Jobs you should not apply for from seeing the advert – what to look out for

Thursday, January 8th, 2009 - Article, career transition, Job Application, Legal, recruitment, tutorial

Job Search

After seeing the headline in the Daily Mail of Council bosses fight the credit crunch… by hiring £100k anti-recession guru, I thought it a bit more of an investigation was worthwhile. What I found – and looking at it from a recruiters view point – I think is a good example on at least two levels of jobs that you should never apply for from an advert.

The actual job title – Director of Economic Development – is being recruited for by Veredus Executive Search – find the job here on their system. If you want to apply before 23rd January 2009, you can find the Information Pack here.

Most advertised jobs come with more than the advert text, and optionally include a Job Description. If you have understood the approach of good job hunting, then one of the points of your call to the recruiter or HR department is to get a copy of the Job Description – as we have said before, if you can’t get one, then simply don’t apply. The reason for obtaining a copy of the Job Description we have noted up until this point is the functional fit of your skills, but a secondary reading can also indicate if the recruitment exercise is full open market, or effectively closed and written for an internal candidate. What you are looking for are specific experiences statements in the Job Description, and where they should have been obtained.

Taking the Lancashire Couty Council post, if you read the Job Description and Person Specification in the Information Pack – particularly the first three criteria under both Experience and Knowledge, skills and abilities; your conclusion may be like mine – as a recruiter – is that it is written for an internal or at least “known” candidate.

Why do organisations run effectively “closed” recruitment exercises:

  • Recruiters undertake such exercises to obtain what they know to be skill-short CV’s. The key text to look out for is suggesting that they are looking for a skill set for a well known national or international organisation. When you call, and they then can’t give you the name of the organisation – be suspicious
  • Some government organisations and large multinationals have to run “open” recruitment exercises, or they could be sued through the law by either existing employees or external applicants. One test if a court case was to occur would be to show they had advertised “fully and openly.” Watch out for long lists or very specific competency needs of the post holder, listed in the Job Description. If you know your market, you will know how many people have such a list of skills and could fulfil the requirements
  • Some organisations do it just to motivate their staff. Yes, writing an advert is seen as motivational by some managers!

Ajiri has a policy not to participate in such closed-recruiting exercises. We know it would not do our long term reputation any good in the skillsshort sectors we recruit in – some high street organisations are known to pay their recruiters to harvest CV’s, and it is to their detriment.

However, there is a secondary reason not to apply for this job, even if you had the skills: publicity! This job is set up for a high degree of watching by the media, and trying to do your job under such a spot light even with the training is difficult. Public jobs are particularly prone to this type of problem, and anything with a six-figure slaray as any head hunter knows should be done discretely and privately.

Make sure the jobs you are applying for are truely open market, and not potentially closed/internal candidate exercises. If the recruiter will not name the organisation, if you can not get a copy of the job decsription, or the list of competencies looks too specific – then be aware.

Good Luck!

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