Are online job applications more of a hindrance than a help? Was your dream job easier to land before the Monster.com’s, Careerbuilder’s and Google got involved? And is job software filtering good people out for the most minor reasons?
Some people think so.
Indeed, Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and author of the book "Why Good People Can't Get Jobs” was recently on PBS to discuss just that.
In his interview, Cappelli said online job postings were drawing thousands of candidates for every position, significantly reducing any given individuals fair chance.
“Somebody told me that they had 29,000 people apply for a reasonably standard engineering position, and nobody made it through the screening process. The software told them nobody was qualified,” said Cappelli.
With the economy still rocky and the unemployment rate high, many internet job postings see themselves flooded with applications. This typically overwhelms regular HR systems, forcing many firms to start using software to sift through CVs.
Unfortunately, since software lacks human judgment, applications can be rejected on the flimsiest of reasons, creating a lose-lose situation for both job seeker and employer.
After all, there is no such thing as the “perfect” candidate for any job, but HR managers in the past, through face to face interviews and good old fashioned probing, have been able to discern between applicants and decide which is the “best fit” in terms of skills, ability to adapt to company culture and potential.
No wonder so many tech firms are complaining about talent shortages. Key words pulled coldly from resumes by machine are not going to find the diamond in the rough. So many firms claim to want new hires who display “out of the box” creativity, but if you failed to tick the right box, your resume may not even end up being read by a real human.
It’s time things changed. The Internet is a blessing for many things, but when it comes to landing that dream job, pick up the phone, be persistent and schedule a face to face interview.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments section below...
Finding another job (even if you already have one) is another full time job. While I do not like most online application processes, they are there and will not likely go away. The filtering system certainly eliminates qualified individuals but is that the fault of the system? Yes and No. The person in HR is usually given a list of requirements that are then blindly "plugged in" so to speak for the filter to search. In the job market today an applicant MUST tweak and redefine their resume for each application sent.
I will briefly relate my own experiences as an example. I was making a career change from graphic design to electrical engineering so one can imagine the difficulty already...
My dad was/is an engineer and my mom was an artist. After going as far as one can really do in the art field I needed a bigger challenge. Now enter the "bright" idea to manage a full time work schedule and full time school, a newborn, and an older house in constant need of TLC.
I managed to complete my associate degree with a 4.0 and perfect attendance so I figure: "...a new job should be snap!" Well, um, it wasn't. I found I needed to tailor my resume for each application I sent out. When I started doing this I noticed my "application to scheduled interview ratio" become much better. A little math: 127 applications sent out, 31 job interviews (this includes phone interviews, 2nd and in some cases 3rd interviews), 4 job offers, 1 job worth taking, significant pay-cut.
Comment, part 2.
I also had the challenges of being at the top of one field while entering the bottom pay scale of the new. I also became well schooled in relating seemingly unrelated skills into transferable ones.
I used all of my vacation from my then current employer to do some job shadowing, day-long interviewing and testing and the like. In the end I snatched up my job the old fashioned way. The company called career services at my school who passed along my current resume. I interviewed twice and after much negotiation we came to an agreement. I really like where I am and enjoy the challenges I face everyday. It has also been made clear that I have the ability to move up so that is reassuring.
The newborn is now 4 and I am back in school plugging away. After a short break, I am still working full time and going to school full time for my BSEE. In a little over a year the bachelors will be complete. Then, MSEE? We'll see. I'm sorry for the long comment but I hope my experience can help someone.
In many ways, you answered your own question. First, what is a good engineer. Second, what is a good job. Third, how do you find a job.
1. Research the requirements for a Good job.
2. Assess yourself to see if you qualify.
3. Correct your deficiencies.
4. Find a company with a good job opening and put a very pointed application request with career details, reliable references and a list of your capabilities vs the job requirement.
Now you still have to convince the people doing the hiring that you are right for the job AND right for their company. You need to understand who you will work with.
None of this is new and I doubt if the issues have really changed. You just really need to prepare yourself well before a company identifies you as the RIGHT hire.
Just my opinion.
I agree with the article if it's saying that online search is a hindrance, but I only agree if the online stuff takes the place of networking. Employers want to hire good people. They're less concerned about price and specific skills than they are that the person is honest, smart, and can hit the ground running and not cost them months. Their fear is hiring someone who doesn't works out and adds months onto their project. They need to feel warm fuzzies that the person they're hiring is honest and competent. http://bit.ly/Ne6ljt
Everyone I've known who changed engineering jobs in recent years did so through networking, and I've never met anyone who successfully landed a job offer from an application process that started online -- and that includes monster & careerbuilder job listings.
The example mentioned in the article is a good indicator of how hopeless the online approach is, both for the job seeker and the employer. 29,000 applications for one fairly standard engineering position, and the screening software determined that not one of them was qualified. Perhaps the screening software was too rigorous in its buzzword search & match, because one would hope that out of 29,000 applicants, at least a handful of them truly WERE qualified for the position!
I changed jobs in 1998, 2000, 2003, and 2009. In all four cases I was hired as a result of online job application. I did not have a personal contact at any of the four companies. I treated my job search as a full time job. I did a lot of research on companies and industries. I customized every resume I sent out. If you are clever you can make the filters work for you. After reading a lot of job ads, you can get a sense of which ones are bogus. Of course, it is much easier to get a job through personal connections. This can be hard to do if your company goes belly up. In that case all of your contacts are unemployed!
I agree that this software filtering is a big problem. I remember my application to hr@.... just vanished into a black hole. After few weeks when i called up the company, i was lucky to get to the Engineering director, When we discussed about my past experience.He immediately called me even though it was saturday,and i had an offer the following week. Later when i was part of the the company,i was told that my resume got filtered as it did not meet the requirement as per HR process :)
Experienced employers see the candidates general back round based on their requirements and select easily. Then specific trainings are provided and when they mingle in the group ,automatically they get tuned and they perform better with new innovative approaches.
Should we be surprised that software designed by HR people is even more stupid and ignorant than so many of them are?
My favorite old example was the guy who didn't have specific DSP experience, according to HR. Actually he had extensive experience, but he made the mistake of spelling it out: digital signal processing. He persisted in finding out how it could be that he wasn't even granted an interview, and discovered the reason was HR ignorance.
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