So, you want to know how to get noticed?
How to get ‘past’ the ATS?
How to get in front of a Recruiter or a Hiring Manager?
What? That’s it??
Yes, that’s it. Follow the directions (ok, and be qualified)!
Ask questions if you are unclear. Don’t guess!
Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, when we are in unfamiliar territory, it is sometimes wise to follow the instructions of those who appear to have good intent and are on our side.
In the US, we’ve been taught since birth to do what we are told – Listen well and to follow through on what has been asked of us. Perhaps your achilles heel as a child was putting your laundry NEXT to the basket, staying up past bedtime, or forgetting to put your name on your homework. You weren’t incapable of doing those things, you just had other priorities or perhaps you were focused on other anxieties of the moment.
Let me provide a clear, real-life example:
I have a client who, against my recommendation, asks two pretty extensive free-form questions on their initial employment application and provides space to leave a cover letter. While I don’t always agree with creating extra hoops to jump through in order to get the best talent available in the market, I do understand why it is part of their process. If you have a resume and cover letter template available, their application would likely take about 20-25 minutes to complete. You would need to read some info on their website before being able to readily answer one of the questions. The company is a small SAAS organization and they are maniacal (in a good way!) about preserving their culture and team collaboration. Although I am the first screener and often reach out to candidates who have amazing backgrounds but short-changed the online employment application requirements, those candidates are at a disadvantage when the hiring team logs in to review my submittal notes and the candidate profile.
Last week, I submitted a candidate I consider the #1 most qualified candidate for the role we’re looking to fill. The hiring manager (an Executive in the organization), reviewed my notes and responded, “I’ll speak with him but it’s disappointing he didn’t complete the online questions”. The box is required so the candidate wrote something to the effect of, “will discuss in a next step call”. This candidate is unemployed, has a stellar track record in prior roles but the initial impression from the hiring manager is now, “doesn’t follow directions” and “may not be invested in working for OUR company”. The #2 and #3 best qualified candidates (in my opinion) completed the application in full and sent thoughtful thank you notes after their initial interviews. The process is ongoing but I would wager the most qualified candidate (IMHO) won’t ultimately be selected.
You may find this unfair, biased, or ridiculous. The reality is though, these types of things happen every day in tons of companies, for multiple roles. Job seekers don’t set the rules, employers do. Agree or not, the process is slanted for employers right now and active job seekers must do the basics in order to get past gate-keeping instructions and land their next opportunity.
Here’s another personal example from my life as a front-line Recruiter:
I have a cut and paste response I use to help quickly manage my LinkedIN inbox. PS – LinkedIN, please give us a better mailbox experience! I use this response for candidates who ask if I have an opportunity for them. If I don’t, which is easily over 90% of the time, I respond and tell the candidate that I don’t have a suitable role right now. I then invite them to EMAIL me a resume at firstname.lastname@example.org to join our database and receive our monthly job seeker newsletter.
In a completely informal study that I performed and measured this weekend with a statistically insignificant population… 58% of respondents replied within LinkedIN with a copy of their resume. 22% sent me their resume via email as requested and 20% chose not to participate or asked again for me to be proactive in reaching to them if I have something in the future.
Dear reader, I am a pretty good recruiter and a reasonably intelligent person. I assure you that the non-statistically significant percentage of the time I will remember those 20% who asked me to reach out to them when the right opportunity comes along (from a 3-message inbox exchange with no resume) is roughly 0.001 of the time. Not odds I would take to Vegas, baby!
I realize the tone of this blog post is more ‘ranty’ than my normal entries and I promise to tone it down in the future but please… if you are an active job seeker trying to find a job in an employer driven market like we are experiencing in January 2024, please, please, please…
Follow the Directions!
If you are frustrated with your job search and want to learn how Recruiters operate or perhaps are considering a career as a Recruiter in the future, we’d love to have you in our Spring Talent Acquisition Professional Certification course beginning May 7th. The rate is $1,000 per participant. Mention this blog post when you sign up to receive a 20% discount through April 20th.