Industry musings

Why recruiters hate the inbound resume pile (and how you can avoid it)

Like most recruiters we have experimented with a lot of methods of finding candidates both reactively and proactively. One thing we have concluded is that inbound resumes from our own website, aggregator site “organic” listings or from paid ad placement are about 90-95% of the time absolute and utter rubbish! My personal favorite is one candidate who applies for literally everything we list in his seemingly never-ending job hunt (4 years and counting). Given these issues we therefore focus the vast majority of or efforts on very specific proactive targeted outreach to candidates that match what our clients’ current needs are.

I hear this same complaint from internal and external recruiters alike so why are our inbound piles so poor in quality? At least part of the reason is the ease of click-to-apply functionality. It seems that a lot of unqualified candidates default to applying when they havent read the desciption or the requirements taking the approach of “If you are not in you can’t win” to steal the NY Lottery’s catchphrase. Combine that with a volume based page view / click through approach from the major aggregation sites in their approach to job ads and the quality problem compounds. The number of resumes submitted is a really poor measurement of recruitment success but it is a direct result of the focus on listing views.

So why does this matter to the qualified candidate? Well, regardless of how well you match the requirements, if you respond to a job ad or an indeed listing or a recruiters website posting your submission will be outnumbered 15:1 by really poor matches. You are now buried in a pile of emails / ATS submissions and CRM leads that looks far from a golden opportunity to the recruiter – in fact all they see is the opportunity cost of time better spent doing proactive outbound outreach to people they know are qualified for both referrals and direct solication.

So how do you get around this. My simple answer is – NEVER APPLY BLINDLY FOR ANY JOB POSTING OR AD. By all means view the job listings or job ads but then follow these steps

1. Self Assess. Pre qualify yourself – Do you know this industry? this vertical? Is your functional history a match? Do you fit other requirements of the job (management experience, cumulative years experience etc)? Do you look like a logical fit from the hiring firm’s perspective? If the answer is no then stop there. If you are in the clear, go to Step 2.

2. Research the firm and your connections to it. Use Linkedin and find a recruiter or personal friend who can vouch for you that looks to be directly connected to the hiring manager implied in a job description. Then ask for an introduction referencing the job in question (a link helps).

It isn’t rocket science but it works. That is why, when we built Job elevation, we put a simple “how am I connected” link on each company job listing. Try it.

No need to apply (at least not blindly).