Last week, the blogosphere was all atwitter with the news that there are now six candidates for every job opening in the United States. That’s certainly a big increase from the historic norm—which is around 1.4 candidates per opening—but it’s hardly an earth-shattering event.
Ask anyone in the job market today, and the ratio for many openings is much, much worse. In fact, it’s not all that unusual to see dozens and sometimes even hundreds of applicants for a single job. And it’s that reality—that six represents your best odds—which creates a huge problem for job seekers and employers alike.
Six is Only a Dream for Job Seekers
For job seekers, of course, more than six candidates per opening means it’s tough to stand out. When employers are drowning in resumes, they spend even less time than usual scanning the credentials of each applicant.
What should you do if you’re in transition? Stack the deck in your favor by practicing the “application two-step.”
• Step 1 is easy and important, but it’s almost never sufficient to get you hired. When you see an opening for which you’re qualified, you have to submit your resume.
• Step 2 is hard and even more important. You have to network to find one of two kinds of contacts. The best is someone you know who works for the organization. The other is a professional connection (e.g., someone with the same alma mater or who is a member of the same professional association.) Whichever it is, ask that person to hand carry your resume into the HR Department and put it on top of the stack sitting on the recruiter’s desk. If that happens, you’ll go from being one of the crowd to being standout in the crowd.
Six is Only a Dream for Employers & Recruiters
For employers and recruiters, the problem is different. You want to show applicants the courtesy and respect they deserve, but it’s tough to do that when your systems are clogged with more resumes than they can handle. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the single greatest complaint applicants have about employers is the lack of any feedback when they respond to an ad posted online. To them, the submission process is a great black hole that seems indifferent at best and downright rude at worst.
And that’s unfortunate, because based on surveys we’ve conducted here at WEDDLE’s, the vast majority of employers do actually both acknowledge the resumes they receive and thank the applicants for their submission. So, what’s behind the disconnect? Spam filters. All too often, they derail the messages that employers and recruiters send to applicants.
How can that problem be solved? Stack the deck in your favor by adding a statement to every job posting that has two parts:
• First, it confirms that the organization WILL acknowledge the receipt of all resumes submitted by applicants
• Second, it encourages applicants to add the From address of the organization’s message (which it should provide) to their email manager’s white list or roster of approved senders. It’s not a full proof solution, but it will dramatically increase the number of those messages that are received.
Six candidates per job posting may not seem like much of a challenge—you face far longer odds in Las Vegas, for example—but it represents the best you are likely to get. Whether you’re a job seeker or an employer, the odds are usually much longer, so the only way to succeed is to stack the deck in your favor.
Thanks for reading,