The Dating Corollary: “It’s Not You, It’s Me” (hint: it’s you)

As mentioned in the introduction (and you read the introduction, right? No? Go read it over here), in the first follow up (and you read that one too, right? No? Go read it over here), then in the next one about counter-offers over here, and we even covered how to handle a break up over here, and why you can’t change people over there…we’re going to chat about some of the similarities between the wild world of dating, looking for a job, hiring someone, and just networking in general.

Now yes, we’ve already talked about break ups…but now we’re going to talk about a specific situation in a break up.

Because when you hear “It’s not you…it’s me”, you’re getting politely lied to.

It’s you.

Trust me…it’s you

I cannot even begin to describe how annoyed I am right now that there’s someone floating around our group causing me to get emails from recruiters asking me how to…well, basically how to break up with this person.

They don’t want to represent him any more.  They will never send him out on another interview ever again.  They want no more (constant) phone calls, no more emails (to everyone in the office he’s managed to get an email address for), no more interactions at all.

They want to end the relationship.


His attitude completely sucks, and he can’t even manage to keep it hidden long enough to survive a job interview without the hiring manager calling the recruiter (or, in this case, “recruiters”, because this is number three now that I’m hearing from about this same person) to ask why they bothered to send him in for the interview in the first place given his snarling, craptastic and condescending demeanor.  He’s obviously never read The Recruiter Strikes Back, or Don’t Be That Guy: The Bad Candidate, or hell, probably even anything on our site given the Super Tool status he’s managed to achieve in short order.

So do they take the nice way…or the honest way…out of this relationship?

The nice way is, you guessed it, “It’s not you…it’s me”.  That can take the form of “We just really don’t have anything for you right now, but we’ve got your resume, and we sure will call if something comes up!” or even just “We’ll call you if and when something comes up”.

But that’s a lie.

Sure, it’s a little white lie…and it saves the recruiter from having a hard, and potentially awkward, conversation with someone…but, well, I keep coming back to my first Don’t Be That Guy Entry from back in the day – Even That Guy Deserves Help.

If you’re in this for the right reasons, then one of those reasons is that you like helping people.  So what more help can you possibly give than to sit this toolbox down and tell him the truth?

You call him up, and you offer to take him to lunch.  This isn’t a conversation you have in writing, and it’s not even one that you have over the phone.  You get there, you sit down, (you make sure there are no sharp knives on the table…just to be safe) and then when he gets there and sit down you say something along the lines of:

hint: wear this shirt to lunch

“Look, this is why I invited you to lunch today.  The reason why you’re not getting a job…is you.  Our own internal feedback says that your attitude sucks and is holding you back.  The feedback from the people you’ve interviewed with says that your attitude sucks and is holding you back.  You obviously have solid enough skills to get the interview, but you’re never going to get a job until you fix it.  Work on your attitude, get your head on straight, and then give me a call and I’ll be more than happy to find you a job…until then, nobody in our office has any interest at all in working with you or hearing from you.  Nobody.  Now, do you want to stay for lunch and we can chat about ways to improve things and how you can help yourself, or are you going to stomp your feet and storm off in a huff here in a minute?  Let me know, because either way I’m here for lunch.”

Worst case scenario?  Well, given that you made sure there were no sharp knives on the table, he’ll call you a jerk (or something else…but who cares?) and storm out.  Problem solved.

Best case scenario?  He sits down, listens, and actually pays attention to what you have to say.  He gets his crap together, you’re eventually able to help him find a new job, and you’ve made a lifelong connection that’ll sing your praises at every opportunity.

The only thing that happens if you take the easy way out is that he gets more and more pissed off…and becomes someone else’s problem.

And come on…that’s just not nice to do to someone.

So, dear job seeker…if you’re out there and you’re starting to wonder if you’ve been getting the “it’s not me, it’s you” speech…here’s some reading material you should be using as a checklist to see if you exhibit behaviors that would trigger that talk:

Don’t Be That Guy: The Recruiter Strikes Back –

Don’t Be That Guy: Overblown Sense of Entitlement Guy –

Don’t Be That Guy: The Bad Candidate –

And you can totally ignore me, too.  That’s cool.  It’s your life.  You wanna stay unemployed or at the miserable job you’re trying to get out of?  Again, totally cool.  You’re having zero impact on my life…

…oh wait, you’re making me write entries like this.

So either read this and start making some changes…or know what you’re walking into when I call and invite you to lunch.

Because this will be printed out and waiting for you on the table.