The High Tech, High Touch Way to Get Hired
Technology has impacted the selection and hiring process for
today's employers. Managers work with a recruiter in the company's
human resources department to develop a list of keywords that
describe the required and preferred characteristics of a top
candidate for the position. Applicant tracking software that
searches and screens resumes identifies candidates that fit
the position requirements in an unbiased manner. It saves
organizations time and money as they sift through candidates.
Job seekers who understand the hiring process from the employer's
perspective can use both the system and their networks to
their advantage and showcase their benefits in the best light.
Technology makes hiring more specific and the initial
The hiring process today can be more targeted and competitive
when compared to job searches of the past. A college degree
alone used to be the ticket to "a good job." The
choice of an academic major would often be secondary. And
while a degree does show persistence, employers are now able
to be more selective about the specific credentials and experience
of their hires; whereas in the past they were willing to provide
more training on the job. Internships were rarely required.
Back then, a young adult with a History, English Literature
or Psychology major might have made the cut and been invited
to interview for an entry-level marketing job. Today, it may
be harder to make it through the initial application and screening
So who might make it through the screening and catch the
hiring manager's attention for a marketing position today?
The student who majored in Integrated Marketing, completed
one or two internships, and has done several marketing class
projects or projects for small organizations. Internships
translate into experience from an employer's perspective.
They want and can hire candidates who have relevant knowledge
and experience to ramp up quickly and make a productive contribution
as soon as possible.
Experienced job seekers compete best in this automated screening
process by making sure their education, training, industry
knowledge and work experiences are relevant and current on
their application and resume, because this is what hiring
managers want. The focus is not just on the responsibilities
held, but emphasizes specific accomplishments and achieved
results. Resumes must contain important keywords that translate
to expertise managers seek.
Technology, as efficient as it might be, is not the whole
picture in the hiring process. In fact, only responding to
positions listed on online job boards is not particularly
effective. According to a 2009 survey
conducted by the recruiting and staffing consulting firm,
Careerxroads, only 12.3% of external hires are attributed
to online job boards. Company websites fare better at 20%
of external hires.
Networking helps to personalize the process
On the other hand, "Referrals (employee, alumni, vendor,
etc.) make up 27.3% of all external hires and is arguably
the number one external source." according to the survey.
"The efficiency of referrals is one of the single most
important characteristics of U.S. hiring practices."
Referrals yield an amazing hit rate for hires: 1 candidate
out of every 11.2 referrals is hired.
We've all heard the adage, "To get a job, it's who you
know, not what you know." Relevant education and experience
continue to be key, but the Careerxroads survey underscores
that "who you know" is more important than ever
today in uncovering job opportunities and getting a chance
to interview for an available position. And while today's
hiring process now requires online standardized applications,
your first step is still finding a person ahead of time through
networking efforts to champion your application within an
organization. "We continue to advise jobseekers to NEVER
apply to a company without first networking to an employee
in that firm for a referral," according to Careerxroads'
report. "The difference in probability of getting 'up
to bat' is too large to ignore." Even a simple internal
inquiry about the receipt of an application gets noticed.
Strategic networking has always been critical to tease out
job leads and gain visibility with potential colleagues and
To sum it up, make sure you use technology and your networks
to the best advantage in the "survival of the fittest"
© Copyright 2009, Career Vision / Ball Foundation. Article
may be reprinted with permission.