Career Resources

Avoid the “Square peg in a round hole” Syndrome

Jerri Ann Lamb

Summer is here and it is HOT, HOT, HOT. It is only appropriate that I share a hot topic with you among hiring managers and recruiters. As I continue to provide suggestions related to networking, I’ll share some concerns voiced by hiring managers and recruiters across the country. I’m going to give you the inside scoop.

One frustration that I hear frequently is unintentional (possibly sometimes intentional)misrepresentation of an applicant’s ability and experience. As professionals we all know, and agree, that it is not acceptable to fabricate a resume.

I often hear hiring mangers and recruiters say they dislike candidates who insist they can do the job when they clearly do not have the experience or skills.

Let me give you some common examples:

Recently a hiring manager had a Registered Dietitian (RD) call about a very specialized position. The RD insisted that although she had been in real estate for the last 10 years she could hit the ground running in a high acuity hospital specializing in a variety of diseases. As the conversation continued, the RD revealed that she did not know what a nutrition care process was but continued to insist she could hit the ground running. This is a misrepresentation (possibly misunderstanding) of her actual abilities; at minimum she was trying to put a square peg in a round hole. It just was not the right fit. This is not an effective way to network for potential opportunities.

Another common example:

I often hear from hiring managers that entry level RDs insist they have the experience for a specialized position posted which specifically requires three or more years of experience or requiring management experience. Recently a candidate that was RD eligible insisted that she had two years of experience. In reality, she had been completing her applied practice and Master’s degree the past two years. This did not translate into two years of applicable experience for the position she wanted. She was trying to put a square peg in a round hole and it was not an affective way to network for potential opportunities. She may have tarnished her reputation down the line with that company or hiring manager.

In these scenarios (and many others), a more affective approach would be to identify that it is not the right opportunity and ask the hiring manager or recruiter to keep you in mind for other opportunities and possibly share your resume with other recruiters or hiring mangers.

To avoid misrepresenting yourself, be sure that you understand the job description and only continue to present yourself as qualified if you are truly qualified as defined by the job description. That’s also good networking!

Jerri Ann Lamb has been a Registered Dietitian for 15 years. Currently she is the only RD that has specialized in exclusively resourcing Registered Dietitians in Healthcare and Hospitality for more than 10 years. As founder and Operator of Dietitian Select Jerri Ann is passionate about resourcing Registered Dietitians. Visit Contact Jerri Ann at and 859-553-4187.

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