3 What & Whys – Part 2

I recently discussed the 3 Big Whys to consider in your job search and hiring strategies for you and your business.

The list of items that I can talk about keeps on growing each year. 

Today, I would like to highlight three more questions that have been asked of me by candidates when hiring for companies and Sue recently in her candidate support program, the mexec jobstrategy™ program.

What are Why are the following important?

  • The ‘Black Hole’
  • Keywords

First, a bit of ancient history:

When I first started in recruitment in 1998, I used to receive CVs by FAX or snail mail with a queen’s stamp after we had advertised in the Saturday newspapers. The newspapers were the only way to advertise back then or networking.

shutterstock 692559100I would physically spend hours sorting CVs into the ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘maybe’ piles for the role or a ‘yes to keep’ for future roles. 

We would open each letter from every applicant and then type a letter of reply to everyone. Our human eyes would review every CV that applied. Then, physically file the CV into many filing cabinets. I am talking about multiple cabinets of filing cabinets. There was no internet then, and no admin support either.

Fast forward to 2022, and everything, as you know, is online.


How to make sure you are noticed on the ATS/CRM including LinkedIn and organisation databases?

*ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems), CRM (Customer Relationship Management Systems) – online database detail management systems.

When you apply today (2022) for a role, your CV and details go into the ATS / CRM automatically without always passing a human review. Most times, you receive an automated reply.

How, then, do you know a real person has looked at your CV?

You don’t.

Until the recruiter or company calls or emails you about the role you applied to or until you come up in a specific search for another role that they are recruiting for in the future.

When you apply for a role, you may not be seen by human eyes, and you go into the ‘big database in the sky’. What we call here at mexec the ‘black hole’.

shutterstock 1025146114

Black Hole

How do you make sure you are not in that ‘Black Hole.’ 

Ask yourself these initial questions before you apply for a role:

Did you ask yourself if this is the right role for you? What I mean is, did you really review it properly or just press the apply button just in case it MAY be something of interest?

shutterstock 1822634732Did you take a highlighter physically or on the computer version and highlight on the position description the key aspects of the role that are important, and do you actually match them?

FACT: At least 40% of candidates applying to my roles here at mexec do not align with the roles we advertise.

Suppose you are applying to a role without enough of the experience demonstrated in the key selection criteria for that role. In that case, you are most likely wasting your time and also waiting on a reply for a role that you never had any true alignment with.

Also, for hiring managers: If you are writing a position description for a role that you wish to advertise – did you also include enough of the key selection criteria to ensure candidates know enough to know the role and align?

It can be that the employer is not articulating enough but also that you, as a candidate, are not reviewing the PD well enough.


Did you have keywords in your CV that align with the role?

As a Recruiter, when I search in my CRM for candidates for a specific role, I would initially screen on keywords that align with the role I am trying to recruit. I can have anywhere from 2 -200+ candidates that I find in the CRM that may align with any given role when we search for a client’s position.

Keywords can include skills such as Molecular Biology or company names, e.g. Pfizer, NOT soft skills such as ‘team player’.

Am I going to screen 200 people by phone for a role?

At 15 minutes minimum, a call that is 200x 15 mins = 3000 minutes =50 hours of phone calls.

Nope, nannar, not at all; completely unrealistic actually!

I may start with the top 10 candidates that most align with the search parameters and may find the successful candidate from that mix.

If you are lower in the list of keyword searches, then you may not be reviewed for the role at all and remain in the ‘black hole’ of the CRM/ATS.

Therefore, do you have the right keywords that align with the role at the top of the first half of the first page?


The AI/algorithms in many ATS and CRM programs where CVs are stored prioritise the order of the information on the page and prioritise the content of the first page and top of that page.

Do you have an informative and impactful first page?

What we have also seen are CVs and LinkedIn profiles that have been decorated with keywords to try and make it seem as though you are aligned for the role, but when we look deeper, it is apparent you aren’t.

Even if you populate your CV with keywords from the ad and you get selected by the ATS, your CV clearly needs to demonstrate that you actually possess those competencies. If not, you are wasting everyone’s time!

That is where, at the phone screen or interview, I would rule you out very quickly if you don’t actually have those skills required. It may also cause you some damage reputationally if you are not truthful in your applications and be blacklisted for future roles through that organisation/ recruiter.

mexec guarantee

Here at mexec, we endeavour to treat every person who emails us individually and as important as the next. ALL CVs and applications/ emails are reviewed by human eyes by myself or one of my team. Here at mexec, we also have a 48-hour reply guarantee.

I have many more to talk about another day, at least another three newsletters worth! So keep a watch out for our quarterly newsletter on how to make sure you are getting to the interview stage. Also, hiring managers, are you writing your position descriptions well enough to ensure you find the best candidates?

Talk to Sue on our mexec jobstrategyTM program if you are not getting to interview.

Or if you are getting to interview on how we can help you with interview training to nail your next move.

Employers, if you are searching for that unicorn staff member and can’t find them, reach out to us to discuss how we can search to find them for you.

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