You Receive Job Search Feedback – But Is It Reliable?

Jan 4 2012 in Featured, Job Search Strategy, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

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Job seekers are starved for feedback, to gain any guidance from employers they can get.

It’s no wonder, since job seekers hear so much conflicting information about what works … and what doesn’t. Due to all of this conflicting information, job seekers are desperate for confirmation that they are using the right strategies and tactics.

But sadly, it’s impossible to get a whole lot of feedback. It’s typical for job seekers to gain employer/recruiter feedback from only a fraction of 1% of the resumes sent.

It’s human nature to follow the feedback we receive … even if the feedback is from a fraction of 1% of our audience. We can’t help it – any feedback is better than no feedback, right?

Maybe not …

Does it make sense to gamble on the feedback you get from less than 1% of your audience? But in the absence of other feedback, should you listen to that tiny percentage?

Your college statistics prof (and HS Math teacher) would tell you absolutely not. Hopefully, common sense would confirm that for you.

Yet, I hear comments from job seekers that show you’re taking the advice of this tiny fraction of your audience – quotes like:

  1. I use a cover letter because an employer told me they really liked it
  2. I send a functional resume because a recruiter suggested that it would hide my age (or a career gap)
  3. I send resumes to the company’s HR department or apply through their website because an HR rep suggested it

But what other choice do you have?

You’re right – you’re probably not going to get feedback from an employer telling you to not send a cover letter. Recruiters probably aren’t going to email you telling you they won’t pass functional resumes to employers, because employers don’t trust them. HR reps aren’t going to call to tell you that when you send resumes to HR or send into a company’s website, your resume goes into the same database as all the resumes from CareerBuilder and Monster.

Your audience rarely takes the time to give feedback to the candidates they interview – chances are much lower that you’ll get feedback as to why you weren’t even considered.

Your most frequent and most reliable feedback is a silent phone …

But let’s consider that silent phone and add to it … lack of employer/recruiter email response, because it’s valid feedback, and it’s from a much higher percentage of your audience. Since it’s from the vast majority of your audience, a silent phone is more reliable guidance than the feedback you get from that small percentage.

How can you measure your silent phone/lack of email?

Resume Response Rate is the best measurement of your job search strategy’s effectiveness. Calculate your Resume Response Rate by taking your total in person job interviews with a hiring manager (excluding recruiter interviews, HR interviews, phone interviews and informational interviews), divided by total resumes sent.

To learn more about Resume Response Rates, see .

The average Resume Response Rate is between 1.5 – 2%, similar to response rates of junk mail (Translation: not good). If your Resume Response Rate is up to 5%, to many readers treat your resume like junk mail – take this as reliable feedback that your job search isn’t working well. This is why you hear the sound of crickets rather than your phone ringing.

If your Resume Response Rate is 15 – 20%, this gives reliable feedback that your job search tactics are working well and you’re on track to finding a new job quickly.

Candidates – what feedback will you listen to? The occasional positive feedback? Or the overwhelming feedback of your Resume Response Rate?


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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