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How long is not long enough to be at a job?

A few weeks back, I had a bad experience with a job interviewer. Only a limited number of jobs make sense for where I am, career-wise, and so I approach the job search more surgically than in the past.

With that in mind, someone in my network—let’s call him Dave—posted an opening on LinkedIn. In fact, Dave was the hiring manager. Dave and I had connected few months prior; a mutual friend had attempted to connect us for work purposes. He apparently reached out to Dave, but Dave never reached out to me.

After about six weeks, I sent a LinkedIn request to Dave with a brief message to inquire if he still needed help on his project. He never responded, but accepted my connection.

Fast forward a few months, and Dave posts this job. I applied within 24 hours of the posting, as the role aligned well with my background and interests. I then asked our mutual friend if he’d message Dave on my behalf.

This is where I get miffed.

My mutual friend messaged me back a few days later and told me Dave wasn’t interested in me as an applicant because of short stints he saw on my LinkedIn. And to be fair to Dave, these were my jobs in consecutive order:

  • Cardcruncher: 8 months
  • Vaco: 9 months
  • Condé Nast Traveler: 7 months

What’s not included there: These jobs stretched from 2017-2019. Dave skipped over the fact that I was at one job between 2019 and 2023 for 3.5 years, at another prior to 2017 for 3 years, and before that, at another for 2.5 years.

More things Dave couldn’t know: One of those short-term jobs was the worst job I’ve ever had—and I’ve worked as a roofer, dishwasher and landscaper. I was a contractor at two of those three jobs with expensive health insurance and a crappy (if non-existent) retirement plan. The third offered no benefits. I liked that job, but then a headhunter called me offering a $40,000 raise.

Here’s Dave, making a big assumption about who I am as a person over three lines on my resume…MORE THAN 5 YEARS AGO.

And yet, there was an interview

I thanked my friend for the intel, and he said he’d tell Dave he disagreed. It must have worked, because Dave then contacted me to schedule an interview about two weeks later.

It made sense to schedule the interview, if only because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite and guilty of being as dismissive as Dave over limited information. Maybe Dave had a bad day. Maybe he was busy. Who knows.

The first thing Dave led off with in our interview was, “I’m really excited about the variety of experience you bring to the table,” or something along those lines. It doesn’t matter what the exact quote was, but I knew he was lying.

A week earlier, Dave had told my friend he wasn’t interested because he thought, in no uncertain terms, that I was a job-hopper. Now Dave was telling me it was an asset. People can certainly evolve with more information, but it seemed pretty clear through the rest of the interview that Dave viewed me with a skeptical eye.

I got the automated rejection two days later, and honestly, was glad to be done with it. Life is too short to accept the way someone like Dave talked about me and to me.

No one is simply the sum of lines on a resume. Not even Dave.

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