Why Your Resume Is Stuck In The HR Black Hole

Mar 27 2012 in Featured, Hiring Systems/ATS, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

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If it feels like your resume is in the black hole – you’re probably right.

In order to keep your resume out of the black hole, it’s helpful to first understand how companies choose who they will interview. Companies employ similar candidate selection processes almost universally and they aren’t designed to find the best candidates.

Instead, candidate selection processes are designed to find a minimum number of candidates who match the minimum criteria as quickly as possible … Even if the most qualified candidates (translation – YOU) remain buried.

Let this sink in – today’s hiring processes don’t favor the most qualified. Today’s hiring rewards candidates who game the system to increase the odds their resume will be seen (learn how to game your resume at http://ResumeWebinar.com).

Your first reaction might be to shout “That’s not fair!”, because we’ve been taught that the most qualified candidates should win. That might have been true many years ago … but not today. Nothing about job search is fair.

This creates a system of rewards and penalties. Companies reward candidates who understand and can game the hiring system, and penalize candidates who don’t (even if they are the most qualified). This is yet another reason traditional job search no longer works today, added to an environment of job shortages.

So if it feels like your resume isn’t seeing the light of day, like it’s in a room full of mushrooms (and other resumes), you’re probably right – It’s stuck in the black hole. The good news is, you can do something about it.

Here’s 9 reasons your resume is stuck in the black hole:

  1. Mass competition: Every job that is advertised online returns an average 1,000 applicants (500 for small companies advertising on Craigslist). As job boards have made it so easy (and so little time investment) to apply for a job, nothing prevents unqualified candidates from applying. Admit it – you’ve applied for jobs where you didn’t meet all of the criteria, haven’t you? So that means you didn’t meet all of the minimum criteria for the job, right? See http://www.recareered.com/blog/2012/03/05/putting-numbers-to-job-search-competition/ for more details on how mass competition affects your chances of getting an interview.
  2. Applicant tracking system: 10 years ago, ATSs used to cost millions of dollars – today companies canuse them for no cost. Even 1 – 2 person shops can use Microsoft Office to give the basic tools of an ATS. In addition, ATSs are one of the main way companies (even small ones) can stay out of hot water with the federal government, passing surprise DOL audits by showing that candidates are selected by objective criteria.
  3. Google-like search tools: At their core, ATSs are basically databases of resumes (stored in a common format) and Google-like search tools. Employers/recruiters use their Google-like tools differently than you or I use Google. We usually search for 1 or 2 criteria, we’ll get a few million results, but we find what we’re searching for in the first few pages. Employers/Recruiters don’t want millions of results – they only want about 50 … that all meet the minimum criteria.
  4. Searching for many criteria: Since employers only want about 50 results, they use more far criteria for their searches than you or I use – typically searching for 7 – 10 criteria. So if you’re using the same, or merely a tweeked resume to apply for jobs … in effect, you’re crossing your fingers, hoping that your resume magically happens to match 10 keywords. The odds are massively stacked against you.
  5. Exact word/phrase match: It’s also important to realize that ATSs match exact words and phrases. However, companies have their own language, typically using their own unique words, phrases, jargon and measurements to describe the same thing – even for the same job function. So if you’re using words that have the same meaning but are different words than a company uses to describe a function or measurement … it won’t match in the ATS.
  6. Ranked list: Results from an employer’s/recruiter’s search is ranked based on the number of words that match criteria. The resumes that match all 10 criteria are at the top. Resumes that match only 9 of those criteria, might not even make the top 50. Resumes that match fewer criteria remain buried.
  7. HR rep/Recruiter/Small company admin goal: The goal of person pre-screening resumes (a HR rep, recruiter, or small company admin) is to return a day’s worth of resumes for each opening to the hiring manger – about a dozen.
  8. 2 – 3%: If the HR rep/recruiter/small company admin did a decent job of selecting criteria, they’ll typically read 20 – 30 resumes until they find a dozen that match the hiring manager’s criteria. Out of 1,000 resumes, that’s 2 – 3%.
  9. And then they stop: It’s not the pre-screener’s job to find the best candidates. It’s their job to find a dozen candidates who meet the minimum criteria as quickly as possible … Then they move on to the next job search (or task for the small company admin). It’s the hiring manager’s job to select the best candidate of the dozen that passed pre-screening.

This process can and often does leave the most qualified candidates stuck in the black hole. Is this dysfunctional? Sure … but it’s very efficient.

Can you start to understand why your phone is silent and why your resume remains buried, never seeing the light of day … in the vortex?

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Source: http://reCareered.com
Author: Phil Rosenberg

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