The Recruiting Contest – The Real Hunger Games
The recruiting game (the real world ‘Hunger Games’)
It is supposed to be fair – that’s a given – but it’s not always fair. Job seekers apply for hundreds of jobs looking for the next big career move. The job may go to the owner’s nephew, a friend-of-an-employee, or is filled by a less qualified candidate who fulfills affirmative action plan goals for hires. The job might not go to the most qualified candidate, but to the good-enough candidate willing to take a cut in salary for $20K less. The most qualified candidate may be ‘over-qualified’ (too much experience or education). This occurs when the recruiter assumes the ‘more mature’ applicant will ask for more salary than the position’s budget. (An applicant is qualified or not – there is no legal definition for ‘overqualified.’)
It’s a contest for recruiters to find that candidate with the ‘most’ bullets on the checklist of mandatory versus nice-to-have from the written job description. This cat and mouse game is played daily – let the contest begin…
Round One: Get on your mark…
The recruiter is given a job posting assignment – their job – to find the most qualified candidate compared to the requisitions’ description. They must also ensure all federal employment law is adhered to by publishing the position in the most cost effective manner to keep the recruiting costs to a minimum to the company.
The job seekers assignment – find that job posting in a sea of a million other real and fake job ads across the massive number of job databases posted by thousands of recruiter. They must use Boolean search terms smartly to find that position – recruiters are sometime restricted to template jobs descriptions that don’t resemble the actual job.
Round Two: Recruiters and job seekers have finally arrived at a single point – at which a filtering process begins. Get set…
The recruiters use software to search for the key words, terms, phrases, and what resume has the ‘hook’ in the top four inches of the document they want to devote their six seconds of reading towards.
Job seekers must ensure their resume has the most number of key words in an easy to read resume with the ‘hook’ being the # of years of unique experience without using subjective (self-aggrandizing) adjectives that waste the recruiter’s time.
Round Three: They are out of the gate…
The recruiters are tasked with finding the best candidates for the job, and their job is to: 1) reduce the hiring manager’s time by interviewing non-qualifying candidates, 2) reduce the time spent in the recruiting process to fill the position, thereby keeping the revenue losses to the company at a minimum, and 3) find the candidate that is most qualified and willing to work at the salary the company has budgeted.
The job seekers goal is to meet with the hiring manager, dazzle them with their brilliance, capability, potential, and personality (fit to company environment) and get hired quickly at the most salary they can talk the company into paying them.
Round Four: Go… (Hire)
The contest ends when the candidate is sent an offer letter of employment. Many job seekers don’t realize this contest and the work being performed by recruiters is a game of rules – the recruiters have their back to the wall, are under restrictions for what they can or can’t do, and ‘are under gun’ to get their hiring tasks completed in a deadline-driven environment. There is no ‘fair’ to the game – it’s play by the rules or don’t play. Job seekers are desperate to get hired and want to play the game, but need to understand the rules – as they are played by the recruiters – to understand how to play the game successfully as a job seeker.
Dawn Boyer, Ph.D. is the owner of D. Boyer Consulting – a career services coach, social media management, human resources and business development consultant. Reach her at: Dawn.Boyer@DBoyerConsulting.com or http://dboyerconsulting.com for resume writing services, LinkedIn training, or career social media management.