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.
PE is only required in civil engineering and electrical construction fields. It should be required in more EE fields but employers don't want to support engineering as a licensed profession for economic reasons.
I don't think it's all that hard - it certainly CAN be if you go about it the usual way - sifting through the ads, and jumping at every "opportunity" that arises. Usually that leaves you with a job you don't really prefer, so you end up being unhappy, with a job you didn't want in the first place.
I'd say that job seeking can be fun and rewarding. There is a great website I discovered the other day which I wholeheartedly recommend: www.jobdreaming.com
All you need to do is enter your dream job and they let you know when an opportunity for an interview (and employment!) arises - it's anonymous, so you can use it without worrying if your current boss may see it ;) I'm my own boss, so I don't really have that issue, but for others I think this may be an issue :)
They also have a neat Facebook app and hand out rewards, so if you're into that, check it out as well!
Do you guys know any other job hunting resources similar to this one? I'd like to know more about the fun ways to go job hunting - no boring ads and such...
Good luck finding your dream job :)
I graduated the B.S , MSEE two month ago with 7 year worked in Semiconductor work and I send hundred resume to apply the job . Howver , no company responce it . Any advice should I go to get the Phd in EE.
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.
see above, get out white you can. I have two kids 15, and 11 and am over 40. Try looking for a job when ur over 40. Have skills up the wazzu and haven't found a job in a year. Go to law school instead of MSEE. You will thank me some day. Cheers.
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
Are you kidding? It is child's play to avoid 1706. Anyone with a brain can do it, and certainly engineers! This is a ridiculous comment. I have helped probaby 10-15 engineers start consulting careers, and not one single problem. Geez, I wish these comments were moderated to keep the fluff away!
So do I, fluff! The whole PREMISE of 1706 is that neither you nor your clients will EVER know that the consultancy you're CLAIMING to be operating is "legitimate" for a given tax year is that the IRS didn't audit and "redeclare" your income for that year, and there's no way you can get a determination IN ADVANCE. The very threat that at any time you COULD be found to be making an infraction of 1706 is generally enough to keep the bulk of potential clients from working with you. Now it's mostly applicable in the "computer" portion of the field, it more or less rules out consulting on software or computer hardware, if you're an EE and you're commercially viable this applies to most but certainly not all of the readers here. But if you think you've gotten through a year or two sand booked some income in the computer field and the IRS doesn't have you in its sights, think again!!!
You seem to have misconceived what the term 'consulting' means. It doesn't mean 'contractor' or 'job shopper'. The term is widely abused. Avoiding 1706 is trivial if you work in your own facility most of the time, set your own hours, have multiple clients, bill using invoices, and otherwise run a legitimate standalone business. Anyone who sits at a desk in someone else's workplace, keeps regular hours, reports to a supervisor, and does what is assigned to them is no consultant. The IRS wisely distinguishes between the often abused title and what actually happens. Real consultants don't have 1706 problems.
Gee I WISH I had a job where I could get consulting-class revenue and not "do what is assigned to me". It must be nice to live in an alternate universe like that! (Actually I used to consult in computer peripheral design but the advent of the $50 terabyte kind of removed the demand for supporting much in the way of engineering overhead.)
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 may be the exception.
I was laid of and had my resume on Monster. Received a call from Ball Aerospace and a phone interview. WAs offered a contaract job that turned into direct 7 months later. That was 10 years ago.
I was relocated to a new city, then laid off. I didn't know anyone there, so I had to start networking from scratch. I made a lot of good contacts but discovered quickly that my age was a serious handicap. I had much more success online. My last 2 jobs were obtained via online applications and LinkedIn networking.
Those of us with gray hair need to 1)wow them on the phone and online so they want you before they see how old you are, and 2)be flexible about relocating.
I find comments like this absolutely frustrating. I have never networked in my life, and all of my jobs since the beginning of my career until now were via job boards, or ads, including the one I got at the height of the recession and currently hold now. Everyone touts networking as the best thing since sliced bread, but it has never worked for me. My advice is to look long and hard, tailor your resume to the ad so as to get around the software and send the resumes out. Something will come up.
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!
Same experience here. Have been successfully using online searches and applications for more than 15 yrs. It does require investment in time for research and tweaking resumes carefully to fit each position description. Definitely a full-time job to search for a worthwhile position.
This is a strategy that most people overlook or even ignore. Tailor your application towards the words in the job description. You have to game the software filters, albeit in an honest way (i.e., as long as you don't claim skills or experience that you clearly do not have).
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.
I was laid off in a re-organization. New dumbed-down positions were created. I applied and was rejected without even a screening. This after excellent reviews and commendations. My conclusion: HR and its systems are incompetent.
I've read that in regard to the specific automated "job search services" that get most of the business from corporations, the primary selling point is that they are terrifically effective in preventing successful lawsuits from applicants who were not hired, NOT that they were actually successful in locating applicants that met the job requirements! Could one possibly derive from this that the emphasis placed on the requirements for these services are a bit off-target? Or that once again the legal profession is putting their needs before everyone else and needs to be restrained by some other means? Just asking...
The purpose of HR is not to find the qualified so much as to screen out the unqualified. Yes, they're morons but no engineering manager has the time or patience to deal personally with a few hundred resumes to find 3 or four possible hires. There is no engineering shortage and never was. There is, however, an ongoing, chronic shortage of qualified engineers for any given position.
You need to bypass HR. They are as overworked and short-staffed as everyone else. Besides filling openings is only a small part of their duties.
What is an engineer? One who can get the job done. I have worked with non-degreed and degreed engineers. I have trained engineers to design products and I am not degreed. Most non-degreed engineers have the title because they are competent.
If you select engineering as a profession, prepare to do something else before you reach age 45 or so. You will not be able to keep up with the changes in technology, you will be too expensive compared to new graduates and if you don't transition soon, you will be too old to be hired doing anything.
You also may have to relocate to China or India to find work.
Sorry, but it's guys like you that make HR think they can hire people off the street to fill and 'engineering' job. ALL engineers should be degreed and licensed. Then lobby congress that certain jobs like defense, avionics, automotive safety, medical should only be handled by licensed engineers. This would cut down on the flood of H1Bs and outsourcing. This debate was had in the 90s and the free market zeaalots won. Now we suffer for the mistakes of past generations.
Ability is ability. Licensing laws are bogus attempts to exclude able people, to install guarantees and provide comfort. But they don't work well at all, and making them mandatory won't make things any better. In certain fields I have found the degreed engineers are rarely the brightest or most creative or qualified. I would never recommend that anyone bypass the educational system, but that's due to the entry restrictions she/he will encounter, not because of capability.
You know I'd LIKE to agree with you, to be able to say that the workplace functions as an effective meritocracy. But I've worked a lot in fields like software which are tricky to assess. I knew even in school that the clever code thief looks brilliant (and fast!) next to the honest craftsman, and that was a long time before the term "open source" was even invented (and it's also not just an ethical question but also one of liability too). There's a second problem that managers in this field are generally poorly qualified to assess capability and effort, and so many of these are multi-party efforts which makes it even more difficult to measure individual contributions. But I DO agree degrees and formal licenses don't cut it either! Nor is anybody making a serious effort trying to solve this. So if you're just getting out of school, beware in the real world you'll often find yourself walking away without credit for some of your most committed efforts because in the final analysis "no one (in management) knew what was going on".
So, let me see if I understand, Bob...you went through all the trouble getting an MSEE, and then getting a professional engineer's license in your state. THen you got laid off for one reason or another and you EXPECT that, since you have a degree and license, someone OWES you a job, and you are BITTER because you have been out of work for a while. Maybe your work experience is not valuable to the jobs that you are applying for? Maybe your field is too narrow? Maybe, even with that fancy degree/license, you really didn't accomplish much as an engineer? Becuase I've hired dozens of EE's in my career and I don't hire them because they have a degree or license, I hire them based on their experience and skills! Maybe that's lacking in your case, and now you are just the bitter, angry, frustrated old man...sitting in your chair complaining at every chance!
I'm over 60 and I had to move to Germany to find work. Germany is desperate for good engineers and all the stuff you're hearing about unemployment in the EU applies to those with degrees in Gender Studies.
BTW, there are more and more fake interviews being held to get free advice on the problem of the day. Having had enough of this practice, I sent a bill to the last 'job creator' that tried this. If everyone did this, they might get a clue that we're on to them.
Regarding law school, that's probably an even worse career path than engineering! Quite the glut of law grads out there chasing very few positions. In fact, a number of law schools are being sued over cooking their books on graduate placement stats by hiring their own graduates short-term so they can boost their job placement ratio. Leave to lawyers to come up with that solution!
I was able to find jobs in good economy and bad using online applications, so the premise of the author of the article is false. Finding a new job is hard work, very stressful, and very frustrating. Doing it in the absence of personal contacts makes it much harder. You need to treat it like a project. Use best practices, learn from your mistakes, research and then research some more. The author seems to be saying "don't bother trying, just give up and shake your fist at the man!". Pathetic.
As a headhunter with many, many years of experience I saw the handwriting on the wall and high tailed it out of the business also many years ago. Simple reason, economics but also the advent of computer based job search made me puke. I stayed in contact with a few cohorts they were chagrined at how the work of a recruiter was based on performance metrics related to computer job boards. Yeech, over the last year however because of the very dismal record of computer based job search the phone has become the weapon of choice. Use your imagination make up stories get the hiring manager on the phone pitch him pitch your candidate , take no politely but call back in a week two weeks three week months years, eventually it works. Fastest placement over phone 1 day 150K that was the fee, not the guys salary,hit the phones, get people excited if you haven't pissed someone off today and your looking for a job your being a candy ass, hit the phones, hit em hard.
For the most part, I think applying on line is a good thing. However, there are some companies that seem to make the job application process too high of a hurdle. You spend twenty minutes filling out their online form and then you get to that one question that is just impossible to answer, and there is no way to "Next" around it. So you try the whole process again to see if there is some way around that question-if perhaps you made some silly mistake in the application process that brought you to this roadblock, and once again you hit a brick wall. And then you see that same opportunity on the job board three months later and you say to yourself, "Yep, I know why it is still there. Because nobody can get by that question. Har!" Online applications should be easy to fill out. In fact I would suggest that the last question for the application should be, "was this easy to fill out", along with a text box for comments and suggestions to improve their application process. There is a real art to creating a good straight-forward, streamlined online application process, and there are a few companies out there that fall far short.
About five years ago I decided to change the country I live in. I thought that standard CVs are not going to get me job in my field so I created a simple website listing all my projects I made before with pictures and few words of description. I've put the address into CV and send sent it out.
Got many responses from small-mid companies, none from big guns (I wasn't really targeting them). Every interview I went to they would have my projects printed and we would talk about real problems I had while designing. Got a job after 2 months. Now 5 years down the line I have changed the job again and website proved helpful again.
I'm still getting at least one e-mail every few weeks with headhunters asking me if I would be interested in some new job.
None of the online applications ever worked for me.
Website did... and one more thing - always talk to reps coming to your work. Those guys know all the other guys and other companies and will help you get in touch with places that are thinking about hiring (I found out about my new job before it was posted online).
I'd like to point out that I keep running into company policies that make finding work difficult. (The ones I run into as a contract worker may not apply so much to direct employment.) One large company says if it's been two years after I ever started working for them I'm "termed out" and need never apply again, another says that there "minimum requirement" is working experience with their PROPRIETARY toolset! So one is saying if you've worked here once then after a certain calendar date we don't want you again, for another if you haven't worked for us before you can't start now - and both companies are in the same industry! I find policies like this to be just arbitrary and frustrating, they may help meet some internal HR benchmark (like keeping rates low) but for the rest of us it just makes it harder to stay working.
Networking probably is the best way to find a job.
Unfortunately, many companies, including my last employer, block this path. They ONLY allow applicants to enter through the HR portal. They will not accept resumes any other way. And the vast majority of these sites will not let you enter any referrals by other employees. I would not have a problem finding people to network with since so many colleagues, hundreds that I personally worked with, were terminated over the last few years. Yesterday I finally found a local company that allowed me to enter a referral on their website.
I have been unemployed for 19 months. I am accomplished. I am too young to retire, and apparently too old to hire. I am also hampered by the de-industrialization of this country, especially where I live (CT). No industry... no need for engineers.
One important thing to be aware of is that, at least in southeastern Michigan, nobody even wants to talk to an unemployed engineer. After a lot of discussion, one headhunter let that slip. So I formed my own engineering firm and hired myself as an engineer, and immediately started getting responses to my postings. Unfortunately few of the jobs were a good fit, and the ones that were a good match were out of state, and I am unwilling to move. But it certainly did bring out the sad truth about the jobs situation. The other problem is that there are dozens of "wanabe" headhunters who re-post jobs posted by others, in hope of some reward. So one job opening can produce 20 or more different postings, which eventually turn out to be the same position already investigated.
BUT now my own company has started producing enough work that I would no longer be available for most of the posted positions. So I have a good result, although very little of my work is what I had originally planned on.
As it has ever been since the beginning of time, everything hinges on networking. If you want to become a consultant, your client base is your personal contacts, just as if you're looking for a fulltime job.
I haven't figured the value of Monster, I truly haven't.
As someone that has recently hired a few engineers, on of the problems I ran across was the volume of completely unqualified resumes. I suspect that since online job search allows for easier mass resume distribution, that's exactly what many people do. A very large portion of the resumes I see look like they are from people that see some sort of technology opening and send a resume without actually reading the posting.
I'm not talking about someone that can program in Java when I need C#. A good programmer can overcome that. I'm talking about needing a C# programmer and getting resumes from people that have spent a little time as a network admin or have done some light weight HTML coding and nothing more. The number of resumes I see from fields that aren't even close to software is staggering.
"I suspect that since online job search allows for easier mass resume distribution, that's exactly what many people do."
Perhaps the resume screening software should employ intelligent filters, much like anti-spam software, to prevent tangential resume submissions from even reaching an HR person's inbox.
I remember years ago, a friend telling me about screening resumes for a position he was trying to fill in digital IC design. One of the resumes he described had no relevant education or experience, but a statement that the applicant "owns a PC and is really good with computers." LOL!
I've submitted to a job online and to the same position at a career fair. The career fair got me interest and an interview while the online posting got me nothing. This leads me believe that a paper copy handed to a physical person has a much greater impact.
The way I see it is that the resume screening software is not too smart when it comes to filtering. Submitting my resume to software which auto-fills in the boxes showed me how much it relies on my resume being properly formatted to the requirements of the software. I had job descriptions as job titles, no education and a host of other discrepencies.
My advice to anyone is at least make sure that the software will populate with your resume correctly .or. submit a paper copy to a person. Half the battle is to actually have your resume read.
My current job was unsolicited. I started with a phone interview, which went well enough to garner a face-to-face interview with a team of engineers with whom I would be working with. I didn't think I did terribly well in the "wow them over" department, but apparently I was the best of those they interviewed for the position because I am now a senior systems engineer for a tier-one mobile phone manufacturer. The intermediary was a local head-hunter firm who found my resume on the ieee.org web site. That provided the intro, and for that I am extremely grateful.
I have also won positions by posting my resume on other web sites (Dice, Monster, et al). So, what does all this mean? To me, it means to be yourself. Show what you can do. Don't gloss over your deficiencies (I don't have a 4-year diploma/degree). Be enthusiastic about the opportunities that the position may offer. I think that my experience and enthusiasm were what won me this position. FWIW, I am a 64 (almost 65) year old engineer. Most of my colleagues (many of whom interviewed me) are in their 20's or early 30's... :-)
I wish there was a web site where engineers and techs could post their resume and employers could download and read as many of them as they want to.
Lots of jobs listings but hardly any sites that show resumes' without the engineer seeker spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars ! No wonder !
PS... I also find it next to impossible to find good engineers ! Hardly any applications even given to us in the alternative energy/power electronics industry up here near Seattle.
Location is an issue for many employers, who don't (or can no longer afford to) offer relocation packages as frequently as in the past. Also, in the US, there is the issue of people willing to relocate but can't due to an underwater mortgage. In Oregon, I have seen reports on the local news of people who a) take out a PO Box or use a friend's address in Silicon Valley and/or b) declare that they will just walk away from their Portland-area home if a job comes through in Silicon Valley or elsewhere.
I can see an enormous market opening up for people who can write software with that doesn't work in just 'binary', yes/no, pass/fail. It will take time to refine, but by weighing different features of a resume, rather than flat out rejecting an application who meeets 95% of a job requirement, software can assign applicants a ratio of 'meetings requirements' and have the top few percent turned over to a recruiter to finish sorting out.
As for individuals, put something in the header of your resume/CV that stands out. Something that makes you unique. I did that. It took a while, but I found a great permanent job while in the meantime working contract.
This article, on this website, brings tears to my eyes. My best friend was a self-taught electronic designer and tinker and, all his life, he was rejected by one company after another after another. The only company that ever believed in him was CMP Publications, then the parent company of EE Times. They hired him (Michael H. Mullin, 1956-1990) as the editor. God rest his soul and god bless the EE Times.
I think this article is fact what are we face in this time. having trouble finding jobs in this field you can try in another place, by visiting job listing web such as http://findjobsin.us you can find may jobs listing in this field and you can choose any company.
Has anyone investigated who DOES get hired in these engineering jobs that are "so hard" to find "qualified" candidates? My research shows it is those that meet diversification requirements and/or have foreign work visas. The USA is going downhill in engineering due to watered down academics and employers cutting costs by hiring foreign visa holders and less qualified engineers that only meet the diversification standards. Now what can be done about this is to go to the website www.myvisajobs.com and research the companies hiring foreign workers for 15-45% less pay and notify anyone person or group that can sue these employers for hiring foreign visa workers under false claims that no US citizens were qualified.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.