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Why Posting Resumes on Job Boards and Company Web Sites Doesn't Work Well?

And What You Can Do About Or
It's the Screen-bots Stupid.


Agim Zabeli, Career Advisor / Headhunter

Updated Dec 05, 2021

So you're surfing on one of the job boards. You've been laid off, or are afraid you will be, or maybe you're just the type who likes to keep his options open. And you see it, the perfect job. It's so perfect that if you ARE working, you have to do a double take to make sure it isn't your own company posting your own job.

But it's not. In fact, the job is posted by a company you've heard good things about, one of the top five on your list of places to apply to. You can't believe your luck. You check the date it was posted. Today! It doesn't get better than this. So you go through all the links, fill in all the boxes; paste this and re-type that; maybe they even let you attach your Word file or PDF someplace. You hit the send button and YOU ARE IN!

You know where we're going with this. Nothing happens. No calls. Weird, but you've seen it before. The job requisition could have been cancelled, or they might have already had someone in mind for the job. Who knows?

A couple weeks later you get a call from a headhunter, looking for someone like you. Exactly like you. Something clicks and you ask him if he's calling about that perfect job you applied for a couple of weeks ago. The headhunter tells you he is in fact working on that position and the employer just gave him the search assignment this morning.

You tell him you already sent in your resume via the job board or via the company's web site. There's a pause. Does somebody see his commission slipping away? Then the headhunter suggests that if you want, he'll approach the company with your resume and try again. "What the heck," says the headhunter, "If they hire you, I try to collect the fee. Maybe I do and maybe I don't because companies don't like to pay a headhunter for a candidate who is already on file. " but either way, you still get the job.

What happened? Right now your resume is stuck in "screen-bot" limbo. The hiring company has your resume in their database. It never made it to the hiring manager because the automated search and screening methods (screen-bots) can't be perfect when it comes to lining up candidates with hiring managers.

So you tell the recruiter to go ahead and submit your resume one more time. You know where we're going with this, don't you? Nothing happens again.

A few weeks later, you call the headhunter and ask him about it. He can't figure it. He sent in your resume; the company said they'd already seen it, and they weren't interested. The headhunter asks if you know anybody else. Depending on the kind of person you are, you may or may not express some crankiness at this point. Two weeks later the job is re-posted by the company, still unfilled.

Welcome to the job-hunting world of today. You have just fallen victim to a very serious glitch in the recruiting process; one that will get worse before it gets better, and one that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE wants to admit even exists. You have stepped onto a land mine that quite possibly will not only limit your own job prospects, but is potentially serious enough that it could actually slow down hiring once the job market starts to pick up, hurting hiring companies & investors as much as job-seekers. The glitch is simple enough to fix but it won't happen soon enough to help you out.

Here's what may have happened. You did everything right on the job application. Unfortunately for you, the company you sent your resume to has had hard times just like everybody else, so you sent your resume to a reduced and overworked HR department. When they programmed the screen-bot to search for your resume, maybe they didn't put in enough key words and it didn't get picked up. Maybe they programmed in SO MANY keywords that every morning the hiring manager opens his email and saw three hundred resumes, none of which was ever close to what he was looking for. That's why he stopped reading resumes from the screen-bot months ago. He was just waiting the two weeks until his boss let him hire a headhunter to go find the right person.

The problem here is that the hiring company didn't just lay off people when it cut costs. It also re-negotiated all agreements with search firms and demanded a clause: "If a search firm sends in a resume that's already "in the system" the search firm doesn't get credit for it. " HR figures this way it gets a couple freebees now and then. Good for keeping a lid on hiring costs. The search firm was hurting too, of course, so to retain the account, it signed the contract.

Thus the headhunter knows that if he sends in your resume, not only will he DEFINITELY NOT get paid, but also you may actually get hired. The position gets filled, his search disappears, and he gets NO commission. He's just coming off a bad couple of years, himself. Do you think the headhunter will really present your resume?

What are you going to do about it? Send in your resume again? If that worked, the employer would have caught it the first time. Call a different headhunter? Any firm that works with that company have probably signed the same agreement. You are stuck, my friend.

There is no HR department in Silicon Valley or anywhere else in the world that wants to admit it could fill many of the company's open jobs with resumes that have been submitted or posted on the job boards for weeks.

Searching and screening by HR either results in too many resumes to send to the hiring manager, or so few that the right candidate isn't included. HR people are tired of hearing from a hiring manager that the last stack of resumes were a bad fit and caused him to waste an hour reading them all.

Screen-bots just aren't as good as a headhunter who really knows the hiring managers and the candidates. A few really smart companies already know this and they hire headhunters to data mine their resume databases for a reduced fee.

There's also no headhunter who wants your resume to go anywhere near a job where he won't get paid because they already have your resume on file. Open positions are rare and headhunters want to fill them with candidates who will generate a commission.

You are stuck in screen-bot limbo. What can you do? You have two options. You can forget about the job, or you can search out the hiring manager yourself. Call everybody you can think of who may know somebody in that company, and find out who the hiring manager is.

When you find his name, don't just send the guy an email. Get yourself introduced. Get somebody he already knows, listens to and trusts, to send him an email with your resume attached. Call him yourself. You need to get his attention the old fashioned way.

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