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How do I pick DH up off the floor after yet another job rejection?

(8 Posts)
Magrathea Wed 14-Sep-11 08:42:11

First a bit of background. I think it is fair to say DH is not lucky with jobs we have been together 8 years and in that time he has been made redundant 5 times, most of the time without any redundancy pay. He is in an awkward position with qualifications in that he is qualified half way towards his career but not qualified enough and it is £8,000 to do his next set of exams (which we just dont have). What he doesnt have in pieces of paper he more than make up for in experience and is very good at what he does - he wipes the floor with people infinitely more qualified than him regularly but because he hasnt got that final piece of paper which says he is qualified to do the job he is already doing he gets treated like the house elves in Harry Potter and paid less wages.

Anyway, he got made redundant last year (1 week before DS was born) with no pay and the only job he has been able to find is 70 miles away on a 4 day week which is fine and is tiding us over but its not ideal - but hey its a job and we are more than thankful. But, it is not a secure job, they'll only employ him month to month and dont seem to want to give him a permanent contract.

He went for a job interview with a large multinational setting up in our area, it wasnt a great job but closer to home with a lot more benefits and security. He passed the first telephone interview, passed the maths test and 1 hour personality test he had to do online prior to the interview. Then he had to go to an assessment day (use a days holiday from work), passed the writing and spelling test, the technical test with very high marks and he did well in the group work. He then has a competency based interview.

They were looking for 120 people.

We heard yesterday he hasnt got the job. When he asked for feedback he was told he didnt give a satisfactory answer to a question on teamwork and didnt seem to be suited to working in a team. He pointed out he was in the army for 7 years so knew a lot about teamwork. He then rang them back and spoke to someone different and they told him something entirely different about a question on customer service focus (he said he talked about customer service loads in the group session and has been customer focused for 15 years).

The thing is, we think these are just excuses and what is going on here is actually age discrimination (he's nearly 50 and all the supervisors were late 20s). He's now terrified if he loses the job he has currently got there is no way he is going to get another one and he is 17 years off retirement.

How do I pick him up off the floor and keep him going?

TLD2 Wed 14-Sep-11 08:50:56

Are his skills something that he could offer privately, as a consultant, instead of working for someone else?

While employers may care about upto date certificates, I'm sure private clients would care more about customer service and his actual ability.

If he has no job security now, he could maybe do it on the side? Nothing to lose, I would have thought.

Magrathea Wed 14-Sep-11 08:55:52


Unfortunately no he couldn't, the governing body of the profession prohibit non qualified s from offering consultancy and there is no exemption for experience.

LadyLapsang Wed 14-Sep-11 09:08:05

It's possible age is a factor but maybe more in a factor that of age / professional career progression.

At 49 you are unlikely to suddenly have an enormous boost to your career so the fact that he is part qualified and hasn't got fully qualified when others younger have will count against him with lots of firms.

Also expressions like 'not been lucky' and 'he wipes the floor with people infinitely more qualified than him regularly', would make me worried; in my experience senior staff, of all ages, don't want to be wiped the floor with, they want to perform well and look good (not undermined).

Maybe next time he could discuss what he learnt about teamwork in the army and then how he adapted this to working outside a service environment.

farfallarocks Wed 14-Sep-11 11:09:04

Feedback is very difficult, you have to be careful and often can't give the real reason for why someone is rejected.

It is possible that his age is working against him. I know its not meant to but i encounter it all the time (am in recruitment).

My advice would be to take that final qualification even if it means going into debt.

Poor you and poor him, that must be tough as his self-esteem will be hit each time this happens. You can only be supportive and boost his confidence and quietly encourage him. Do you work too?

Smum99 Wed 14-Sep-11 11:58:10

Only thing to keep reinforcing is that it won't always be like this forever - everything in life changes so he just needs to keep positive until the right opportunity comes up. Remind him of the success, he managed to get through so many stages so he is obviously capable. Maybe the culture wasn't a good match for him.
When he's feeling more positive it might be worth looking at what areas he can improve in.

If he gets interviews then his CV must be fine and the qualifications can't be holding him back too far. If he fails to secure the job at the interview stage then it might be worth looking at help with interviewing skills. (nextstep might be able to help) It sounds like he has good technical skills however maybe his 'soft' skills need work. I know that when I hire staff I'm looking at how well a person fits into an organisation, skills can grow but the ability to learn and work well with people are also critical skills.In a global organisation where I worked the first people selected for redundancy was on the basis of how they would adapt rather than current skills. Alarms bells certainly ring when you say he can wipe the floor with other people as it's the opposite of teaming and appears aggressive.

It is however a very tough job market although I do believe slightly more opportunities are coming available so the right job could be just around the corner.

fiorentina Wed 14-Sep-11 20:59:13

It must be a very hard situation for you, it's definitely difficult to support someone going through this.

As others have said, he has a good CV as he is getting interviews. Perhaps though he does need some help in how he comes over in the interview with regards to balancing his ability to 'more than' do the job, with working with others.

Perhaps his view that he can 'wipe the floor with other colleagues' without yet having completed the qualification they have worked hard to achieve comes across as quite arrogant and would perhaps not fit in as a team member.

As these companies are aware of his skills, perhaps he would do better to pitch himself as a reliable, diligent employee rather than over ambitious, as for many roles I have recruited for, I have selected an older, slightly less ambitious candidate who I was confident would come in and get on with the role and not constantly be looking for a promotion that we couldn't give them.

Perhaps looking at small companies may be better, where he will have more of an opportunity to shine, rather than just be a small fish in a big pond and get overlooked? I'm sure the right opportunity will come along in due course.

SageMist Thu 15-Sep-11 07:17:05

I'm 50 and finding it difficult to get another job after redundancy.

I think that the reason why candidates are not selected are many and varied, but I have come to the conclusion that that reason is different for every single job. In one job it may be that your face just doesn't fit, in another you don't have quite the right skills and in yet another it might be that you are female (in my case) or older. The thing is your DH and I will never know why exactly.

I've stopped taking things too personally, and move on to the next advert. I'm also trying to set up my own business, where I don't have to worry about passing that job interview hurdle. I just have to worry about convincing other people to buy what I want to sell!

Could your DH start his own business? Does he have skills that would help do this? Could he learn them? It doesn't even have to be in the same field. It could be anything - I actually find this a quite liberating idea, would he?

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