Why You’re Not Called When You’re The “Perfect” Candidate

Apr 3 2012 in Featured, reCareered Blog, Resumes by Phil Rosenberg

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If you’ve ever been frustrated that you weren’t called (or emailed) when you were “perfect” for a job … there’s probably a reason you weren’t called.

It’s likely the reason you weren’t called is because one or more major criteria weren’t on your resume. And if it’s not on your resume, it doesn’t exist.

Most candidates list the reasons they are a perfect fit on a cover letter. There are numerous reasons this doesn’t work well, but the most important … cover letters aren’t searched by Applicant Tracking Systems.

When you ask executives of ATS companies (like I have), you’d learn that companies who use Applicant Tracking Systems only keyword search a single document – the resume. Thanks to changes to labor laws, most companies, even small ones, use some sort of ATS to show the DOL they choose candidates to interview based on objective criteria (or their outside recruiters do).

When I managed recruiting offices for Robert Half, part of my job was to meet with any candidates who were unsatisfied with our recruiters. The number one reason candidates complained about our recruiters was because they weren’t contacted for a job where they were a “perfect” candidate.

I had these candidates come into our office and met with them to discuss their dissatisfaction.

When we met, I would compare their resume to the job description. Every single time, not most of the time … every single time … at least one key criteria was nowhere to be found on their resume.

This is likely the same reason you’re not getting a callback or email for jobs where you feel you’re the perfect candidate.

Read on, because the candidate’s reasoning why key criteria was missing from their resume might shed some additional light on why you’re not getting callbacks.

So I’d ask if the candidate met this requirement and why it wasn’t on the resume.

I would get one of 2 answers:

  1. It was on my cover letter: I’d explain that cover letters weren’t keyword searched by our Applicant Tracking System, because the ATS only searches resumes. In addition, our recruiters didn’t get cover letters, even though our job board ads requested them. I explained this is likely also happening to the resumes sent when applying directly to a company or through job boards. See http://www.recareered.com/blog/2010/11/16/3-reasons-to-ditch-your-cover-letter/ for more coverage about why the detail you include on a cover letter doesn’t help your chances.
  2. This occured because when our corporate IT department first set up Monster and CareerBuilder accounts a decade (or so) ago, our IT staff clicked a default checkbox turning on boiler plate language requesting cover letters.

    Since then, things changed. Our corporate operations department decided they wanted our recruiters to make interview/non-interview decisions in an average 15 seconds – they blocked our recruiters from receiving cover letters, so they could make interview decisions based only on the resume, increasing recruiter efficiency.

    If it’s not on your resume, it doesn’t exist.

  3. I left it off, because I wanted to discuss it in person: I thought this was a fascinating answer – if you left a major criteria off your resume, how did you expect to make it through the interview selection process? Did you think the recruiter was telepathic?
  4. Of all the hiring managers, recruiters and HR reps I’ve spoken to … I’ve never met one who was telepathic. See www.recareered.com/blog/2011/02/18/career-advice-are-you-telepathic-then-why-act-like-employers-are/ to learn more about employment telepathy.

    If it’s not on your resume, it doesn’t exist.

Moral of the story: if you’re perfect for a job, make sure you tell your reader exactly why you’re perfect – on the document they read and ATSs scan … your resume.

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

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