August 8, 2012

A thought for today – Why you didnt get the interview – UMMH!!!

OK, so you replied to an online job posting for that perfect Supply Chain job you just know is a fit for you, and you never got the call to come in for an interview – WHY does this keep happening? Let’s explore over the next few posts some of the key reasons why job seekers just DON’T hear back from employers even though they know they can do the job and do it well. 

Probably the single most common reason candidates are not selected for further consideration in a selection process is because the employer has determined that you simply are not fully qualified. In fact, most studies confirm that at least fifty percent of online applicants are rejected for this reason alone. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t qualified: it simply means the employer has analysed your application, including your resume, and has not found what they were looking for. Now, you clearly felt capable of doing the job, which is why you applied, but the employer disagrees – where’s the disconnect?

So let’s just back this up a bit to explain. When employers work with Search Firms such as Argentus, they rely upon our ability to find and present as few as one or two and no more than a handful, of suitable candidates. By contrast, online job postings typically attract dozens, and frequently hundreds, of responses. Because of this, employers now increasingly use automated tools, known as screeners, to analyse online applications. Employers simply don’t have the internal resources to consider each application individually. One of the consequences of this is that the screeners are programmed using very rigid rules, in order to eliminate the vast majority of applicants from further consideration. The more sophiscated automated screeners will rank respondents based on some sort of point system, but the more straightforward will simply accept or reject your application based upon an exact match of each requirement. 

Qualifications consist of skills, relevant work experience, education levels obtained, and professional designations, and are typically grouped into two categories: those that the employer absolutely insists you have, called the “must-haves”, and those that are desired but not mandatory, called the “nice-to-haves”. Experience requirements (and sometimes skills) will specify a duration, either as a minimum, such as “minimum 2 years experience as a Procurement Category Manager”, or may be specified as a RANGE, as in “must have 3-5 years experience as a Purchasing Team Lead”.

The screener is looking to match your skills and experience to the job requirements. So if the job posting indicates you MUST have a MINIMUM of 2 years experience as a Category Manager, for instance, you will be rejected if you only have 14 months. Your dont get credit for the INTENSITY of the experience, or for how much knowledge you gained from that incredible manager who mentored you – you only get credit for the DURATION of the assignment. 

So how to avoid falling into the trap? Here are some things you need to remember when applying: 

Let’s be blunt: if you don’t possess ALL of the “must-have” requirements, and most (let’s say at least half) of the “nice-to-haves”, the chances are good to certain that you wont be selected. So bear that in mind when deciding if its worth your valuable time applying. (A word of caution – if you apply anyway, you could get branded a spammer and red flagged as someone NOT to be interviewed and you don’t want this to happen).

You need to pay careful attention to exactly what is being requested. If you have 1 year experience as a Commodity Buyer, for example, don’t apply for a position where the minimum mandatory requirement is 2 years experience. On the other hand, if the requirement is for 1-2 years experience, you do meet the requirement, but bear in mind that others who have more than one year experience will be at an advantage. Also,  if you have 3 years experience, the possibility exists that you will be rejected for being OVER qualified. Crazy, I know, but there it is. Technology at its worst for the active job seeker. 

Because the screener is an automated tool, and not a human, there is no room for error. Make sure you scour your resume and cover letter to ensure that terminology, spelling (please especially spelling), etc. match the job posting. I cant stress enough how important it is for the information in your cover letter to MATCH and BE CONSISTENT WITH the information in your resume, and in any on-line forms you may be asked to fill out. The screener will be comparing all 3, and lack of consistency is a serious red flag. MAKE SURE that your cover letter, if one is requested, includes all of the mandatory requirements. 

Finally, recognise that the online application is a process in which there is a relatively low probablility of success, unless you happen to be an EXACT match for what is being requested. I don’t for a second suggest that you not apply, but I do suggest that you not rely on it exclusively. Make it part of a job search strategy that includes other approaches. Consider, for example, allying yourself with a Search Firm whose strengths and specialties are in line with your career goals. Before choosing a search firm just make sure they specialise in and are very well connected in the area you are seeking to work. Want to work in Supply Chain then Argentus is a good choice.

 Stay tuned for the next installment.

Over and Out




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