Job Rejection

Monday, June 1st, 2009 - career transition, CV Help, Job Advert, Job Application, Job Application Rejection, job search


Rejection Letters

The Last Chance
Creative Commons License photo credit: Desmond Kavanagh

Charles asks: I was recently rejected from a job application at the first round. Having seen so many Recruiters and HR Professionals say that they can review a CV in 20-30 seconds, I am asking myself now: how can someone really adequately review a CV in 20-30 seconds? How frequently I wonder are many excellent and truly well qualified candidates missed or rejected simply because the person “reviewing” the CV spends just a few seconds scanning it? If someone is looking for the first excuse to reject a job application, they are sure to miss a lot by not really reading the CV. The excuse recruiters and HR staffers always give is that they are looking for the “best” candidates, but there is nothing in this world that qualifies as the “best” that is judged on the basis of a 20-30 second scan.

In answer:
We (recruiters) don’t take 20 seconds:

  • Most recruiters still don’t have CV Scanning software. Most use support workers to check for the key skills listed on the job specification, occasionally trainees. If they can’t find the key words, then you get rejected. This process take around 30seconds a page, so 1min 30/2mins
  • Most large corporates use CV Scanning software. If it can’t find the key skills, you get rejected in a second or less

The 20-30second answer is in the psychology of human beings. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and recruitment is as much about functional capability (skills, experience, qualifications); as social fit: does the way you approach work and life fit with that team/company?

Social Fit

Hence, much as though you may be a great candidate from a functional view point; what machines are pretty bad at but human beings are very quick at – thanks to a million year old protection system – is deciding whether you are friend or foe, social fit or no fit.

Governments try to combat this human speed of decision with legislation, so that reasons of age, sex, race, religion, disability, etc are rightly rejected. Recruiters and employers hence need to apply logic in quantifying the reasons for the letter of rejection. But reasons for lack of fit can always be found, if the employer just doesn’t think it is there.

One last though for this current economic condition. The assumption here is that there are a “normal” number of wholly qualified applicants. Industry data suggests that the average number of applicants has risen by five fold, which our own internal data agrees with. However, the number of qualified applicants has stayed the same in number per job, while the percentage has dropped horribly. There is a huge downside to the “click to apply” mentality driven by the jobs boards.

The best way to avoid social fit rejection is to make sure you read the job advert, and do research on the company you are applying to. That is why our Professional CV clients are still having a better than 1:3 application to physical interview ratio, while some candidates I have seen recently have been as low as 1:50

Good Luck!

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