In the olden days ….. and what’s happening today

Do you often not get a reply from employers or companies when applying for a role? Are you applying to so many jobs that you have lost track of the role and the company? Do you find there are so many places to look it’s overwhelming? Maybe you can’t find the jobs that suit you, or the role you want has been filled before you know about it, as it was filled through the hidden networking market.

These are all comments from candidates I have talked with over the years about the job market and their search for their next opportunity. After considering these comments, I decided to use some of the following musings to address these issues in more detail.

When I started in recruitment 21 years ago, there was no internet and no online jobs, and although it was very busy, it was a very different busy.

To advertise a role, you had to have your position description formatted by an external marketing company (no Canva back then) and submitted by fax by Thursday so that it could go in the papers on a Saturday.

We often came into the office on a Monday to find that the fax paper had run out as people would fax their CVs to us. We would then wait a week or so for the letters and CVs to arrive, and then we would interview the candidates.

Other than me just reminiscing, it is a reminder that there were a few important aspects that are now missed in today’s hiring environment.

In 1998:

  1. Everyone would get a written letter in reply to their application, whether successful or not.
  2. Every CV would be looked at and filed.
  3. The phone would run hot on a Monday morning regarding the role. Candidates would be told “no” if they were not suitable. Candidates knew whether they were in or out pretty quickly.
  4. We had a lot more communication with candidates. We had to screen candidates by phone, as that was how you booked interviews.
  5. We had newsletters to keep candidates in touch.

In 2019:

  1. You may or may not get a reply.
  2. Your CV may never be seen by eyes. Only a computer.
  3. No one picks up the phone to call – neither the client nor the candidate. It is email only.

Today, with this lack of communication, candidates are often anxiously waiting for feedback. Could you have been a potential candidate for the role? In a lot of cases, you don’t know if you stood any chance at all. And if you were a good candidate, you may have been missed as you didn’t articulate your expertise well enough.

So, returning to those comments, let’s start with:

Why today, are you not getting a reply from employers or companies when applying for a role?

What is happening?

I advertised a role last week as no one was suitable in my database or network. We had over 170 people apply within one week. This is quite a lot to contend with, to read through all the applications.

I can automate replies so, at the very least, I don’t miss anyone. But it’s often the case that companies that do not have the software tools to do so never get back to you. And it’s because they often don’t have the staff or time to reply.

It’s also because there are so many applicants that can easily press “yes” on the application button, even though they are not quite right for the role. They then clog up the system with too many CVs so that yours becomes lost in the 170.

I have talked in the past about getting out of the black hole. The right keywords, the right articulation, a well-thought-out format, and, as I mentioned in my previous musing, a suitable cover letter are all important. Remembering, of course, the phone call!

I will say that of those 170, I did not get one phone call. Not one. I know I keep going on about it, but it does frustrate me.

And, of the 170, only 10 had a cover letter.

So, who do you think I am going to look at first?

Another thing to remember is that recruitment agencies are free for you as a candidate. If you have to pay for something to be registered, then this is not appropriate. They are paid by the company they are working on behalf of, so many times, their focus is not on you but on filling the role.

This can be short-sighted, and I see a lot more agencies looking after their candidates, but remember that the number of candidates is sometimes in the many thousands or hundreds of thousands for recruitment agencies compared to the few clients that they are working with. You pay nothing to them. So, therefore, don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed.

Having said that, there are many good ones out there, and this is where you can build some great relationships that can be long-term. It’s worth still registering.

Good recruiters will look through their database before they advertise a role, and that is why it is good to be registered with those in your sector. But you should get used to the fact that you will see roles you are suitable for advertised through them when they haven’t called you. You should call them or follow up! They may have missed you in the search, or the client they are working for may specifically want them to advertise.

If an agency advertises for a role that is not what you want but is in a similar company or industry, it’s still good to register with them.

Ask friends and colleagues who they have used and who they like, and make an introduction.

Send a thank you email or note to the recruiter even if you don’t get the role, as you don’t know what can happen.

I hope that helps you understand what happens when you don’t always get a reply. Please don’t give up!

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