Job Search Frustrations

I wanted to share my experiences during my 18-month job search. It has been a demeaning process and I have given up my search.

May of 2020 the US Division of my company closed due to Covid. Because of the shut down, I did not begin sending out resumes until around Sept. 2020. Since that time, I have applied for close to 300 positions in various markets as an Account Executive/Sr. AE. Account Manager/Amazon Specialist. I have had dozens of interviews either by phone or Zoom. Only 3 in person. Here are some of my experiences.

Of the dozens of interviews either with HR, a Recruiter, or a hiring manager, no one took the time to read my resume prior to the interview. I know this because many have said they hadn’t looked at my resume and all have asked why I left my last position. Of the 4 bullet points listed for my last position, the 4th states, “US division closed due to Covid-19”. I find this to be incredibly unprofessional especially since I took the time to prep for the interview by doing a tremendous amount of research and had a list of questions ready to ask.

I have had interviewers typing or texting during my interview.

On 2 separate occasions after speaking to a hiring authority, the interview closed with them saying “I think you would be great for the position. I’ll speak to HR.” Which sounded and led me to believe that I would be getting an offer only to be met with either ghosting when I sent a follow-up email after much time had passed or I was sent the statement, “It’s too early in the process to make a decision.”

I had 2 Zoom interviews with a company in which I had 3 people on the screen. None of them turned their cameras on so I just interviewed to a blank screen.

A car was required for the job but not listed in the job posting. The need for a car wasn’t disclosed until the interview.

During a Zoom interview I was asked to view their website and make recommendations on how they could increase their business. After sending the interviewer my thoughts she requested that I speak to 2 of her managers. A week later, after contacting my recruiter, I was told that the company “decided to go in a different direction.”

A recruiter from major multi-million cosmetic company contacted me for a phone interview. She rescheduled the interview several times. On 1 occasion she needed to reschedule and asked my availability on a specific day. I said I was available from 9-2. She scheduled the interview for 2:15. I did not correct her but rearranged my day to accommodate her. After waiting 20 after the scheduled time, I emailed her to ask if she need to reschedule since I hadn’t heard from her. What she failed to tell me was that I was supposed to call her instead of her contacting me. We did finally speak, and she later scheduled me for a Zoom interview with 2 hiring managers. Prior to that time, she mentioned that in addition to the job I had initially applied for she had another position that she thought I would fit. I spoke to the 2 hiring managers at the same time which meant I had to maneuver a split screen. A few days after the interview the in-house recruiter contacted me and said the decision had been made to take me out of consideration. I asked her if we could set up a time to discuss the other position that she had mentioned. I received no response other than an email with a link to fill out a survey regarding my experience regarding the interview/recruiting process.

A recruiting company continues to send me emails regarding job posting always saying, “We have your resume on file. Please review the attached job posting and if you are interested, please send us an updated resume.” If they have my resume on file, why do they need a new one? Also, I continually reply to their emails but have never even had a recruiter contact me to assess my background.

A recruiter sent me a job posting saying, “Take a look at this!” It seemed that I checked all the boxes. Later she told me that I didn’t meet all the requirements for the position yet what she said I was lacking was not listed within the job requirements. If that was the case, then why send me the job posting?

A coordinator at a major recruiting firm spent exactly 4 ½ minutes on the phone ‘assessing my background.’

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Hi StarshineNYC

First thing- I feel your pain! I too have been dealing with an exhausting 18 month job search.

I have experienced so many similar things that you have during interviews. The one that really gets me (aside from the obvious ghosting), is the company not bothering to read my resume.

More than that though, I have really had it with recruiters. I also get a lot of responses to send an updated resume. Most of the time, it is from a recruiter I have recently spoken to. Why would my resume have changed so soon?! I usually respond with “Please see my resume on file” but I don’t think they bother looking.
I get so many emails about assistant level roles (even some internships!) and I have been in the industry for 11 years. It’s really mind-boggling how absent minded some of these organizations can be. Job searching is exhausting enough as it is.
I have actually had to block an entire recruiting agency because of how rude and condescending they have been to me. When I had mentioned seeking remote/hybrid roles, I was told “grow up, remote work is over”. Excuse me, this is how you speak to clients?

All of this has driven me to seek out jobs outside of this industry. Life is too short to consistently put myself in demeaning situations.

I hope the best for you and that you will find the right job for yourself! Don’t settle for anything less than. Even though it may seem isolating, others are in the same boat. Hang in there!

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Thank you for your response. It makes me know that I’m not the only one. I too have looked outside of the fashion industry (publishing/teaching) but still rejected and the pay low. I will tell you that hybrid jobs are not obsolete as most all that I have interviewed for have that in place. Anyway, thanks again for your support!

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I try not to work with recruiters. I had a horrible experience with one years ago. Recruiters seem to think it is okay to mistreat candidates because we are not the client. Many Hr are not much better but I always remind myself if that is the way they treat you do you want to work for that company? Also leave your feedback on Glassdoor . It’s like Uber the more people who rate a company negatively helps give the company a bad rep and may finally be the only impetus to help change their behavior.

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StyleCareers will be adding an Agency Review feature in the coming months. Good, bad or otherwise, people in our industry need to hear about others’ experiences with the agencies that specialize in fashion.

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Hi All,

I was out of work 10 months due to a Covid RIF so I understand the challenges in the market. A year ago most open positions were going to internal movement and promotion as that is always the cheapest and easiest way. But in the last 6 months, people are once again leaving positions for growth which is causing new openings and also causing employees to once again put in measures to retain employees. Recruiters (internal company) or Fashion recruiters are all the same. Too many resumes coming in and if anything is not 100% match to what the hiring mananger wants they ghost you regardless of what step you are in the process, even final. They just move on quickly. No one has the courtesy or the decency and give proper updates and feedback.
My advice is to try and connect with someone internally after you applied and have that person try and advocate for you to the hiring manager. Sending your resume and getting through the ATS is not enough. Need to try and gain insight as to what the hiring manager is looking for and also if the job is even being considered for an external candidate. I am sure you know all this but it is worth repeating. Additionally, it might be wise to now put something down on your CV like consulting to fill in the gap from the Covid downsize till now.

Good luck with things.

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I’m currently working but am looking for a new job (a lot of personality issues where I’m now).
I’ve been having the same experience. I recently interviewed with a major company, spoke with HR (phone), a high level sales person (zoom), SVP (in person) and lastly a EVP (zoom).
EVP said I got rave reviews and we seemed to have a good interview. He did say he was interviewing other candidates and would get back to me. Never heard a word!
I know someone who works there and they said they didn’t hire anyone and don’t know what they want. I emailed SVP and HR no reply.
Don’t get me started on headhunters, recruiters and “talent” people.

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Hi Starshine
It really helped me to read your post. I too got let go in 2020 for covid ( although i think it was their excuse to cull the company too) and had an exhausting 18 month search. I am a senior level designer and i was shocked…at first…to see this whole industry implode. To see that i would be starting over at my age and level was so sobering, depressing and mystifying. My work experience and background were always my selling point, having owned businesses, worked start ups and done corporate. But these things seem to not matter anymore, unless i am a social media expert i guess!
After 18 months i got a lower position at a small company, but alas it only lasted a few months, for a number of reasons. So now im back out there, like groundhog day, searching, cajoling, redoing and remaking my resume and portfolio every couple of weeks in hopes of hitting that sweet spot. I have had a few actual interviews, but those are pretty discouraging, owing to the work conditions or the product assortment or something or other. I know what its like to dread going to a job and im not willing to do that, especially for an assistant’s salary. Its a constant soul searching.
I would love to leave this industry and i have applied to teaching positions, retail positions, administrative positions but to no avail. I have zero experience in most of these other industries and im not 35 anymore. And im not a social media expert. So, nothing.
But im just here for moral support. I have no solutions for anyone, i guess we just keep trying!
All we need is one job.

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It really has been a bit of a demeaning and depressing experience. And something that no one every wants to admit—ageism is rampant in the fashion industry.

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How do people feel about job listings that don’t have company info? Are they real or just fishing to see what’s just there?

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At least you have had companies interview you. I have sent my resume out with portfolio I keep updating, for 3 1/2 years now. I’m a designer.
The last 3 companies I worked for closed or sold to larger companies of which one went bankrupt and closed. I have sent my resume out to over 500-600 listings and in the last year have only had three phone interviews leading to nothing.
I have had to segue into an unrelated field just to earn a fraction of my design salary.
Many of my friends have left the fashion industry altogether.
I’m sitting here right now on a Saturday night updating my computer design skills and updating my portfolio once again.
I never thought my last design job which ended after a year would literally be my LAST design job.

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@Vetdesigner I feel for you. So upsetting to have good people who have worked hard and can’t catch a break. I have worked in many capacities in the industry and people are just thrown away. When I tell people outside of the industry what goes on they can’t believe it.
I would not recommend any area in Fashion to a young person today

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Your post really hurts. It’s heartbreaking to do everything right; to try and do back flips just to get someone to notice you and yet the results are to be ignored.

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Ageism is rampant in the industry. My resume gets through the ATS, both recruiters and corporate HR call me, I have had more than a few solid interviews & callbacks for second interviews, but when the people making the hiring decisions are all at least a dozen years younger than the candidate they don’t make the offer.

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I 100% agree about ageism. However, if you can convince the young hiring managers through an updated and fresh portfolio, they might be more open to hiring you. The key to getting them on board is appearing current. They need to see that you are savvy with what’s happening on social media, that you know all the right computer skills and that you have a flexible attitude towards bending to whatever direction they give. What helps the most is if they know through a co-worker or a close friend that you are a reliable performer. So network extensively. I only suggest this, because I have had three hiring managers who were younger than me by atleast 10-15 years as is my current one and these tips worked with them. Good luck! Do not be disheartened, you only need one break, however long it takes.

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That’s all well and good until they see your face🙃

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Please continue to try other industries and other cities. It sounds like you are in sales, StarshineNYC: can that translate to home, textiles etc? Other industries are not nearly as rude as fashion, nor as poorly paid. Due to ageism, I have given up sending resumes; I obtain freelance work through word of mouth. Good luck!

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I do appreciate your encouragement and I don’t want to come across as a negative Nelly but I’ve tried everything. Different markets and different cities Yes, I’m in sales and I spent many years in the industry as well fashion. I really don’t know what to do anymore.

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@OL78 what location of the US do you live? NY Metro?

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I have good computer skills, don’t look my age, took 10 yrs of exerience off my resume and do have a pretty big network. Besides ageism, unrealistic job postings are asking for 10+ years experience across any and all aspects of everything that goes into a fashion product and only willing to pay 50K salary.

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