Job Hunting Isn't Easy, No Matter Who Tells You Otherwise
It seems to be popular to tell job seekers that looking for work should be easy. Lots of new systems and websites appear every day telling job hunters their lives can be made easier by automating everything and removing personal contact from the process. One of the biggest myths of all is that employers will come to you, recruiters will actively seek you out and that your job search can be a largely hands-off affair because you're in demand.
The truth of the matter is that looking for a new job is difficult and can be very stressful. Even getting an interview in today's job market can be an achievement in itself, let alone landing an offer of employment. Too many websites will tell you they can automate your search, pump out a template cover letter or a CV that you can send to literally hundreds of employers or ads on the web, or that will be picked up by a recruiter who is out there looking for you right now. But this strategy is doomed to failure. It ignores too many inconvenient truths.
To understand why, some knowledge of how hiring managers and recruitment agents tend to operate is needed. By definition, a hiring manager has a role that needs filled. This means they have work that isn't being done and so inevitably they are managing a business or team that is at least one team member down. Very few real-life companies plan far enough ahead for this not to be the case. Sad, but true. Hiring a new member of staff is, for most managers, a secondary activity and the hiring manager, especially in larger companies, is likely to be following or even be bound by a prescribed process that involves advertising and reviewing applications. Rather than spend their time searching recruitment databases for suitable candidates to contact, they will employ an agent or place an ad, and wait for applicants while they get on with their day job. Nowadays, it's highly unlikely that they won't get any applications, so this approach makes perfect sense to a hiring manager.
For many hiring managers, the process is outsourced to a recruitment agent. This agent is invariably focused on filling the vacancy with a great candidate who will stay with the hiring company, ensuring they make a finders fee and get to retain it. Another sad truth is that a recruitment agent rarely has the candidate's interests as their focus. Candidates don't pay the bills - the hiring company does. Again: sad but true. You need to bear this in mind when dealing with agents. Most are extremely genuine people, doing a genuinely difficult and high-pressure job, but you need to understand their focus and objectives.
The net result of these simple truths is that very rarely will a job land in front of you that you didn't actually submit an application for. You'll have to do the hard work of finding the opportunity and tracking the job, making contact and following up to boost your chances of getting that all-important interview. One of the best ways of doing this is to drive your own job search by being organized and knowing exactly what you need to do, and when you need to do it.
Article Added: 17/08/2014
Posted By: Paul Docherty