Civil Engineers: Job Search & Rejection

December 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm 1 comment

By Carol A. Metzner
President, The Metzner Group, LLC and
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of

View Carol’s profile & connect with her on LinkedIn

No one likes to be rejected–whether it be from a potential job, promotion, client or love interest. It’s disheartening, and human nature causes us to ask “Why am I being turned down?”

If I can generalize a bit, civil engineers are analytical thinkers and are more comfortable dealing with concrete (excuse the pun)  facts. When presented with a problem, they like to solve it. Ambiguity in engineering solutions isn’t good. Now take that logical thinking and try to apply it to a potential job search or job change. The decision to make a job change is partly an analytical, but mostly an emotional, decision.

So now you embark on a job search, whether by choice or force. Perhaps you get a call from a recruiter about an excellent opportunity,  your employer presents another round of layoffs or your current work environment becomes undesirable. You update your resume (which should ALWAYS be current) and forward in the process you go.

You identify an opportunity and on paper think you’ve found a good match. You may even make it through the initial screening process and have an interview. Surprisingly to you, at some point in the process, it comes to a halt. You’re rejected. Whether by the internal recruiter/search consultant/hiring executive, you’re knocked out of the process.

While it’s important to hear why you’re not a good fit, you may not be given a solid, descriptive reason. This takes us back to the analytical thinker having to accept an ambiguous explanation. It’s not natural or comfortable. But, it is the situation. Whether you really wanted the job or not, it’s now not an option. And, to top it off, you’re not given a reasonable explanation for why you were turned down. In some cases, perhaps a successful project was overlooked or an aspect of your career history was misunderstood or miscommunicated. Regardless, trying to debate or overcome the objections that are raised rarely works to your benefit.

There are many factors that play into the decision that go beyond the “paper fit.” Some of these reasons may never be discussed. Are they reasonable, or even legal? Whether they are or not, they exist:

*   Personality
*   Age
*   Physical dress/appearance
*   Confidential “off-the-record” reference
*   Inappropriate comment made that you didn’t realize was inappropriate
*   Real skill set needed to succeed in job is not as described in the job description
*   Your skill set is not as strong as you perceive it to be
*   Stronger candidate comes along
*   Job put on hold
*   Perception in marketplace of your current Employer/Supervisor

Just remember that although your job search is very personal to you, the rejection isn’t personal, it’s just business. And, as with business, you pick yourself up and go on.

civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion


Entry filed under: Career Development, Civil Engineering, civil engineering blog, Civil Engineering Issues, Civil Engineering Jobs, Headhunters.

And The Winner Is… Wishes For The New Year!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Olalekan  |  August 9, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I have suffered rejections and I don’t know why? I guess my background could be a factor…I’m foreign born…that could be a factor i don’t know…


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