During the 22 years during which I have been a headhunter or, more categorically, a direct-search recruiter, I have been watching with studious interest the standardization and streamlining of hiring processes. Let me be clear: the processes, and the rules you are told to follow, serve only to benefit companies, not you. Most of the advice you read is presented by those very same people telling you what and how to do it to fit their vision of what’s best for you. It’s rather like asking the prison guard what your rights are from the confines of your cell. That is because you, your concerns and your interests, are not their priority. That which differentiates you from everyone else is a distraction, by and large they aren’t interested. They have a script, a list, a ritual they follow and to step out of line is to attract a look of disapproval. They’re too busy trying to connect the dots of some generic job description, just one of many job vacancies they are tasked with filling. They aren’t as interested in you as they are with trying to find a match to an ideal psychometric profile; they can’t be bothered with your needs while they are busy trying to connect the dots. Just get in line with everyone else, react when summoned, speak only when spoken to and don’t call us we’ll call you. You need to understand and accept that human resources is less human than ever.
But we share a lot of the blame because, for the sake of convenience, we’ve disarmed ourselves, gotten fat and lazy to the extent that far too many people are not capable of doing more than the online activities. Imagine, when I suggest that people do something so basic as to pick up the phone and seek out an actual hiring manager (not to be confused with human resources who, in reality, are process oriented, they don’t make actual hiring decisions) they give me a look of incredulity that implies I am being unreasonable and even radical. In the modern era, if it isn’t posted online most people have no idea what to do for themselves. So they do nothing, beyond the same pointless routines over and over again with the same result – which defines what? Yeah, and I’m the crazy one?
So welcome to the new normal, which is increasingly analogous to Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”. Unless you make a conscious choice to take responsibility for yourself, turn away from those with interests other than yours and what’s best for you and your family – here is your future; here is your kid’s future, get used to it. Actually, it’s already here, we just have better clothes and a brighter, better-appointed workplace.
But all is not lost. For those who want to take initiative, actual hiring managers still want to find the best available talent. But you’ve got to get their attention and even before that, you need to navigate an obstacle course of bureaucracy. This misconception the internet has made finding jobs easier is a lie; what it has done however, is create yet another barrier between you and a decision maker. It has also made it much easier for human resources to avoid having to expand their precious time dealing with pesky applicants. Meanwhile, you’re more frustrated than ever.
Ironically, I hear managers often lament they can’t find the best candidates. I also hear job seekers complaining that they pursue job opportunities and apply online, only to never hear from anyone and are not even sure their resumes have been reviewed or considered. Hey look, this blog now has an archive spanning almost two years. Also available here is a series of video segments, free to anyone who’ll take the time to view them. Best of all, I have a step-by-step handbook with more detail than I can provide in a blog or the videos and you’ll always have it at your fingertips to quick-reference, anytime. So if you want to improve your chances you have no excuses – and if you still fail to do anything, I haven’t an ounce of pity or even any sympathy for you.
A lot of people talk about doing things, but increasingly fewer actually do anything about it. I’ve done my part, making this information available. It’s up to you to do something with it or share it, bringing it to the attention of someone you know who is in need. And you will set yourself apart because human nature is such that most people will continue to do nothing and prefer to complain. This is an advantage for you, so capitalize on it.