I was asked recently by a job seeker: “How do I zero in positions that I’m qualified for and, those that I will be challenged by?” (shout out to Michael Kubica, MBA for the question) After going back and forth with Mike I think the question is really: “How do I get a job that will use my skills and that I will actually find interesting?” Most people don’t really want to be ‘challenged’ – they use the word ‘challenged’ or ‘challenging’, but when push comes to shove what most people want is a job where they feel like their contributions are valuable to the organization and their using the skills they are best at. People want to feel successful – not challenged. Many times when you’re challenged, you fail – most people don’t like to fail – and will quit. But job seekers know that hiring managers and HR folks to hear the “challenge” word!
It boils down to what are failed job seekers doing wrong?
The #1 thing that job seekers are doing wrong is only looking for jobs, of jobs that are posted!
I hear it constantly. “I’ve been applying to jobs constantly”, “I’m on the job boards, Indeed, directly to company pages, etc. There isn’t a job posted that I haven’t applied to – there’s nothing left I can do…” The reality is, HR and Talent Pros know this, most jobs that you want never really get posted. Here’s how a vast majority of jobs get filled today:
Step 1: Need for a position is Identified in an organization. This might be for a new position being created, a person who resigned, termination, etc. – but now we know we need a body.
Step 2: The hiring manager, or person who knows of the need first, has one thought – “who do I know, right now, that would fit this position?”
Step 3: If there is an answer to the question in Step 2 – that person is contacted.
(Realize – never in the first 3 steps was there any mention of “Oh, we better post that position quickly!” This all happens before any of that talk)
Step 4: If there is a viable candidate to fill the need of the organization – that position is filled with that need – the position is never posted.
I say ‘it’s never posted’, but we all know that’s not true – it gets ‘posted’ but it really doesn’t get posted. It only gets posted to close the loop on the recruiting process – but the resource to fill the need has already been identified – so you applying to that posting is an exercise futility. So many of the positions that get filled in our organizations, are filled like this. Who do you know? I know someone. Bam! Filled. Job seeker – you’ve got know shot at these ‘prime’ positions. That’s something behind the curtain that HR/Talent Pros don’t want you to know.
So, what can Job Seekers do to combat this?
Simple. Network. Connect with people in your expertise in the companies you want to work. With the people at companies in the area you want to work. As a job seeker you want to put yourself into the minds of those individuals who when they find out they’re going to have a need – your name comes up in that conversation. Keep posting – but spend at least double the time you do posting – networking and meeting those who will be in those conversations. You’ll open yourself up to an entire other bucket of potential openings!