Almost all candidates incorporate positive feedback into your job searches.
It’s easy to use positive feedback in your job search … because positive feedback is complimentary. It reinforces that you’re right – who doesn’t like hearing that you’re right? Being told “You’re right” are our favorite two words in the English language.
But how valuable is positive reinforcement to your job search? Sure, it makes you feel good because you hear “You’re right” and your methods are validated … by a single person. Does positive feedback truly tell you what’s working in your job search – and what’s not working?
We get so blinded by positive feedback that we forget how biased it is. The people who give us positive feedback are already on our side, so they tend to give sugar-coated feedback. Even if the feedback is brutally honest, it’s from someone who offered you (or would offer if they were hiring) an interview.
Here are 4 basic types of feedback job seekers typically get:
- Employer feedback: This is almost always positive, from an employer who compliments you on your cover letter or resume. This also means you’ve made it through the automated and manual screening process. So, an employer who’s willing to talk to you after you’ve made it through multiple rounds of pre-screening, tells you what you already knew … that you communicated your idea of employer fit effectively.
- Recruiter feedback: While recruiter feedback isn’t always positive, the recruiters who will take time to give you feedback have seen enough positive about your resume that it’s worthwhile for them to help you. If a recruiter is helping you, it’s because they think that they’ll have a better chance to place you and earn commissions. When you find a recruiter who’s willing to talk to you about your resume, you’ve made it through the recruiter’s pre-screening (or screening) process – because you’ve effectively communicated your idea of fit for a specific employer or a general class of typical employers.
- Feedback from other job seekers Job seekers are the worst source of resume feedback. Job seekers know about their own job search situation, based on their own personal job function/industry/level, their own strengths/weaknesses, their own interpersonal presence, their own job history and the first impression they give. It’s nearly impossible to find another job seeker with the exact same situation as you – so their advice will be about their own situation, not yours. In addition, by definition, a job seeker hasn’t been successful in finding the right job … or they’d no longer be seeking a job. Why would you take the advice of someone who’s been unsuccessful in achieving what you want?
- Negative feedback: Negative feedback can be approximated by measuring the percentage of resumes you’ve sent that result in face to face job interviews with a hiring manager. You’ll first want to deduct all the interviews that are really preliminary steps (phone, recruiter, HR, and informational interviews) and you’ll only want to count each company once … so that you don’t overstate your results. This is your resume response rate – if you’re at 15-20% you’re doing well. However, after surveying tens of thousands of job seeker, the average resume response rate is less than 2% … worse than junk mail.
Resume response rates anywhere near or less than 2% is clear feedback … what you’re doing isn’t working.
As we saw above, positive feedback from friendly sources carries little value. To a job seeker, what’s really valuable is learning why employers are ignoring you.
But to learn why employers are ignoring you, you’d have to get them to communicate with you first.
This is the truly valuable feedback in job search – to understand why employers ignore you … so you can learn and adjust your tactics to attract more employers and more interviews.
But the inherent challenge in gathering negative feedback is that the most valuable feedback comes from those who don’t know you exist.
Readers please comment: What type of feedback do you use to adjust your job search game plan?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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