Why Were 4 Job Offers Withdrawn?

First let me say thank you for giving members this opportunity! For 25 years, I was the Corp Director of HR/Payroll, for a multi-state healthcare provider of substance abuse/addiction treatment services. Despite completing numerous applications for employment for direct hire, consultant, staffing agency job postings, executive recruiting firms, interviews on a first and second level basis for HR/payroll related positions, I am still unemployed almost two years now! What’s wrong?

I paid a professional resume company to redo my resume, called on numerous colleagues that I met throughout my professional career for advice, present/future employment opportunities and even offered to work for free in their offices performing entry level duties, to get my name back out there. I have had four job offers that  were withdrawn over the past 24 months. Why? Good question – the withdrawal letters were very generic (i.e. “decided to go in another direction” and “restructured job duties since interview, therefore, you are overqualified”).

Do I have an age issue? Here is my dilemma with a possible age issue: I am only 50 years old, but based on my employment history, employers may think I am closer to 60 or 65 years old. How can I professionally say that I have 15-20 more working years in me?

I have attached a copy of my resume for your information as well. I love my profession and very anxious to return to it ASAP. I look forward to your response and can’t tell you how much this means to me.

Ann-Z-newThanks so much for including your resume; it makes it so much easier for me to provide specific feedback. In all honesty, I think your resume looks awesome! You have done a terrific job in listing job responsibilities as well as job accomplishments. Judging by the dates listed on your resume I would guess you were much younger than your actual age so that cannot be a factor and regardless I can tell you that 50 years of age is by no means a reason not to get hired.

You state that you have had four job offers that were then withdrawn in the next day or two over the past 24 months. This is highly unusual, and cause for further investigation. Are they pulling the offer after the background check has been initiated? As an attorney you know that if a hiring decision is canceled because of a poor background check than you are legally entitled to get a copy of that report so that you can address any potentially false information and work to rectify it.

Are the offers being pulled after references are called? Do your references notify you after they have been called and are you giving them a heads up prior to sharing their information?

Is your social media private or can anyone look at it and see your post history? Is there anything in there that would turn off a potential employer? Another suggestion is to Google your name and see what comes up. These are all things that employers regularly do to gain insight into a potential hire. Do you have a history of filing lawsuits against employers? Nothing makes a potential hiring manager shy away than seeing a history of lawsuits against his peers.

Personally, I would have a trusted friend or acquaintance call your references and see what they are saying. Of course many recruiters and hiring managers go into a candidate’s work history via LinkedIn and call former supervisors that are not self-reported, and that may be what is hurting you. Could there be someone that worked with you in the past that is speaking negatively about you when someone calls to inquire? Of course legally someone can only provide the basics when called for references but we all know that a tremendous amount of information can be relayed while staying within those boundaries.

The fact that you have had four offers that are generated and then pulled has to be the issue, so I would reverse engineer it and try to figure out at what specific step things went south. When a hiring manager tells HR to generate an offer, the only thing that can cause a deal to go haywire in my experience is if the background or references turn out bad.

Have you asked former colleagues and managers to write you recommendations on your LinkedIn profile or to serve as references? If people have proven to be reluctant to take you up on your offer to work for free, or to serve as a reference, perhaps it is time for some deep introspection to try to figure out what would cause the hesitation.

Finally, I would really suggest investing in a coach; ExecuNet has some great ones. She will be able to dive deeper into what is sabotaging your job search and hopefully provide additional insights into what is keeping you from landing a position. I wish you all the luck in the world and wish I could help you more.


Ask Ann,

Have a question you’d like a recruiter to answer? Write to me at AskAnn@execunet.com



Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

A recruiter since 1996, Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is the president of International Search Consultants, a global executive recruiting firm launched in 1999.

ISC has become one of the country’s most reputable search firms, earning more recommendations on Linked In than any other 3rd party recruiting agency in the entire country. With a team of 15 talented recruiters, utilizing the very best high- tech tools available, ISC can produce highly qualified candidates for companies with hi-volume recruiting needs.

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