Photo by Lauren
Unemploymentality has a post that’s really an open letter to employers who treat candidates like crap. In it, the author rails against companies who force candidates to apply only by filling out those very narrow online application forms, search for resumes using only keywords, and do other things that prevent them from really evaluating a candidate’s full experience (and finding the best people).
On the one hand, I agree. Companies who do that stuff suck. HR people who use these tools to look at an artificially narrow pool of candidates are idiots, and if the company’s hiring managers are dumb enough to let them choose their employees that way…well, that’s probably someplace most of us wouldn’t want to work anyway. Smart companies have multiple ways of sourcing candidates, and aren’t exclusively using ads that feed into the applicant tracking systems. They use referrals, social and traditional networking, and other stuff too. They also know how to use those applicant tracking systems as a tool to find great people, not a crutch to keep them from having to look at “too many” candidates. When I talk to those HR folks treat candidates as a mass of humanity they want to avoid contact with, I get crabby. That’s a sign that they’ve been in the business too long and need to find something else to do for a living.
On the other hand, if you’re only looking for a job by applying through company websites, you’re kind of an idiot too. Stop doing that. Go through those channels if they’re required, but after you’ve filled out their annoying online form, take the initiative to find a real human (preferably the one who is doing the hiring), and make a real connection. Use your network to find people who work for companies you like, and ask them for help. If you’re relying entirely on technology to find you a job, instead of using it as a tool to connect you humans who will give you a job…well, you’re just as bad as the HR folks who are relying entirely on technology to find them a candidate. The trick is to use the technology to find a human. THAT is why tools like Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook are useful to job seekers.
Don’t get me wrong—big companies are going to require that you jump through their hoops. That’s just a fact of life. But you can’t stop there. You have to have more than one way in if you really want to get noticed. Filling out forms and waiting for the phone to ring is not going to get you a job.
No company is impenetrable. It’s up to you to find a way in. I guarantee that the way in will somehow involve a human, not a computer. The computer is the key that opens the door…it’s not the door. Don’t confuse the two.