"You have an impressive background but unfortunately..."

Why do recruiters/hiring managers say this? How can they say your background/experience is impressive but decided not to proceed and move on with someone else without calling for an interview and talking about this ‘impressive background’?

I think it may be misleading and doesn’t help in my job search. I know its not their job to tell us what were not doing right or doing wrong but to say my experience was impressive and not talk to me makes me confuse.

(You can skip to the last paragraph if you don’t want to read about my background…)
Just to talk a little bit about my background, I started studying and learning web development in 2015 while I was working full-time at a hotel. And in November 2015, I saved up enough money to quit my job so that I could study full-time. For three months, I spent a minimum of 10 hours a day studying front end, and JavaScript - learning through FCC, and other online resources. I applied for Hack Reactor but didn’t pass the technical interview. I was given the another chance to apply again by building a project but I knew I didn’t have the finance and a bank wasn’t going to give me a loan because I had already owed money for my student loan. Plus, I didn’t know if I could afford not to use all my savings to pay rent in the Bay Area while I went to bootcamp. So the dreams of attending Hack Reactor wasn’t possible for me at the moment. I continued to study for those three months (using up my savings) and when I got comfortable with my skill set, I applied to jobs. Luckily, an opportunity came up and I was offered a position at a marketing agency as a web developer intern.

During my time at the agency, I worked on HTML templates, launched marketing campaigns, rebuilt the company website, but my biggest project was being involved in the development of a web management tool for a major health insurance company. I learned to communicate with a small team that included project managers, designers and engineers. They all told me that I was able to learn quickly on my feet and I showed a lot of enthusiasm. But after working for half a year, the company started to slow down and there wasn’t much for me to do. I began working on different things like editing videos and designing images on Photoshop. I wasn’t growing in the field that I wanted anymore. Then in the beginning of October, the company gave notice that they were going to lay of a few of the engineers. I was lucky to stay since I was the only front end developer in the entire office but I didn’t have a good feeling about staying and I wasn’t happy. So I began leveling up on my skills and reviewing FCC. I started to apply for a few jobs and just about three weeks ago, I was told the company was shutting down. Since I had already started an exit plan, I wasn’t to disappointed. It only pushed me to look for something sooner. Some recruiters reached out to me and told me they will pass my resume along to companies who may be interested (Attached to the resume is a report where I scored 90/100 on a front end development assessment test. And some companies haven’t responded back but the ones that bother me are the ones that say they moved to other candidates even though my resume was impressive.

In the two years that I have been studying and working as a web developer, I have worked with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Sass, Gulp, Node, Express and Github. Most recently I have been learning React and Webpack. I am familiar with Angular but don’t have any projects to show. I feel like I have accomplished a lot in these two years and I still consider myself a junior but why tell me my background is impressive but not call me?

Can I reach out to these recruiters and ask why they moved forward with someone else? How can I grow from these rejections?

You can contact the recruiters and ask for more details about their choice of candidate.

I don’t know you or the local market you are in, but I get the impression that you seem focused on the resume as your tool for getting a job. Is that a correct understanding?

I ask that since I believe that if your strategy is to look for job adverts and apply to those with resume attached, you are probably missing out on a lot of opportunities found in a network, meetups, volunteering, having a YouTube channel or having a strong portfolio and publish code on GitHub. There are many ways of getting attention to your work other that the tired old resume.

Anyway I wish you all the best.I’m also searching for work now and I will try unorthodox tactics.along the way.

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They say that because they are trying to sweet talk, just so they don’t come across as bad guys.

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This. Ask for feedback. Ask what can you improve on your next interview.

Worst case scenario, they won’t response but those who do, you’ll gain much more insight about yourself and what you need to work on.


Good point @Neotriz. The questions to the recruiters should be about what skills and behaviours you yourself can improve on, rather than comparing yourself with the other candidates too much.