Seven Common Job Search Objections -- and How to Overcome Them

Job Search ObjectionsBy Don Asher, America's Job Search Guru and author of 'Cracking the Hidden Job Market'

If you've been in the job market for more than five minutes, you've heard some networking contact or employer give you the brush off with these objections:

1. We're not hiring.

2. Just apply online.

3. I'm too busy to talk to you.

4. Just send me your resume.

5. I don't have any leads for you.

6. I don't handle this type of thing. Call HR.

7. Don't call us. We'll call you.

These are the seven deadly objections you'll run into in a job search. Objections are an interesting linguistic device. Objections are neither literal nor logical. The meaning behind an objection may be quite different from the words that come out of your contact's mouth.

For example, "I don't have any leads for you" may mean "I'd love to help you, but I'm sitting here hoping that you don't ask me for a job, because I like you and I don't want to be put in the uncomfortable position of saying 'no' to you. Besides, the whole idea of unemployment scares me, and if you sound desperate it might just totally creep me out."

"We're not hiring" is almost never true, either. They're hiring somebody, maybe in some other department or in some other state, but they're definitely hiring somebody.

"Just send me your resume" usually doesn't mean that at all. It usually means "Get off my phone." Same goes for "I'm too busy." "Just apply online" means, yep, you got it: "Get off my phone."

You can overcome some objections by making it clear in advance that you're not asking them for a job, and by being enthusiastic about your search and the world of possibility out there.

Remember that you don't have to overcome the objection literally or logically. In fact, an advanced technique is simply to agree with the objection. "I'm too busy to meet with you" is completely disarmed when you say, "Yeah. I heard you guys were really successful right now. That's great."

Suddenly, it's the other person's turn to speak, and the conversation continues. There may be a pause, and you may want to fill that pause, but don't. It's the other person's turn, and I assure you, she'll start speaking soon enough.

She'll jump in with something like, "Well, how can I assist you? I'm underwater with work, so a face-to-face is out, but what else could I do that might help you out?" That's exactly what you want to have happen.

In fact, objections appear right before someone decides to help you. In sales theory, the sale only begins with the objections. Sales professionals are trained to listen for objections, because they are a buy signal.

Objections can come over the phone or in e-mails, and you'll see the same ones over and over. Learn to juggle objections and you can massively increase your success in networking and accessing hiring managers. Here are some lines to help you get started:

Objection: We're not hiring.

Response: That's OK. I'm not applying for a job with you anyway. I am just interested in your advice.

Objection: Just apply online.

Response: Actually, I'm going to be applying through official channels, as well, but I wondered if you could give me a little inside information.

Objection: I'm too busy to talk to you.

Response: This will only take a moment.

Objection: Just send me your resume.

Response: Great. What's your e-mail. I'll send it to you while we're talking.

Objection: I don't have any leads for you.

Response: No problem at all. I wonder if you could share any advice with me. What's the best thing I could be doing to find a job in this field?

Objection: I don't handle this type of thing. Call HR.

Response:Who should I be talking to about this? I appreciate the referral. May I mention your name?

Objection: Don't call us. We'll call you.

Response: Great. No problem at all. But when, if I have not heard from you by then, should I check back in with you to see where I stand? Two weeks? A month? What's best?

Remember, you don't have to overcome the objection logically. You just have to keep the conversation moving over this rough spot. You'll double or triple the number of people who can help you find your next position.

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Adapted with permission from 'Cracking the Hidden Job Market: How to Find Opportunity in Any Economy.' Copyright © 2011 by Donald Asher, Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. Donald Asher is the author of 12 books on careers and higher education, and the creator of the Stone Soup Club phenomenon for job seekers. Get a Stone Soup Club starter kit from

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