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Why Do They Do That? Answers to 5 Common Job Search Frustrations

job hunting job search job search advice Jul 10, 2023
Why does HR do that written on a chalkboard

Does the recruiting process mystify you? You aren't alone. Many highly qualified job seekers struggle, especially when they don't really understand how employers' hiring practices work. Some of their actions seem initially vague, while others are just plain rude.


 1. Is this job really open?

 As a job seeker, I am certain you have encountered this issue before. Your top-choice company has a job opening – your dream job, in fact. However, the job was posted two months ago. Are they still considering candidates?


Unfortunately, probably not.


Most HR departments evaluate candidates about one week after the job is posted. They will get the majority of applicants within that timeframe. While sorting the applicants, they rarely add new applicants to the mix.


So, why are the jobs still posted if they aren't looking at new applicants?


Many employers have a policy to keep a job posting active until the position is actually filled. Considering the interview process itself may involve several rounds, a job could conceivably be "active" on the company's website for up to three months.


The exceptions:

Typically speaking, executive positions will stay open longer. Another category that will consider late applicants is hard-to-fill technical positions or specialists in any given field. Third, some positions are in a "perpetual hiring state," such as sales roles. Since quality salespeople generate revenue, employers are always open to talent who can produce results. Finally, the last exception is the least desirable: High turnover jobs. If a company has a bad reputation AND they are constantly hiring for the same roles, it's probably because they can't get anyone to stay for any length of time.


 2. Why won't they send a rejection letter? I just want to know either way...

 Now, this may sound rude, but informing applicants about the final decision on a job posting is not always top on HR's priority list. If their last month (or more) was consumed with coordinating interviews, crafting job offers, negotiating salaries, and onboarding new employees, getting back to applicants is just another step in their busy schedule.


Plus, it's cheap to be rude. While it can be as simple as selecting a few options in their Applicant Tracking System (ATS or the database of applicants), if the system isn't optimized to produce automated rejections, then the HR folks themselves have to sort through the applicant pool to send the rejections.


The exception:

If you do receive a rejection, pay attention to a few key metrics:

  • Was this an automated form email or message?
  • Did you receive the rejection within 24-72 hours after you applied?

 If so, you were screened out by the computer. Based on the keywords or key criteria for the position, the ATS rejected your resume before an actual human being saw it. Even LinkedIn has algorithms available to recruiters which will send automated rejections to candidates who don't meet the job's basic requirements or qualifications.


 3. I interviewed but didn't get the job. When I asked for feedback as to why, I only got vague and generalized answers. Why?

 Hiring decisions are always confidential. One of HR's main functions is to protect the company. Therefore, they rarely give direct feedback, either on your credentials or your performance during the interview.


The exception:

If you were presented for the job by an outside recruiter or "headhunter," you may receive more feedback to help you improve your future interviews. This is especially true if the recruiter considers you a top candidate they want to present for future roles.


4. I hate networking! Do I really have to do it?

 It's a common statement: 80% of jobs are found through networking. But is that real?


First of all, let's be clear about what networking is. It does not mean going to tons of after-hours business events and shoving your business card at people who aren't even the right contact. Instead, networking should be a strategic approach to reinforce your existing relationships while building new connections with people you don't know yet.


With this new definition, understand that ALL forms of networking count. For example, getting involved in Groups on LinkedIn, sending invitations to new contacts, and asking for recommendations from past co-workers are ways to expand or activate your network.


The exception:

If there is one form of networking that you truly despise, don't do it! It is better to double down on the networking strategies that you do enjoy (or can tolerate) than to force yourself into awkward situations that are ultimately fruitless.


5. Two separate experts reviewed my resume and gave me vastly different opinions. Which one should I believe?

 Consider the source. Do they understand both the HR screening process and the hiring manager's point of view? Are they familiar with the best resume practices for your field? Are they looking at the content or just the format?


Resumes and LinkedIn profiles are tricky things. In many ways, they are a mix of poetry and computer code – both of which are difficult to write for different reasons.


Your resume must have a 60-70% match the keywords in the job description to survive the computer screening, but it must still be persuasive when read by the hiring manager. Yes, it needs to cite accomplishments, but it also needs to highlight your transferrable skills. Finally, the appearance needs to be polished; however, it needs to upload easily and cleanly into the online applications.


The exception:

Of course, the best resume and LinkedIn profiles are the ones that produce results. However, how can you be certain that your resume is performing?


Ideally, you should land one to three initial interviews per every 10 applications. If you aren't hitting that mark, there is probably something wrong with your resume, whether it is the keywords, format, or qualifications.


How does your job search stack up?

 Looking to implement some new strategies that handle these frustrations head-on? Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with our career experts to gain insight into how you can improve your results:


Wondering how effective your job search is? Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our career coaches, Donna Shannon or Dia Kline

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