Alfes at gmail dot com in his signature to avoid spam in his personal email box.
        EVEN BETTER if Michael put his PHONE NUMBER in his profile for FASTER EASIER access.
        EVEN BETTER if Michael also raised his contact info up into his profile earlier somewhere (some recruiters aren’t that smart/don’t scroll down etc etc etc)

        • Maureen, thanks a lot! I fixed (at) and (dot) stuff there. I don’t receive so much spam 🙂 And I prefer to post my phone numbers, though. 🙂

    • rithesh

      @Michael We do some accounting and Auditing with IT. Lets connect?

  • eh? so many things wrong with this article.. fyi: if anyone is telling someone that they are not being hired because of PTSD, which i would doubt.because noone would be that silly. then run, to the Nearest EEO office – state or federal. .You wouldn’t have to prove your case fyi

    that said, i don’t understand anything outside of Carl in this article – are recruiters supposed to just send out candidates that are not qualified to the hiring manager? I am not sure where you are going with this info — are the candidates applying to jobs they are not qualified for? are they asking for more salary than they deserve? are they expecting to get jobs based upon they believe is a wonderful character and great happy personality? .. Did they LIE on their resumes? did they manufacture their experience? Did they… Tell me more about the candidates background, and the jobs they are applying to.. to help us understand what the beef is

    If your problem is with what the recruiters are doing? expand on what exactly are the recruiters doing wrong. And then discuss the potential solution..

    Yes, I agree there is something wrong in our industry.. bad training, BAD training.. a lot of it coming from the ignorant, educating the ignorant to be more ignorant.. and it comes from the popularity contest created by the status quo

    I even wrote about it as well.. see :
    and if that doesn’t work, try here.. try here anyways.. we provide training from some of the countries top billers.. individuals who billed over a million a year.. We have the best of the best in the world.. People who Actually, and I mean Really do have the experience that they mouth off about.. and have EARNED their badge of honor

    First time I have ventured out, been on this side of the fence in over 20 years.. heard the rumors, but didn’t see how truly perverse it was till now..

    So, what do we do to fix it? let’s start with the conferences.. let’s start holding OURSELVES responsible.. Let’s start Truly Validating who is training us. Our Staff.. is this person popular because of WHO they know.. or WHAT they Know.. and I will let you figure out why THAT is important

    • derdiver

      I love when people comment with incomplete thoughts, poor grammar, and atrocious spelling. I would say more but your irrelevance just leaves me stumped and frankly you just are not that important to debate. #peace

      • Pete Radloff

        Don’t forget the website DZ, some sugary sweet VB5 code right there.

        • so content vs context? is that like, a soo.. mrs lincoln, how was the play?? 😉 so, outside of that Zeller, what’s the point of your comment or article? Nothing personal, and no debate, just looking for clarification

        • derdiver

          Hence my comment on relevance. Scammers going to scam, haters going to hate! I would throw shade but frankly she is not important enough for me to care. #truestory

        • Pete, I love “VB5”. What about code for BASIC Altair Interpreter (1975)?

          • derdiver

            Hahahaha I remember when they were doing conversions from 5 to 6. Good times!

    • PTSD: not only Veterans of Combat have it; long-term unemployed may have it, too.

      • derdiver

        Sadly true, man.

  • maureensharib

    Jesus – you two. I’ve never read anything more powerful in our community in my life.

    • derdiver

      Thanks Maureen

  • there is a problem in our industry when people are labeled as irrelevant, or unimportant, or their integrity is challenged, because they question information that is presented publicly.

    You Wrote this publicly, printed it publicly, on a public format. So, did you expect only a response that agreed with you or your experience? To go after me and my personal character, when I politely asked what were the reasons that these individuals not being hired or promoted.. Can you explain more? this negativity defeats the very problem that you address in our industry.

    Derek, instead of taking this as an EDUCATING opportunity.. an opportunity to allow me to better understand Your frustration, or to help maybe answer questions, you shut it all down, by insulting someone who took time to Read your article and Ask questions..

    Wow, and we wonder what’s wrong with our industry? Let’s start with, have an opposing position, and watch your back.. all hell will break out.. that’s not good, it doesn’t help foster discussions to create a more conducive learning environment..

    Unless of course we want to keep surrounding ourselves with echo chambers/?

    • Steve Levy

      The message behind this post appears to be crystal clear to all those who have shared it since it went live this morning. While there might be some people who are confused about it, only one person elected to misconstrue the message and comment in a negative way.

      These are vignettes of real people who have reached out to us asking “Why?” – why they weren’t treated “humanly” by recruiters and hiring managers. This post isn’t about procedure but recruiter behavior – which we all know as generally regressed over time. This post isn’t about satisfying the negative beliefs of one person but of raising awareness that we interact with people, not some sort of balance sheet collateral.

      There are many other available posts detailing EEOC regs, training, and everything else that you concerns you. Frankly, the RBC community is one of hope – not of fire and brimstone. And there’s nothing confusing about this…

      • derdiver

        Steve trying to articulate a thought towards a troll is a valiant yet pointless effort. This is why I blocked Karen Mattonten (spelling) years ago, as did most in the community. She won’t argue as herself just as a useless outdated website. She is and will alway be the consistent problem. She is only doing this to try and be relevant and by doing so is showing her very lack of relevance in this industry. I will not engage this person as I have had my fill of her from the past. I think we all have. #truestory

        • derdiver

          Oops my shear hatred has allowed me to answer her screeching, oh well light on the trolls is never bad I suppose…

    • derdiver

      Maybe start by being a person Karen and not a website….Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong. Leo Buscaglia

  • “This is my son, Human Capital.” awesome and sums it up. If we want to work with humans and “attract” humans, then be human. Guys, y’all nailed it! Thanks for the post.

  • derdiver

    Micheal, I’m a Native of AZ and PHX. Still have some great connections with good recruiters there. I am happy to chat with you or send your info out to them with your permission.

    • I am glad to chat but not on public forum 🙂 I can be found on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

  • Zeller.. you blocked me because according to you, I wasn’t republican enough.. now now.. let’s be honest.. not because you know me.. never, never never spoke to you.. ever!

    and most of the industry? didn’t know that even recruiting daily covered the MIllions of people in the industry.. God, i wonder how so many people have come to respect me then? crazy.. isnt’ it..

  • my last post on this, and I will be walking away, it’s not worth my time. .but, it’s a curious diversion. I am also curious that when the post was challenged, legitimately, that the knee jerk response is not to take time to answer the questions. but instead attack a person’s character. Why? was it because the questions were too intimidating? maybe they didn’t make sense? This industry is huge Zeller.. why is there a need to shame others publicly? or to try to push people out by attempting to harm their personal integrity or professional reputation..

    Gee,too many have seen that being tried over and over again.. and to many of us, it’s like why? why does that person intimidate so much, that that is the only way to react or respond? Guess what.. many of the people who have a viable, respectable brand.. are still around. No matter how hard the attempt was to remove them, they still maintained their credibility and their image. And they are around and respected.. and many of the bully’s, name callers, and attackers are weeding themselves out.. . so, instead of bullying.. let’s find a way to play in the same sand box.. for the Most of us, it’s our job, it’s what we do.. for a living.. it’s an industry we care for.. but, granted, some are out for the ride.. and they too find that their lights do go dim after a while, as they can only keep their b.s up for so long..

    So, let’s remember it’s not conducive to be attacking other peers, just because of personal bias.. that’s ridiculous, and petty. and it’s not harming the person you are attacking.. I can guarantee that..
    Karen Mattonen.. but then again, Everyone knows that.. 🙂

    • Matt Charney

      This is great for my engagement stats, on the flip side.

    • Steve Levy

      Karen, the response to this post hoes far beyond this site; there’s been an *overwhelming* positive response from all categories of recruiters. The issue Derek & I wrote about is one that even you have spoken of through the years; this post is an emotional plea for people in our profession to look at the person rather than the impersonal candidate – it was NOT intended to turn into a literal discourse about specific employment laws. Seemingly everyone heard our message and understands the challenges. Ultimately this is about an industry – not about one individual.

  • Steven G. Davis

    Derek and Steve,
    As usual, you two have hit the nail on the head. I would add that not only is it a “recruiting” issue, you can’t forget about sprinkling in some HR and Hiring Manager BS to top it off. I can’t tell you how many times you get from the HR pro, yes the HR pro and/or Hiring Manager ” we don’t want someone too old, we can’t teach them anything new”….or ” well we don’t want a woman that has kids, we don’t want to deal with that daycare issue and sick kids all the time”…Does this happen, sure as the sun rises and sets everyday, everyday I hear it ALL the time.

    Believe me, I am not standing up for those recruiters that don’t get it, I’m only adding to your angst in that it is a much greater problem with the HR pros and Hiring Managers adding to that angst.. I see it in my current role and have to defend a candidates age, experience or lack there of. You will be pleased to know that I hired a 20 year old whom shows exceptional promise and he will be my trial balloon in order for me to go back to my team and say…”see told you so, if you (Hiring Manager) do your job and provide thoughtful training along his/her path he/she will be successful”.. Excellent article, we who are trying appreciate it!!!

    • Steve Levy

      Steve, wondering out loud what would happen if we shared this with jobseekers not just people from our profession. Tell them it’s okay to be angry but also be intelligently vocal…

  • maureensharib

    I was talking with a dear friend last night that I went to high school with.
    For those of you who know me, you can figure out her age (don’t look at my picture.) We talked well into the night – beginning with her problems finding a current job. She’s independent, sophisticated, highly educated and so well qualified in her IT space and she’s been doing consulting jobs for the Fortune companies basically for the last several years – because – well, you know…

    “…you can actually tell if you watch their eyes – they have no interest once they see me. I am a 140 lb old lady to them. RISK!!!! And I do not even look old.”

    “No, sweetheart, you don’t. You’re beautiful.” (Middle of the night girl talk when one is in pain.)

    “I had one guy with less credentials and experience tell me that I could not do the job.”

    “What’s the average age of these interviewers?”

    “45. Many do not have a LinkedIn profile.”

    “That’s interesting.”

    “They plan to retire where they are.”

    She’s been looking for over six months since her last contract ended. She’s considering beginning early retirement although she really doesn’t want to. My heart bleeds.

    • Steve Levy

      Mo, I’m not that far off from 60. Yet there are 2 sides to the hiring issue and the one side I’ve always counseled folks about – to many’ surprise – is to stop fighting with idiots. Quickly move on. But always look in the mirror and see where it might be you.

  • John Crespi

    Beautifully written.

    My story for the last 15 months.

    • Steve Levy

      John, let see if we can help you out; we have many readers up North.

  • Mike Wolford


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