People in the business of hiring know that almost every job posting will attract a sea of unqualified candidates bursting through the floodgates. Many of today’s hiring tools such as applicant tracking systems and job boards also make it so easy to apply that anyone can apply for any job with the click of a button. Unfortunately for the HR person, this means that all too easily the job of hiring degenerates into flood control. Applicants experience this phenomenon in just the opposite way. Instead of inundation, they receive zero feedback. This effect has spawned its own black hole theory—just search the internet with the keywords “job application black hole“ to see it is all too common.
Clearly something is broken and in need of repair, but we all know it’s easier said than done. How do we ensure that applicants get the attention they deserve without intervention from a crack-team of emergency-response astrophysicists swooping down on parachutes to rescue applicants from a black hole disaster? And aside from mass-distribution of flotation devices, how do we prevent hiring professionals from drowning?
Solutions rest in the hands of everyone involved. For the purposes of this post we want to focus on some advantages available to job applicants, but let me briefly highlight the areas where hiring professionals can improve:
- For one thing, we could stand to do a better job of organizing our days to keep people apprised of their standing in the selection process.
- Another improvement would be to select the kinds of applicant tracking systems (ATS) that help us to pre-qualify candidates and help us keep in contact with people better. We need to remember that behind every application is a job candidate who would like to know the result of an application, even if not selected. A little bit of closure means a great deal. The hiring team at Altair tries to be as responsive as possible to the high volume of people who apply for our jobs, and we are continually improving systems and processes to do so.
Applicants, on the other hand, have a few tools at their disposal that may sound obvious, but the ways to apply those tools are easy to overlook while vying for a moment in the spotlight.
1. Focus–Better payoff comes from a very specific career aim, or targeting closely-associated possibilities based on educational and professional background. For example, managers would question the wisdom of a new university graduate applying for a senior rocket scientist position, especially if the person majored in Puppet Arts. Hiring managers in today’s globally competitive market want someone able to contribute from day one. Before applying, double check that it does not require a great leap in logic for someone else to see the job making sense in realistic career progression. This alone will spare both job candidates and HR people much grief.
2. Stay Sharp–Just the other day I received an application from a specialist in software quality assurance applying for a position in manufacturing quality. It was obvious the person had not read the job description. Conversely, a good way to show attention to detail would be to make sure that key skills listed in a job description also appear in the resume submitted for a job opening. Spellcheck helps too!
3. Dedication– Yes, there really is no denying the need for some good, old-fashioned “hard work.” I recommend rehearsing common interview questions and reviewing standard etiquette. It enables less distracted, more natural interactions. A person well-prepared is also less concerned about getting the basics right, and more focused on the important task of finding a good fit.
4. Personal Touch–The way one applicant approaches a new job differs from another person due to unique personalities and specific fields of expertise. As we mentioned in Dedication, interview preparation makes it easier to be confident enough during a job interview for that unique personality to shine through.
Another part of this strategy is to do everything possible to make a human, relational connection when applying. As strange as it sounds, hiring professionals are people too! Reaching them can be difficult but it represents a big advantage, because a computer system is only as good as its programming and it is incapable of wantingto help applicants. A desirable company is more likely to respond to applicants, and that human connection is the best way to get a response. For example, Altair’s recruiting team understands this and focuses on both in-depth interactions and regular candidate status updates.
We wish you great success as you navigate through the application process! Connect with and apply for one of our open positions!
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