The bulk of the activities involved in the hiring process takes place behind the scene where recruiters and talent managers that are dedicated to getting the best candidate(s) for roles work round the clock from the publication of the vacant position(s), receipt and selection of resumes, to interviews, background check on candidates and more to the eventual hiring of the candidate(s) deem fit for the role(s). Some of these back-end activities are known to the public while some aren’t. Not ignoring some Myths about these processes that have been presented as facts to unsuspecting candidates.
I shall therefore attempt some of these ‘behind-the-camera activities and how candidates can learn, unlearn, and relearn about them to eventually land that dream job.
- The ATS is not rejecting you. There has been this myth about the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software saying it is solely responsible for sieving applicants’ resumes and deciding which gets to the next stage of the recruitment process and which doesn’t. This is so much that candidates started preparing their resumes to be ‘ATS-friendly’. As a candidate, whenever you are rejected, the fact is, a human made that decision and not the software. It is even advisable to make your resume to be human-friendly than striving for it to be ‘ATS-friendly’. Where you get a response to your application that seems ‘automatic’, understand that a human did set that bar. It is a database and not the recruiter.
- Do not apply for applying sake. Unless you meet at least 70 to 80% of the job requirements, do not apply. This will save you and the recruiter some quality time as well as you, the embarrassment of constant rejection. When it comes to job application, hope is not a strategy.
- Job searching doesn’t end till you sign a contract. Until you sign a contract, do not assume it is impossible to be rejected for that particular job because according to your assessment, you are qualified, and you did well in the assessment/interview. Therefore, you relax on your job hunt, waiting to be asked to resume. Do not make the mistake of falling in love or getting emotionally attached to a job you are yet to formally sign a contract on, that you stop applying for other jobs.
- Stick to the past experiences that are relevant to the job you are applying to. It is not enough that your resume is filled with past experiences. How relevant are those experiences to the role you are currently applying to? The recruiter wants to know how you have been able to handle challenges peculiar to the role you are applying for, and how you have been productive despite those hurdles. Providing experiences not relevant to the prospective role is saying you probably may not know what to do when offered the job. When it comes to experiences, Quality > Quantity.
- If it’s still Open, shoot your shot! Sometimes, candidates look at how long the role has stayed open, and assume that’s enough time to have gotten a candidate, therefore applying that late is a waste of time. I insist, shoot your shot! As far as the role has not closed, go ahead and apply for that role. Even if they already got a fit for the role, you will be in the recruiter’s database and this means when an opportunity you are fit for comes up, you will be contacted.
- Getting a rejection mail doesn’t mean your resume is in the trash bin. It is very possible to be rejected for the role applied to and contacted by the same employer in the future for another open role. After been rejected, a lot of recruiters still keep the data of those candidates and when there are opportunities the former feel suits the latter, the same are likely to be contacted.
- Referrals do help in job hunting but don’t guarantee the job. Having an inside connection, or getting a referral from an insider of the company you are applying to may give you a head up in the process. But you need to put in the work. Leveraging networking is not enough. It may open the recruiter’s door for you, but you staying in totally depends on you.
- Addressing gaps in your resume. When there is a gap in your resume, probably because of the pandemic or any other reason for that matter, it is advisable to address it in your resume to prevent the recruiter from making assumptions- which may not be favorable to the candidate. You can say Year X to Year Y- Personal sabbatical. If within the stated years, you have been working on personal projects or taking courses, it will be nice to state them. But if you were job searching in the period or unemployed, just write ‘Personal sabbatical’ and you are okay. Better than not addressing it all and making the recruiter assume. Also, you are not obliged to go into details, especially if they may affect your chances of getting the job. How deep in you go into explaining that depends on you.
- Take out unquantifiable words from your resume. Jobseekers, in a bit to impress recruiters tend to use words like dedicated, hardworking, motivated, professional, and other words that recruiters cannot confirm as true just by reading your resume. Rather, go for quantifiable things that you can prove on your resume. Simply put, use facts and figures.
As competitive as the job industry is, understanding is key to success. Little wonder job searching itself is referred to as a full-time job. Working with the above guide, I believe surely gives you a better understanding of the recruitment processes, and how to leverage it to your advantage.