In my previous article on the “renaissance job seeker” we examined the great adventures of a senior-level technical job seeker looking to leave his current employer. We tracked some of the initial activities of this job seeker and took a behind-the-scenes look at how his inquiries were handled by recipients like job boards and company recruiting departments. We used the label “renaissance” to highlight the varied approaches a typical job seeker might now use to find a new career opportunity. This present-day job seeker’s activities are not unusual; employers should be prepared to handle job seekers who make attempts to connect with jobs from a variety of different avenues. In Part 1 of this article, we examined the job-seeker techniques like networking, job boards and association events from two perspectives: the job seeker’s and the potential employer’s. Let’s continue this examination with a closer look at targeted companies, agency recruiters, and walk-ins. Targeted Companies Renaissance Job Seeker: As a telecom network specialist for over five years, our job seeker knows the industry fairly well. He’s willing to relocate within his state, but prefers to stay where he is. Armed with these parameters, he creates a short list of targeted companies. His first line of attack is to visit the websites of these companies. Of the eight companies he is targeting, seven have specific job listings, one just has some general job categories and a link to submit a resume. He searches the job listings and comes up with viable openings at six of the companies. He sees several jobs on one site with older dates (more than 30 days) and decides not to apply to them. Some of the website applications take up to 20 minutes, others take just a few minutes. He notices some companies ask pre-screening questions, while others do not collect much information except his resume. Some allow him to attach his Word resume, others allow him to paste his resume, while still others make him recreate the contents of his resume in a web form. This whole process takes several hours at his laptop, and by the time he gets to the last company, he starts to fill the application, but just quits after the first screen but leaves his email address. On several sites he takes advantage of job agents to prompt him when other openings become available. He finishes around 7:00 p.m. At 7:05 p.m., he receives a phone call from an interested employer who probes him further about his interests and background. Most of his submissions send him automated acknowledgements, but some he never hears from again. Potential Employers: The employers that do list jobs have automated hiring management systems integrated with their front-end website and view incoming submissions through their various hiring management applications. On one recruiter’s portal, our job seeker is in a bucket with 60 other applicants for the job. The recruiter there builds some keyword searches to try and narrow down the field, and our job seeker is eliminated from the potential list. In other systems, answers to pre-screening questions push more relevant and targeted data upfront to help sort the electronic “pile” of applicants. In one case, the job seeker’s experience seems a clear match, so the recruiter tags him to call. Another system sends email alerts whenever there is a top match based on the automated screening questions. Our job seeker was one of two top submissions that generated such an alert to the recruiter who was just arriving home from the office. When her PDA email beeped with the incoming alert, she contacted our job seeker right away. Success Factors: Of the eight targeted companies, our job seeker applied to specific listings on five, did not apply on two, and left a general resume on one. With automation on the websites, the job seeker’s information gets to the right person quickly. Systems offering prescreening give recruiters an edge in finding and contacting our job seeker as well as providing more tools than just keywords to make an initial assessment. One of the employers is not keeping its website up to date with the latest jobs or has not refreshed the dates, and this turns our job seeker off. Agency Recruiters Renaissance Job Seeker: Our job seeker has a few business cards he’s collected from attending a tech expo show and other gatherings. He has also been called a few times over the years by recruiters. He figures, why not let someone help me with my job search? He remembers he liked the personalities of three of the agents, so he contacts them and gives them his information. One agency requests his resume and asks him to visit its profiling website, where he fills out information about his job preferences, salary, etc. Another asks him to come into his office for an initial screening interview. All three promise they may have some positions that would be “perfect” for him. Potential Employers: Company A has an ongoing contract with an agency for supplying candidates on certain technical positions. Since candidate supply is high now, the company has been spurning their agency for job seekers who are coming directly to them. When our agency recruiter contacts Company A’s recruiter, he’s told his pipeline is full right now and there is no budget for agencies. This agent also contacts a company that is out of state, which is interested in our job seeker and has a great opportunity. But it would be a stretch for our job seeker to relocate. Another agency recruiter submits our job seeker to Company B through its automated portal just for agencies. The submission is denied because our job seeker’s name was already in the system based on his earlier efforts. The last recruiter calls his contact at Company C and talks about our job seeker. He has successfully filled several positions for this recruiter in the past, and the recruiter agrees to take a look at our job seeker’s profile. Success Factors: Success here depends on who the agencies know and whether they are able to get the candidate in the door more effectively through their relationships. If there are no real relationships, the process stops cold at one company with a duplicate check in the company’s system. The company that had the automated duplicate check saved itself the headache (and possible fee dispute) of having the same person in its database twice. Walk-Ins Renaissance Job Seeker: Our job seeker happens to live down the street from a potential employer. What a great commute that would be! He checks out the website to see if there are any openings remotely related to his skills. He sees one that he could potentially match and applies online. The next morning, he carries a freshly printed resume down the street to drop off his resume directly with the HR department. When he arrives, he’s asked to go to a different entrance for HR. He’s greeted by a receptionist and he explains he is there to apply for a certain position and would like to drop off his resume. The receptionist explains that they do not take paper resumes, but he can sit at their kiosk and apply directly online. He goes to the kiosk and notices the application process is a lot more involved, with more questions than were on the web site. He takes the time to fill in the on-line application. He receives a letter in the mail in a few days saying he is under consideration. Potential Employers: This company down the street from our job seeker has made the decision to not accept paper resumes any longer due to the cost and time of processing. To accommodate walk-ins, they have replicated their paper application process with kiosks in the HR reception area. When they do receive paper resumes in the mail, they send post cards asking the person to apply on their website, or come in and fill in an application on the kiosk. The application system and kiosk system are two different systems. They have not integrated the two systems into one solution for all incoming applicants. Recruiters are more prone to review the website system before they review the walk-in system. One system sends out instant emails, the other sends out letters. Success Factor: Taking the time to put the resume on both the website and the walk-in kiosk was actually a good strategy for approaching this company, since behind the scenes they have several non-integrated systems that support their recruiting process. The kiosk application will give the recruiter more detailed information on the applicant, but they may not consult that system as often as the one supporting the website submissions. As with the previous methods, these last three strategies have achieved some success for our job seeker but also reflect the eclectic nature of processes and systems depending on the company being represented. What Can Employers Learn? Which method is best for our job seeker? It could be he lands his next job through his networking efforts or visiting the websites of targeted companies. However, the success factors that give employers the advantage can be summarized by the following. Successful employers:
- Received the job seeker’s information quickly and directly (up-to-date job listings on website portal).
- Were able to assess the job seeker’s background and interest quickly (automated pre-screening).
- Had integrated systems to support job seekers from various sources (recruiters use one system for all submissions).
- Had clear processes in place (hiring manager knows what to do with a random resume).
- Have “alert” technology activated to respond immediately to hot candidates.
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Since my last article, I’ve heard from several people who have been going through the job search process and have been enlightened to the fact that they were also renaissance job seekers. Eclectic job finding tactics are not going away any time soon, so it is essential for employers to set up clear processes and systems to manage this function, so that they can identify and hire the quality talent they need.