Job Search or Horse Racing

Thursday, October 1st, 2009 - CV Help, economics, Employment, Job Application, job search, recruitment

Job Search or Horse Racing

2005 StrawberryHill Races

The question for today is:

Is a Job Search more like a bet placed on a horse race, than an assured outcome?

To which the answer is: while many may suffer the consequences and look at it as a horse race, you can make it more of an assured outcome if you understand how the process works.

In actual fact, when you look at the whole process, it is more akin to a war of attrition over anything else. It is hence no wonder why most health and emotional surveys shows that a job search is the second or third most stressful thing you can undertake, after a divorce and some where around the level of moving home. I can hence understand why the world of employment is disliked by many, and hated by others.

But, honestly, it doesn’t have to be that way, if you understand the Recruitment Process.
Recruitment Process
As I explained yesterday, my first point of learning was that both recruiters and employers will happily and easily reject half of all job applicants: they submitted CV’s which either didn’t have the required skills, qualifications and experiences combination; or were uncommunicative.

Secondly, job seekers who called in before sending in their CV stood a far greater chance of being employed over those who didn’t. It is why as part of our Professional CV service that we added the Telephone Interview guide.

So having seen one side of the Recruitment Process, I started investigating and measuring the second – the job seekers themselves. While the best 10% were applying for less than 5 jobs before a job offer, the average was 1 in 20 and the worst below 1 in 100. On further study, I found the best had a combination of some clear winning thoughts and tactics:

  • They had a clear career plan and vision of where they wanted to go – this included an exit plan for this week/month/year/ideal
  • They had a network of contacts over the industry – opportunity surrounded them
  • Once in job seeking mode, they didn’t get bitter, they just got focused – most of those with job application to interview ratio’s of less than 1 in 20 I find have been job seeking for more than 100 days, and are still bitter about their exit from their last job
  • They always read the job adverts beyond the headline AND had a series of opportunity from their network
  • Before applying, they did some research – three reasons: is the organisation going where they want to go; is the organisations culture suitable for them; to find questions to ask the employer in a conversation
  • They never applied for ANY JOB without first talking to the employer – they eliminated Click to Apply = Rejected

On average, by applying these winning thoughts and techniques, the key ratio for me was that their job application to interview ratio was 1 in 3. This is almost equal to that of an internal employee applying for a position, which his employer may not have at first considered him suitable for. The result of best job seekers provides them with eight times more opportunity, and a 1 in 3 outcome at the point they enter the process (the physical interview), over the 1 in 20 of the average job seeker who is responding to the same job advert.

At this point, you may be thinking that now all you have to do to improve your job application ratio is – after buying a copy of our Telephone Interview guide – is to start picking up the phone now in the morning rather than Click to Apply via the job boards. Yes, this will improve your job application to interview ratio, BUT….

Successful job seekers do research on the companies they apply to, before they apply. One of the key differences I found of successful job seekers was the volume of jobs they applied for. Successful job seekers apply for 1 or 2 jobs a day over the average job seeker who applies for around 10 positions per day.

Good job seekers don’t see the job seeking exercise as either a volume task or a race: they see it as a match. To get that job match, successful job seekersĀ  focus their effort on rejecting employers where they wouldn’t fit, or who are not going in the direction they want to go: they only choose employers where those criteria are meet, and their is a match.

The reason half of the job applicants to an average job advert are rejected at the sifting stage, is either because they have not read the job advert beyond the headline; or they have not matched themselves socially to that organisation by communicating their value in the CV. Hence, picking up the telephone may improve their ratio of applications to interview, but their next problem will be at interview – they will be social-fit rejected.

It is hence why, successful job seekers – and many recruiters and HR professional – see a job search as more akin to a love-match dating game, over a horse race – and they never experience a war of attrition like the average job seeker.

Tomorrow, to finish off this week of the Recruitment Process, I will cover the key elements that job seekers could implement today to drastically improve their interview ratio, even without having done any pre-planing for the situation they now find themselves in.

Good Luck!


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