Posts Tagged ‘job ads’

Win-win tips for hiring managers and job seekers

November 26th, 2009

(Originally published CareerBulletin, CareerEdge Organization’s Quarterly e-Newsletter)

If you’ve monitored the social network over the past nine months, you may have noticed a litany of complaints from both candidates and recruiters about the challenges of the recruitment process in today’s job market. Recruiters complain that a single advertised opening is attracting hundreds of candidates, many of whom are unsuitable for the role. Job seekers, on the other hand, describe the experience of applying to advertised openings as “tossing my resume into a big, black hole”, and complain about never hearing back from employers.

Having reviewed the most common complaints from both sides of the hiring table, I can offer the following suggestions to reduce the tension and disconnect in the recruitment process.

Tips for hiring managers:

  • Create job descriptions that clearly spell out your expectations. Too many job ads have vague descriptions or lack keywords that can help a candidate assess whether they fit the bill. This encourages “spray and hope” job searches from applicants who are ready to apply for anything and everything.
  • Be realistic about the necessary qualifications to do the job. The opposite of the “too-vague” job description is the one that could be simplified to “Wanted – Superhero.” Rather than narrowing down the candidate pool, a lengthy list of over-the-top expectations can actually dilute the pool, as candidates say “Nobody can meet all these expectations, I may as well toss my hat in the ring and see what happens.”
  • Provide the name & title of a contact person. Nobody wants to write a “dear sir” or a “to whom it may concern” cover letter.
  • Get over the “passive candidate” versus “active candidate” mind-think. The talent pool of active job seekers has never been as rich as it is today, and there are many highly qualified, experienced and motivated candidates who have the flexibility and willingness to start immediately.
  • Don’t make the recruitment process “a big black hole”. Let candidates know you’ve received their application and are seriously considering their candidacy. Special note to users of talent management software: A “form rejection” email less than 10 minutes after the resume has been submitted is still “big black hole” behaviour, it just has the finality of a thud as the candidate hits bottom.

Tips for job seekers:

  • Read the job description. Too many applicants ignore the job description and focus instead on the Job Title. Titles can mean different things in different companies. “Operations Manager” can mean plant management in one company, sales management in another, logistics management in a third, and administrative oversight in a fourth. Use the description to figure out whether this is really a job you are interested in.
  • Be realistic about your qualifications. Just because you think you can do it, does not give you the right to claim it as one of your core skills. Being part of a project team does not necessarily make you a Project Manager, for example.
  • Don’t apply for jobs for which you are clearly unsuitable. It was this strategy that led to the wide spread adoption of impersonal software to screen hundreds of resumes in order to find those few candidates who actually matched the search criteria.
  • Customize the resume to the specific job. Don’t apply for a Bookkeeper job with a resume that says your career target is marketing.
  • Don’t submit “Resume.doc”. Make the hiring manager’s job easier by distinguishing your resume from the 100+ other applications he receives each day. At a minimum, use your name (JohnDoe.doc). Even better, use your name and the target title John_Doe_Operations_Manager.doc).
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Meet Karen Siwak

An award-winning Certified Résumé Strategist, Karen has crafted top calibre career transition packages for thousands of clients. Her specialty is helping people identify and articulate their unique brands and value propositions, and she is passionate about empowering clients with the tools, strategies and confidence to take control of their career search. Read more...

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