A letter to AT&T Human Resources…

UPDATE: A new article was just posted by the Wall Street Journal that has particular bearing on this post… check out “Software Screening Rejects Job Seekers” because this is EXACTLY what happened to me when I applied for AT&T’s open position. Just because I didn’t rank my MS Excel skills high enough…  I ask you, HOW MANY designers REALLY use Excel on a daily basis?!?  Ridiculous…

Now back to the original post…

A little background. I after 10 years of experience as a graphic designer in Seattle, I was laid off from the company I was working for because of the downturn in the economy. I spent two and a half years on Unemployment while freelancing at the same time. That’s why my Unemployment stretched so far – each time I’d do a job, I’d claim the income and not receive Unemployment benefits… it was really hard, and I was applying for 6+ jobs a WEEK. Several times I was told I was “overqualified”, a word I do not think belongs in our vocabulary of 2010-2012 economic conditions. If someone HAS THE EXPERIENCE, and is WILLING TO TAKE A JOB that pays less than they made before BECAUSE JOBS ARE SO SCARCE, then stinkin’ HIRE THEM!

Anyways, one such job I applied for was as a Visual Designer of Product Marketing for AT&T. At the time, I had 12 years of professional UI/UX, Web and Marketing design under my belt. The one skill I was lacking a bit… Excel…  Read on.

Dear William A. Blase, Jr. (Senior Executive Vice President, Human Resources), Chris Reckard (Art Director/Technical Director) and the AT&T Human Resources Department,

This afternoon I applied for your Visual Interactive Designer position (1049321). Within a minute of completing my application materials, your Taleo system shot me back a rejection notice, saying I did not meet the job criteria.

Obviously, your Taleo robot is short-circuiting, and likely on to the fact that I am aware of its participation in the coming robot apocalypse. Please reconsider my application materials, resume, and over 12 years of professional experience as an interactive and print designer. I assure you, I am more than qualified.

And please do not put your faith in a droid. They cannot be trusted.


Rob Christianson, Designer + Illustrator

http://www.RobTheDesigner.com | (253) 217-2032

Follow me on Twitter! http://www.twitter.com/robchristianson
Connect with me on LinkedIn! http://www.linkedin.com/in/robchristianson

Dear Rob,

Thank you for your interest in the position of AT&T Senior Product Marketing Manager – Visual & Interaction Design- Redmond, WA-1049321. Based on the required prescreen questions and/or required testing, you did not meet all of the required criteria for this position.

Please continue to check regularly to learn of other opportunities.

We thank you for your interest and wish you luck in your job search.

Best regards,
AT&T Management Staffing


4 Replies to “A letter to AT&T Human Resources…”

  1. Hey John. I merely tweeted and facebooked and otherwise blasted the social networks with my blog posting title and link, and hashtag, and they caught wind of it and called me up. They found my phone number and called to schedule a time when we could discuss. It all boiled down to their questionaire putting a lot of (unindicated) heavy weight on Excel skills… very unusual for a designer role. I asked them to please refine their posted job requirements for projects like that, and it was an amenable conversation. Like I said, they were in the midst of a massive snowstorm so employees were working from home, and their employee called me with her personal cell phone from her house. I was just frustrated by the automatic nature of the system, making judgements without reviewing my portfolio or work history. I’d suggest joining their recruiting group on Facebook – it’s geared toward college students, but not discriminatory.

  2. How did you contact them for a call? I received the same message. Which is ridiculous. I’m applying to be a Full Time Sales Consultant (Basically the guy that sells phones in the store). I don’t understand how I am not qualified for this. Considering the qualifications are Highschool, loving technology, and a years worth of experience in Sales.

  3. What would be the point in lying to get a shot at a job you are not qualified for? First of all, it’s wrong to lie in the first place. Second, as you said, what if you get the job and it turns out it’s not for you. Why go to all that extra effort? It doesn’t make sense.

    This issue was resolved when AT&T called me. Apparently, a prescreen question was looking for a high level of Excel experience. The disconnect came because that was not mentioned in the job description at all, so a half hour of my life was wasted in the burdensome Taleo application process, where “expert level Excel experience” listed in the job description would have saved me time and frustration… so it’s all good. Not only did they contact me and let me know why, the person used their personal cell phone to get in touch during the middle of a snowstorm as they were working from home. Now THAT’S customer service. That’s why I still love AT&T. I just hate robots.

    As for their job, I wish them the best of luck filling it – personally, I only know one designer who is an expert in Excel (it’s not a common trait among 99% of the designers I know of)… maybe I should refer her for the job… ;)

  4. It’s like signing up for a dating site and using their screening questions. Do you have a problem with that “bot” automation? You wouldn’t want to go on a date with every person who thinks they are right for you, would you? Screening questions select those who are most qualified…and yes, humans create those questions, and they are very broad compared to the ones in the interview.

    So you might argue that a “droid” only allows through people who can answer the questions right. Well, if you are lying in the prescreen then you will be called for a job that may not be a fit, and then whose time did you waste?

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