Friday, 5 October 2012

Why We don't Respond to Your Job Application

I don't often write about work on my blog here as it's for personal type things, and also my team read it occasionally too. But this week I've been recruiting again at work, and it has stirred up some feelings of guilt, frustration and excitement that I think are relevant for sharing. As it's my company, I'm super particular about who we employ. Getting the wrong person in a position would be crippling for a start up business - we'd waste money on their wages and waste time on their training.

 Because my business is a somewhat exciting one, and we offer entry level part time positions, have a dog and mention biscuits in our job ads, we tend to get a LOT of applications. Unfortunately, 50% of these are completely wrong, and I don't even read their CVs after their initial email approach. In fact, I only really read the CV in any detail once I've arranged an interview.

What's important to me is that the applicant is polite, pays attention to detail, puts a small amount of effort in to correct grammar and also personalises their approach.

I put a lot of love in to our job adverts, and a lot of clues about what we're looking for. So when people ignore these hints, it's annoying. They are wasting my time and theirs. 

The type of applications that don't make it past the first email opening are:

  • Hi I saw your ad and thought I'd send you my CV
That's nice. Why are you sending me your CV? Who are you? What do you want?!
  • Dear Sir/Madam, since working for XYZ Inc i have been amazing and you should employ me because i am totally great
1. Yes but you can't be bothered to use the shift key to capitalise your "I"s so you can't be that good.
2. I am in my 20s and we are a quirky company. Nobody here ever calls anyone Sir or Madam. Your formality scares me

  • Hi this role sounds great I've always been interested in giving marketing a go and I like biscuits
I'm sure our clients would love you to "give it a go" on their campaigns. How about you learn a teeny tiny bit about what we do before you let us spend 3 months training you and you then decide you'd like to be a circus trainer instead?

  • I have wrote blog articles featured in industry newsletters
Have you? They weren't hot on grammar then were they?

  • I'm a professional musician in a signed rock band which involves quite a bit of touring so I am looking at part time/ flexible to run alongside
Did you read the bit in our ad that says "This isn't just a job, it's a chance to take the first step towards a career in marketing...."? No. I didn't think so. 

  • I have great attention to detail and have enjoyed writing  throug hout  university. 

I also don't entertain applications from anyone who phones up first to ask for our email address. It's on our advert image, it's on our website and we can be found all over Google. Don't be lazy. 

If I'm in a good mood and decide to delve deeper (if they've bothered to attached a covering letter) don't waste my time by directing me to a blog that you haven't posted on since 2009 and a Linked in profile that you haven't bothered to fill in. That makes me think you don't really care. And annoys me. 

When I originally started the company, I had been out of work for some time and at the receiving end of many ignored and rejected applications. Because I have been there myself, and I try to treat others how I like to be treated, I used to try to respond to everyone in a friendly way and give them a diplomatic tip on improving their approach. Now I couldn't possibly reply to everyone. I'd go bonkers. I also don't have time to reply to everyone because I'm too busy answering calls from people too lazy to look up our email address or asking if they can do the role from home. 

Even worse now, I admit that I have interviewed a couple of people in the past that I have just never got back to! This makes me shudder with guilt. But I do have a business to run and unfortunately being nice to complete strangers doesn't make me money.

HLD is my inspiration - If you're email's rubbish, I'm out. 

If you make it to interview you'll fail if:

  • You are late. This makes me think you'll be late for work every day
  • You don't make eye contact. I don't trust you. What's wrong with my face?
  • You don't know anything about my company. I've spent hundreds of unpaid hours building this baby up from nothing. I want you to know who we are, what we do, how we got here and what we stand for. I want you to be a part of it, not just a cog in the wheel. 
  • You tell me your dream job is to be a water skiing instructor in Tahiti
  • You don't smile. At all. I don't want to work with you. 
  • You have grossly exaggerated on your CV and kind of admit that to me. 
Some of my current team members didn't have the best interviews with me. One poor young man spilled coffee all over his lap, another turned up 30 minutes early to complete chaos during puppy play, rip, bite chew and poo time and another stuttered and spluttered his entire way through. But there was something about them all that made me want to give them a chance. They had a little spark in their eye, they got excited when I talked about the company, they asked lots of questions and they were polite and nice. 

I know it's difficult at the moment as there are a million applicants for every job. But that's all the more reason to keep going, make each application better than your last and stand out from those that can't be bothered any more. 

If you want an interview, make sure you really, really really want the job in the first place, you spend more than 5 minutes on your application, you do your research and you only show your very best side. Otherwise stop typing/copy and pasting responses on Gumtree and go and watch Jeremy Kyle until his whiny voice forces you to learn how to win friends and influence people, and stop making us recruiters feel guilty for not replying to each and every one of you. 


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