Have you become a victim of your failed job search?

Steve Kimmens Career resilience, Find a job 1 Comment

Stop playing the blame game, it’s not going to get you a job.


I am older and people are ageist.

I am a woman and men are sexist.

I look different and people are racist.

I am in a new city and people only hire locals.

Do any of the above sound familiar?

Has a thought like this crossed your mind after receiving a rejection from a job you thought you had in the bag?

‘The hiring manager was biased. They didn’t get how my experience translates to the role.’

Tell us something we don’t know.  Inherent biases exist – they have, and always will – it’s how we’re wired as humans. We trust what we know, what we can identify as familiar, and reject the unfamiliar.

These sorts of biases are particularly noticeable in hiring scenarios. Hiring managers are usually under a bit of pressure to find a suitable candidate, in a short amount of time that will fit the job description as closely as possible. There’s very little margin for error. The default is to go for a candidate who has experience that emulates their own or the wider team’s and the same qualifications. To find someone who is going to fit in.

Is it fair? No, not really.

Sorry to break it to you, but it also isn’t unique to you and your situation.

So, stop whingeing. Stop playing the victim. And change your approach.


Toxic victim mentality  

The victim mentality is an easy trap to set yourself, and an even easier one to make a habit of.

Feeling down after being rejected for a role because of circumstances seemingly out of your control? I bet that affects how you approach looking for the next one, and the one after that.

Finding a job takes hard work and perseverance. If you think the world is out to get you then you won’t persevere, and you’ll give up.

But just because inherent biases exist, doesn’t mean they can’t be overcome. There are plenty of success stories to prove that it’s not the be all end all.

It’s a common challenge that can be overcome by simply adjusting your approach and thinking differently.


3 ways to break the vicious cycle of victim mentality

  1. Use what makes you different

Sure, what makes you different might not far with a hiring manager, but it is a way to connect with other like-minded people.

Look for common threads when you’re out networking or speaking to established contacts. It’s these networks who can help you get your foot in the door with an organisation. Remember, it’s who you know.

  1. Address differences head-on

If it is your work history and mix of experience that is the key point of difference, hiring managers will often be more upfront and highlight this during the process.

It’s definitely a skill that takes some practice to develop, but this is one bias that can be overcome with a neat pitch. Highlight elements of yourself that will demonstrate that you are like the people hiring you and they can trust you.

  1. Network with the gatekeepers and breakdown their unconscious bias 

Unconscious bias survives by people perpetuating judgements and never having the chance to question them. Be proactive: break down the unconscious bias you’re experiencing by meeting up for coffee with the gatekeepers (or people just like them).

Now networking doesn’t meaning coming straight out and asking for a job. That’s a common misconception. Come prepared with specific questions about their job and the industry. Ask them to put you in touch with someone else. This builds contacts and most importantly, relationships with the people who may have rejected you.


What next? Use our 7 step process to help you find a job.

How to find a new job 7 step process

Overcome the challenges you are facing, and use our 7 step process to find a new job.

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