Hire Economics: Why Applying to Jobs Is a Waste of Time!


n00b

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n00b

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The point of this article is to strongly suggest that job-seekers should only spend 20% of their time working the job boards and most of it networking. A lesson in hire economics helps explain why.

Last weeks Department of Labor (DOL) report indicating that total nonfarm employment increased in May by 175,000 was greeted with a collective sigh of modest relief. Unfortunately the June 11 DOL JOLTs report of open jobs forecasts a summer of renewed hand-wringing.



As shown in the first graph there was a nice pickup in open jobs in February to almost 4mm resulting in the decent employment increases in April (+149K) and May (+175K). The Q1 flattening of total open jobs however is likely to be felt in the summer months since there’s a lag of about 2-3 months after a job is posted before it’s filled. So if a job-seeker is expecting to get a job by applying to a job posting, things will get more difficult.

However, things aren’t as dismal as this report indicates since the DOL report doesn’t reflect the total jobs available, only those posted. In an earlier post I described the sequence of steps companies use to fill jobs from promoting people internally, networking and getting referrals, and searching through resume databases and posting on job boards. This sequence results in two job markets, one that’s hidden, the other public. This is shown in the second graph. Based on some of our semi-scientific analysis (public and private survey data) it appears that about half of all jobs are filled in each market. The DOL data does not consider this hidden market.


This is good news to job-seekers, but you can’t get to these jobs by applying. Here’s why: jobs in the public market are filled by matching skills listed in the job posting with those found on the resume. At best, this is a poor process, and why most jobs in the public market take so long to fill. Jobs in the hidden market are filled based on internal promotions, referrals and recommendations, with candidates being assessed on their past performance and future potential. For job-seekers who aren’t perfect matches on skills and experience this is great news, but to get the chance to be evaluated this way you need to be recommended by someone in your network.

In my book, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired, I suggest that recruiters should employ a 20/20/60 recruiting strategy. The idea is to only spend 20% of their time posting jobs, 20% looking for resumes and 60% networking. This allows companies to find the best people available, not just the best people who are applying to their job postings.

A similar 20/20/60 job hunting strategy should be used by job-seekers. In this case 20% of the time responding to job postings by going through the back door rather than applying through the front, another 20% ensuring your resume and LinkedIn profile are easy to find and worth reading, and the remaining 60% networking to find jobs in the hidden market. In another post I described in detail what job-seekers need to do to improve their networking skills. Rather than repeat the techniques, I’ll just repeat the theme: being referred to a hiring manager by a trusted person is 50-100X more likely to result in being interviewed and hired compared to submitting a resume to a posted job.

A big plus: since recommended candidates are judged largely on their past performance and future potential, it opens up the door to diverse candidates, returning military veterans, high potential candidates, and any good person who isn’t a perfect match on skills and experiences.

Better still: jobs in the hidden market are much better than the jobs listed in the public market!

Consider that jobs in the public market represent lateral transfers for the fully-qualified people described. Jobs in the hidden market represent promotions, stretch jobs and career opportunities. Just look at the job descriptions posted in the public market as proof. They’re no more than long-winded help wanted ads offering equivalent jobs to fully qualified people who are somehow willing to endure the demeaning obstacle course. This is not to say that some of these job aren’t actually great jobs, but they’re written to weed out the weak, not attract the best.

While the job market is not as robust as it could be, it’s not as bad as reported. That’s why it’s important for job-seekers to play more of the hiring game in the hidden market. As a starter, the jobs are better and you have a stronger chance of being hired, since you’ll be judged on your past performance and future potential, not by some artificial matching algorithm. More important, these jobs are frequently modified to take better advantage of a person’s strengths, rather than force-fitting the person to a pre-defined role. Networking is the entry-point into the hidden job market, It is hard work, but necessary work for those that want to get a job they deserve or a better job than the one they have now. The alternative is to complain. Which hardly ever works.

______________________________________________________
Lou Adler is the Amazon best-selling author of Hire With Your Head (Wiley, 2007) and the award-winning Nightingale-Conant audio program
 

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bornagain

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bornagain

bornagain

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What are you trying to insinuate here?
 

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