Is Your Job Search Based On Hearsay?

Apr 2 2012 in Featured, Job Search Strategy, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

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Or is it based on data?

hear·say/ hi(ə)rˌsā /: Information received from other people that cannot be adequately substantiated; rumor.

Many job seekers base their job search on hearsay, because it comes from sources they trust. Unfortunately, most of these sources have little experience in what works vs. what doesn’t work in job search …. other than their own limited experiences.

While your friends’ advice is almost certainly well-meaning, it is unlikely that they have based their advice on much data – so the advice you’re getting is likely second-hand hearsay … which is even worse.

Also, your friends’ situation is likely to be very different than yours. Even if your friend is searching for the same job, in the same industry, in the same geographic area, your friends’ situation is probably different than yours. In addition, your friend presents himself/herself differently to employers, interviews differently, and has different strengths/weaknesses than you.

To sum it up … your job search is different than your friends’. So their advice isn’t relevant to you, even if their advice isn’t built on hearsay.

To do a quick check to see if you are basing your job search on hearsay, see if you are basing your search on any of this advice:

  • You make job search decisions based on what your friends advise: If you’re making job search decisions based on your friends’ advice, your job search is based on hearsay. Your friends have different situations, strengths/weaknesses, different presentation skills, different written/oral communication skills, interview differently, different personalities, not to mention they may have a different industry, job function, experience level than you.
  • You choose job search tactics due to a recruiter’s advice: When you base your job search strategy on what a recruiter advises, your job search is based on hearsay. A single recruiter typically recruits for one industry or job function – a tech recruiter will not be able to give relevant advice to a marketing candidate. Also, a single recruiter bases advice on the specific clients (and hiring managers) they serve. The companies and hiring managers you are targeting may look for very different things.
  • A hiring manager or internal HR rep/recruiter/manager: This is a common trap job seekers often fall into, because job seekers crave expertise from someone who knows what’s going on inside hiring managers’ heads. When you base your strategies on what one HR insider suggests, your job search is based on hearsay. What works for one company, often doesn’t work for others.
  • Other job seekers advice (especially ‘experienced’ job seekers): – When you listen to what other job seekers advise, your job search is based on hearsay. You can find job search groups and forums filled with the advice of other job seekers. While many are just trying to help, it’s rare that their experience will translate well to you, even if you’re in the same industry/function. Especially beware ‘experienced’ job seekers – if their tactics really worked, they would be too busy working or interviewing to participate in job search groups. Many of these ‘experienced’ job seekers just use forums and groups as an outlet to bitch – do you really need to pollute your mental attitude with their poison?

Instead, base your job search on data – your own data, industry data and job search data. You can find lots of data in reCareered’s articles – both original data from surveys.interviews I’ve conducted of hiring manager, recruiters and HR reps; from interviews of ATS company executives; from polls that I conduct. You’ll also find research from job boards and industry experts that I republish.

(Hint) If you’re wondering where to start, search under the tag research on reCareered (


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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