Talent Management and Job Application

Monday, February 14th, 2011 - Job Application, Job Application Rejection, Talent Management

Talent Management and Job Application

CLLC2008 PIC182

The problem for the corporate HR manager these days is volume of job applications, which have only been added to in recent cold economic times. Add in that you have to justify against legislation every hire and fire decision, and the need for some assistance in talent management becomes essential.

Welcome to the world of employment management software, talent management and in the case of the job seeker, applicant tracking systems.

All of these systems have a few things in common with similar computer systems in both the worlds of gambling and financial trading: they try to spot trends to pick out the winners. The problem is that although they all can analyse retrospective data and try applying it forward:

  • None of them are 100% accurate
  • If you don’t “fit” the pattern, then you can – and will – be rejected

Many job applicants suffer from systems rejection within the corporate world, unable to understand why when applying at companies that don’t use Talent Management systems, they make better progress? The question therefore becomes, how do you make yourself stand out as well as fit in?

Recruitment basics

Before you think about specific tools, think about how employers recruit. There are five main streams:

  1. They know you, ie: are you are probably an employee = internal promotion, options also are that you might be a supplier, buyer or competitor
  2. They are introduced to you, ie networking or headhunting, also reputation
  3. You apply direct to them direct, ie: no job advert
  4. They find you, recruiter does an active search
  5. You apply for their job, via a job advert

Now, think about the tools used: where do ATS systems come on board? In my experience, in only three of those situations at maximum, mostly the last two.

Secondly, think how they start that recruitment process. Employers have a business need, and their need for people breaks down to a Job Description. This is then used to find/employ the right candidate: it is both the minimum skills requirement, and the specification of the ideal person to do that job. So when they go hunting for candidates, the list of SQE (Skills, Qualifications and Experiences) are defined by the job specification.

Personally, I am an advocate of going direct to employers. Simply put, your chances of employment success fall as you work your way down that chart: from 90% as a promoted employee, to at best 12% if applying via a jobs board. In every economic geography – be that a city or group of towns – there are networking groups where like-skilled professionals meet. Many of these groups have online arms, in places such as LinkedIn, where you can also interact with members. These either introduce you to potential employers, or people who know people who are recruiting. Hence I would highly encourage you Dan to find and go to a meeting of these local groups – in person or online – as it is always worth the effort.

Thirdly, think what employers look for beyond basic SQE. Firstly, they want people who will fit their social system, and fit in with their team. But secondly they want people who are respected and connected in their field of expertise. This is in part answered by the references questions, but again getting out and about and involved in your local professional groups will aid this, and push your ability to be employed by networking.

Beating Talent Management software?

If the employer that you really want to work for, or the job that you really want, uses a Talent Management system, is there a way of beating it? Again personally, no system is 100% secure, but you can improve your odds.

If you want a job as an X, ask yourself the question: what does the ideal X look like? The answer is to look at how job adverts for job/skill X look like. Then note down the keywords and phrases (use a tool like Wordle to asses them), and then encompass those words and phrases in your CV/resume, ideally in the first half page. This answers the basic SQE question.

Secondly, if you can spot some leading/ideal target employers, then look at their specific job adverts for your speciality and their general adverts, and assess these for keywords and phrases. This will reveal the social factors that this employer looks for, again which should be encompassed into your CV/resume.

Talent management in perspective

Job applicants get confused by Talent Management software, in part because the systems providers market them as bringing something new to the recruitment and development market place. In reality, they bring little, they just just make the process more efficient.

People still get recruited and promoted, and the same old things that employers were always looking for are the same new things that ATS looks for. These tools just make it easier to look at and assess more people, in a quicker time, and make it easier for the employer to prove that they are not being discriminatory in their recruitment and promotion processes.

So don’t get confused by these system: people still hire people, and that will never change. The closer you get to the hiring manager, the better your chance of employment. Good Luck!

Good Luck!


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