You hear this story from both sides. Human Resources complains that good applicants are so hard to find. They have a sea of resumes and not one of them is good enough. On the other hand, you are sick and tired of HR never calling you back when you meet all their qualifications on a job posting. Both sides are very frustrated with the process. However, there are many positions that need to be filled, and many applicants applying. How can this problem be solved?
Applicant Tracking System
ATS is a blessing and a curse for human resources. On the one hand, it saves HR time because they use keywords to quickly sort through hundreds sometimes thousands of applications. However, this same ‘blessing’ is a curse too. If your resume doesn’t have the exact keyword the recruiter puts into ATS your resume remains essentially goes into a black hole. You lose the job, and the recruiter loses a good employee and you lose a good opportunity.
Good work is so hard to find
Hiring managers have an exhausting job. Interviewing and searching for applicants can be tedious. When every candidate you interview in a day is a dud that can be very disheartening. Some applicants are clearly unqualified which can be frustrating. When I worked at big car company one of our customers was trying to hire an engineer for the company. There was a specific skill set that went along with that. He was getting applications from people who were selling candles through direct sales. Two completely different things! When I worked at property management company a guy mailed me an application for my job. Had he paid more attention, he would have researched the company online, and gone to the careers link to see avaliable positions.
Do applicants even look at the job qualifications?
Why do you think ATS was put into place? If HR only received applications and resumes from qualified candidates, they probably wouldn’t need this software. However, 50% of applicants are not qualified for the job they are applying for! This makes it hard on the applicants that do qualify.
Does the job still exist?
Sometimes the job you applied for, no longer exists. It hasn’t been filled or anything like that, it just flat doesn’t exist in the same capacity. The HR rep said, ‘Oh wait, I actually want someone with an entirely different set of skills for this position’. Therefore, all those resumes go into the black hole of despair for the hungry job hunter. I can’t think of a better way to breed resentment toward a company. This is a lose lose for both parties.
You will never find the perfect candidate
There, I said it. The perfect person for the job will not be found in the sea of applicants. You are not hiring keywords you are hiring people. Even if you have seemingly perfect keywords in your resume, it’s not enough. Nick Corcodilos said it really well. “You never know which keywords will trigger a positive response. It’s kind of like buying a lottery ticket.” This is not how hiring should work. As human resources you are in charge of hiring the best talent, to help the business grow and profit. Hiring employees is a huge investment that should not be left to chance.
The system is flawed and human resources knows it
Boom! Mic drop! HR even admits that the system they are using is flawed. 30-50% of recruiting efforts are considered failures according to staffing.org and recruiting intelligence. They either rejected the offer or quit or were fired within the first year. Recruiting round-table even stated that 50% of those who accepted the position later regretted it.
So, what is the solution?
There are a couple different solutions.
- You can tailor your resume to the job for which you are applying: Now I know this can be difficult. If you are down to your last package of ramen and are broke as a joke, then this is a hard one. You’re tempted to shot gun your resume to anyone with an opening and hope for the best. Is it a numbers game, right? That may get you a job, but it is not likely give you anything long-term. However, you need to pay the bills, I understand that. But, if you find the ‘perfect job’ you need to be the best applicant. There is a lot of competition.
- Networking: The best way to get a job is by knowing someone. It doesn’t mean that the most qualified person will get the job. It simply means the most well-connected person will get the job. But, what if you are new in town or a new grad?
This is a great way to meet future employers. But, it depends on the industry you are looking to enter. If you are in the sales field career fairs can yield a decent number of results. I never had much luck with career fairs. Most of the companies there were hiring for sales. I didn’t want to do sales anymore, I was burnt out. Sales positions have a very high turnover too, so they are always hiring. If you are good at sales check them out, if not, you may not have much luck at the career fairs.
Networking: how to do it well!
This can seem very intimidating. It takes a long time to build, and when you’re out of work time is of the essence. However, this is the best way to find a job. But, I’ll be frank, this is something that has to happen organically. Make sure you have a stellar linked in profile. Don’t be a homebody. Go out and volunteer. Get out and meet people, meetup.com is a great way to start if you’re new in town.
The muse recommends going to conferences. This is a great idea for two reasons.
- It will advance your knowledge within your industry. You can get a fresh perspective and you can provide a fresh perspective.
- It is a great opportunity to shine in-front of potential hiring managers. You can position yourself as an expert in your field.
It would be great to see more companies use this method to attract more talent. Simply going through numerous resumes day in and day out has proven to be a broken system. Why not make these more mainstream for HR? Less money on the ATS system and more money meeting prospective new hires.
I can empathize with both HR and the job hunters. Ultimately, you want the same thing. You want to provide stellar work for your employer, your employer wants to hire a great employee. I get it. However, the path from point A to B does not need to be filled will road blocks. Currently, it is. A few tweaks and the right people can be paired with the right job. The company wins, the employees win. Will that happen in big corporate America? well, that’s another post 🙂