Job search sucks. It sucks for many reasons.
One of the major ones it is so hard is that quite often applicants get zero response to their applications.
So, you tailored your CV to 15 different roles, wrote passionate cover letters, did some research on recruiters/hiring managers personas and what? Right. Silence.
It’s even more puzzling when you get an automated response within 2 minutes after your application. The response states that ‘after careful consideration, in-depth discussions and profound analysis, we are hurt to inform, that you are unsuccessful in your application. We wish you the best of luck in your endeavours. Sincerely’.
Naturally, one might doubt on how ‘in-depth and sincere’ this analysis and response is.
Even worse – you had a screening call with a recruiter, you passed it with flying colours, and was promised that your CV was on the way to your ‘almost surely next’ manager. And this happened 2 weeks ago. And nothing happened after that.
The purpose of this article is to reveal real reasons your application might be rejected or the whole process gets paused, and your only conversants are crickets and ATS robots.
I hope this piece will make job seekers a little bit more relaxed, as sometimes, it’s NOT YOU!
1. Too many, too late.
Quite often, recruiters have to deal with a massive amount of applications, and I am talking hundreds of them. If you applied a few weeks after the job post went viral, there is a chance that the company has already gotten 50 applicants through the ‘wheels of fortune’ and they have finalists. Why is the job ad still there? Cos finalists are not exactly at the job offer stage, and there is always a chance that recruiters will get back to other applications. But it might take weeks.
2. Change of plan. What plan?
Unfortunately, at times, recruiters have to deal with hiring managers who are not entirely sure of the precise seniority/skillset they would require. Some recruiters might not have enough influence in the organisation or don’t have a lever with the client to tell them – stop messing, decide. At times hiring managers are inexperienced, and they are willing ‘to see what’s the market like’, as again they are just unsure.
Hence, the hiring team makes a questionable decision to publish a role that would attract ‘the birds and the bees’, BUT there is a fat chance they need a ‘walrus’.
How to understand that there is a bit of a mess in this ‘animal kingdom’?
These types of roles would be abundant on soft skills and a bit too vague on the description of the nature of the job.
You spoke to a recruiter. Everything went well. Promises were made. An exciting speech about benefits occurred. You were happy. Recruiter was happy. And… crickets.
Meanwhile, the hiring manager…
2. Went on a business trip
3. Can’t decide
4. Has a change in priorities
5. Busy putting out fire on the project
6. Got budget cut
7. Got headhunted
8. Wants to meet referrals first
9. Has someone else in mind
10. Waiting for more budget
11. Got a new budget and wants more senior people for the role, but recruiters are not aware of that yet
Recruiters are ‘wood pecking’ the hiring manager gently, but there is not much feedback they can provide to you.
4. Inside jobs
Some roles in companies would require the knowledge of the processes and products that external candidates would NOT have. Of course, these knowledge/skills are not exactly rocket science. Nothing is rocket science except rocket science. But getting an external candidate up to speed means time and money.
Apparently, it would be wise and maybe more human NOT to publish such role externally, but regretfully not all employers do wise and human things.
Another scenario: the role is terribly attractive, and there is a massive number of internal referrals. Some of them are pretty cool (I worked with her for 5 years, and she broke and fixed internet 7 times) or not so great (he is a friend of my neighbour’s friend), but internal recruiters MUST go through all referrals. Otherwise the business won’t be happy.
5. Diversity and Inclusion done wrong.
In situations when companies decide to improve their D&I ratio, recruiters deal with occurrences when D&I works favourably towards particular unrepresented groups while discriminating against others.
Of course, you wouldn’t know about it, right. And you might feel bit puzzled, why, oh why, what’s wrong with me. Nothing is wrong. Carry on!
6. There is NO role.
This is quite a peculiar situation that I witnessed on a few occasions while working in agency recruitment and watching what others were doing. Hopefully, recruitment agencies stopped doing that, but you never know.
So, you applied for a role, had a brief phone screen with a passionate recruiter who disappeared soon after.
What’s happening BEHIND the curtains?
So, there is a big fat company, say XYZ, everyone wants to join. XYZ manages their recruitment efforts through a panel of suppliers, which means, there are say, 7 recruitment agencies that are authorised to provide XYZ with candidates.
And… there is a small and not terribly proud recruitment agency, let’s call them agency # 8, that IS NOT on the panel. But they want to get there very-very much.
XYZ published a role, 7 panellists picked the role and posted on all the job boards. And they are OFF! Racing for candidates, trying to bring candidates to XYZ before their competition does.
Meanwhile… Agency # 8 picks up that there is a role from XYZ and they post this role as well, though, in fairness, they don’t have it.
The purpose of the agency # 8 is to pick up candidates other 7 panellists failed to find and to bring them to procurement and recruiters of XYZ before others do. Ideally offering qualified candidates at a cheaper rate.
Does it really work? Big fat companies don’t like unsolicited CVs.
Do you know about all this hassle? – Nope.
What to do? – If you are applying through agencies – check how many of them are posting almost similar jobs. Go with big fellas.
7. Local experience. Catch -22.
Another pain point for immigrants.
How, how the heck am I supposed to get local experience if no one of you, …, lets me gain it??? – Asked every immigrant at some point.
Again, it’s not about companies or recruiters being vicious or racist or whatever else.
It’s all about the nature of the role and risk mitigation.
If the success of an employee in this role largely depends ON
– ability to communicate flawlessly, understand others and being understood without much of an effort
– understanding, knowledge of the particular frameworks, legislation, modus operandi
– experience within a multicultural environment
– knowledge of the local market, connections and network
A company might be hesitant about candidates with no or little local experience.
How it could be helped:
– emphasise your international experience
– highlight international or widely recognised certs and education
– get references on LinkedIn from your overseas colleagues
– exposure to the local market (lived in China, India, Russia BUT worked with APAC)
– local volunteering in professional organisations
– local education
– membership in local professional organisations
8. Finally. You.
Your CV does not reflect what the company wants. It’s poorly written. You are overqualified or not qualified enough. Your visa status does not let you work full time; you require sponsorship they don’t offer, etc. And it’s okay. You will do better next time.