When you have great credentials, glowing references and years of experience, a job search should be easy, right? Not so much apparently, as highly qualified people get rejected every day or struggle to land interviews for jobs closely matching their skills. Fear and status-quo thinking are major driving forces in the hiring process, and employers often work against their recruitment goals. Understanding why recruiters ignore good candidates can help you salvage a luckless job search.
Vague Hiring Objectives
Employers have no obligation to fill positions they advertise, which is why you should avoid applying for jobs posted again and again. Companies with vague hiring goals may run ads to see what candidates they can hook, but they don't have a clue what the job entails. Maybe an overworked manager needs extra help or a department is expanding into projects outside its expertise. Recruiters come up with a laundry list of skills and qualities of an ideal candidate and begin advertising without outlining the scope of the job or developing a recruitment strategy. Once they start reading resumes and interviewing, no one lives up to their fictionalized candidate for a vague, broadly defined job.
Despite poor results, many employers cling to a broken recruitment strategy. Instead of growing a well-vetted talent pipeline, they act out of desperation and use catch-all methods to attract a large applicant pool over a short period of time. Employers rely on applicant-tracking systems to refine their pool, which means great candidates get filtered out if they don't have a keyword-packed resume or exact title matches.
Fear of the Unknown
As much as employers talk about needing talent and diversity, they run from anyone who seems different or damaged. Factors that should boost your candidacy, such as working abroad, freelancing or changing industries, can hinder your job search. Instead of thinking about the unique experience you gained from running a business or working in wide-ranging environments, many recruiters assume you have weaker skills or something to hide. Inexperienced recruiters eliminate talented job seekers based on gut feelings and seek out passive candidates, believing they must be more qualified because they aren't job-hunting.
Performing a Targeted Job Search
Trying to succeed in a broken system is futile, so focus on the factors you can control. Refining your list of employers saves time and energy, and the effort you put into making connections can speed up your next job search. Ditch catch-all job portals, and make a list of employers with business goals, benefits and corporate cultures that match your needs and strengths. Consider which roles and industries fit your interests and specialized knowledge, as branding yourself with a narrow focus is more effective than selling yourself as a jack-of-all-trades.
Find contact information for the managers most likely to make hiring decisions for your target jobs. Researching each company helps you customize resumes and cover letters to explain how you can solve business pain. Hiring managers want to fill positions fast, and you make their job easier by addressing their questions and doubts upfront.
To triumph in a job search, you have to stop believing employers have all the power. If you want more interviews, take the initiative to hand out business cards, network with other professionals and introduce yourself to hiring managers.
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