Gawker, Shea Gunther, 42 reasons the hiring manager doesn’t like you

A bunch of people got upset last week when Shea Gunther, a hiring manager, sent an email to about 900 people telling them what the general problems were when he got applications for an opening he had.

He was blunt, and called it like he saw it.  He even had 42 points of violations that he saw, including, well, just go read it for yourself.

What do I think about this letter?


I must be in the minority, because the comments were pretty nasty.  People called him all kinds of bad names.  They made fun of him, insulted him, and generally hated on him.

Here’s the funny part: we, as job seekers, really want the feedback.  We want to know why we’re not considered for the job, or brought in to an interview.

And then Shea tells people what they did wrong (nothing personal, really, a lot of feedback from seeing hundreds of resumes and approaches).

He tells them what people did wrong, and people freak out.

I think they are all wrong.  They sound like a bunch of whiners.  What they really need to do is go down the list, see if they are making those problems, and stop whining, and fix their approach.

Or, they can stay unemployed and keep whining and blaming someone else for their situation.

Here’s his response to his letter being leaked out.

10 thoughts on “Gawker, Shea Gunther, 42 reasons the hiring manager doesn’t like you”

  1. Okay Jason, we’re going to have to split the difference on this one.

    While I am still reading through the 42 reasons why Shea Gunter didn’t give the bulk of the 900+ applicants a second look, I will agree with the notion of a hiring manager giving feedback. And giving direct, blunt feedback.

    This was not just direct feedback. The tone is not one of a frustrated hiring manager with an open letter to all to offer tips for improvement. This was a list of 42 reason why everyone just (and the only way I can put it) sucks. None of what I’ve been through so far sound constructive. It’s just bashing. It borders on being abusive.

  2. Cleveland, thanks for the input. I don’t disagree with you – what Shea said was blunt and honest… when I was in my job search I probably would have hated him right away. How could he let such trivial things (mistakes) cause my resume to go into the trash pile, even though I was clearly the right person?

    However, in the spirit of “tough love,” I think what he said needed to be said. I didn’t get the impression he did this to be mean or jaded. Maybe he did! Maybe his was just a PR play… but what he said is what needs to be said to many job seekers out there.

    Love him or hate him, or how he delivered it, these 42 rules should be used to re-evaluate a job search… especially if you continue to not make the progress you think you’ll make.

  3. I just read the 42 reasons, and I am going to say as a job seeker, I appreciate the feedback, I didn’t see too many I was guilty of but some of them I have to agree with what Shea was saying (Poetry, really, in a job application).

    Its all feedback, take it as a good thing that someone is actually giving you something to work with rather than most job posters whom you never hear anything back from, so all you know is you didn’t get the job, but you don’t know why.
    What if you were one of those people on the bubble and didn’t even know it. One small correction/update could have gotten you to the second round.

    If you recognize yourself in the comments, do take it personally, because you personally need a job and this will help.

  4. LOVED this! Shea Gunther should be lifted in victory on the shoulders of hiring managers everywhere! He was brave enough to speak the truth. As someone who has been on both sides of this issue I appreciate his candor. I didn’t think he was mean spirited at all.

  5. I read through it, and I don’t think it’s nasty or abusive in tone at all. I think he was clearly explaining why people didn’t get considered. Maybe if I was guilty of all those, I’d react different, but it seems like great advice to me. He’s trying to be a little funny in it, but as he mentions, funny is hard to pull off. For anyone who thinks it was aggressive and mean, see the point about humor being hard to pull off in the written word.

    I also think it’s great and full of very good tips. When you’re on of 900+, little things like that will doom you. They’re looking for reasons to throw your resume out – not to keep it!

  6. As a career coach, these are exactly the kinds of things I tell my clients all the time! I love Shea’s article. Fortunately, he is a great writer and his email was engaging and easy to read. It should be posted for ANY job seeker. If job seekers were prepared, hiring managers wouldn’t need to write this kind of email!

  7. Joining the bandwagon, these are great points — and you shouldn’t be making these mistakes in the first place. If the job ad says to use a specific subject, use it. Deviation has its place but not until you’re through the gate.

  8. For the most part, I thought it was helpful. Most hiring managers/HR Departments are afraid to make these observations and let an applicant know – whether the pool is 9 or 900. Even when asked for specific feedback from the applicant. (usually post interview though)

    90% of these things are mistakes we have all made at one time or another. The trick is learning from the knowledge of those mistakes and not making them in the future. It still doesn’t mean you will get the job- or even an interview, but it will not be because you didn’t follow directions. It will be because your experience (or something else) isn’t a fit for the organization.

    It amazes me how many employers feel it necessary to say “put {position title} in the subject line” in the posting for that position. In my mind that shouldn’t be necessary.

    What really amazes me about this is how many people out there seem to think that calling someone a nasty name is the answer. As much as I enjoy (a Gawker site) there really is no call for this kind of behavior.

    What it does, at least to some degree is highlight the fact he made the correct decision on many of those who responded. I am certain most if not all of these people wouldn’t say those things to his face if he was their employer. And if they did, they wouldn’t be for very long.

    His application instructions were VERY specific – and he called out those who ignored them. That being said, some of his complaints may not apply across all professions, but were dead on in my mind for someone who will be writing for a living. In general though I think at least most of them will apply regardless. Some of it “Job hunting 101”.

    I saw this on my way to a Professional Network Group meeting I went to this morning. I recommended to everyone of the 30 people there read it. It is good information regardless. Some items I don’t necessarily agree with (cover letter as an attachment for one – in most cases for example) although in this case where he asked for a single paragraph I would just put it in the body of the email.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Jason.

  9. I don’t understand the hoopla. It’s excellent advice and I didn’t find the tone offensive.

  10. I FREAKING love!! the blog post, too! The guy took the time to write a 42!! point critique. Clearly, there’s a need for his message. If someone sees it as abusive, that probably was the person who submitted the poetry or the 11-page resume. With all the free information out there about job search and resume writing, there’s no excuse for not knowing.
    Thanks for putting it out there.

Comments are closed.