Winning During the Hiring Process Is About Visibility

Candidates still have a poor experience. Company’s still struggle to find talent.

The most challenging part of the recruitment process, as a candidate, is visibility. There are lots of good people out there who can do an amazing job; the challenge is they don’t all know how to market themselves or communicate their value.

The traditional process requires the screening of your resume, which is a few black and white pages about your career. Here’s the issue:

  • Not everyone can write well
  • Not everyone has lots of followers on LinkedIn
  • Not everyone can summarize their experience effectively
  • Not everyone can make you feel something through a resume

If we want to get better at attracting quality talent, we don’t need to improve how our company looks online and talk about all the employee benefits such as ping pong tables, health insurance, free beer and a company branded backpack; we need a better way than the current screening process, to see the hidden talent.

The hidden talent who are high-achievers in disguise, often fail the screening process.

In 2019, we still use an old process called a resume combined with a few newer tools designed to ‘make recruitment easier.’ One of these new tools has a fancy acronym called ATS. It stands for Application Tracking System. It’s the accidental tool that has created a disconnect between candidates and company’s looking to hire the best talent they can.

The ATS is a piece of software that wears a Ku Klux Klan outfit and can screen out applicants based on keywords, race, gender, visa status, experience, years in a role, mutual connections and any other filter you can come up with.

The ATS is just doing its job and in the process of trying to make hiring easier, it’s achieving the opposite result.

Candidates still have a poor experience.

Company’s still struggle to find talent when the online world should make the searching and visibility part of finding the right talent easy — like extremely easy.

How do we make it easier for companies to find good talent, and for candidates to market themselves better?

Having been on both sides of the market as a candidate and a hiring manager, to me, the answer lies in finding a way to make the process more interactive and real-world.

Let’s take my resume as an example: If you read it, you could quickly silo me into having spent most of my time working in finance yet what you learn after talking with me is that I’ve spent most of my work life in tech, not finance. My biggest attribute is emotional intelligence and yet it can’t be truly seen through the eyes of my resume. Once you meet me, you can see it.

You’d also never see my obsession with kindness and compassion through my resume. Instead, what you’d see is a hard-to-sum-up career, with plenty of failures and no way to explain those failures without going beyond the resume or job application.

Image Credit: Getty Images

But company’s and recruiters can’t meet every candidate because it is too time-consuming and expensive to do so. So, currently, we resort to time-saving measures which don’t solve the problem.

Luckily for me, I have ways to get around this process because I’ve spent five years building a large network on LinkedIn. This means that I can circumvent the traditional hiring process and skip the queue on some occasions, which I know is an unfair advantage. Most people are not able — nor do they want to — spend seven days a week on LinkedIn investing in their network.

For the majority of us, we are stuck with the traditional process that can cause us to give up or severely limit our career potential unnecessarily.

At the same time, company’s have their staff demanding more focus on diversity and demonstrating that focus with proven action. Company’s want diversity and it’s on all of their job ads — except when you complete the application form, you are asked your name, city, gender, visa status, employment history and many other bits of information that can contribute to the discrimination that company’s say (and I believe) they want to prevent.

The current hiring process and tools prevent the very goal that modern-day organizations say they have: the goal of diversity, inclusion and a lack of discrimination.

A solution will happen

I’m yet to see a solution to this problem yet, but I’ve seen several startups tackling it, which gives me great optimism. In the meantime, if you are a candidate, you can increase your visibility during the hiring process in the following ways:

  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, compelling and has a few stories on it
  • Ensure that the keywords relevant to your career are scattered throughout your resume. For example, if you are in sales, then you’d want keywords such as quota, sales, exceeding target, business development and a few relevant client names
  • Contact perspective hiring managers, recruiters and internal HR teams via LinkedIn. Do whatever you can to get a referral attached to your job application. Company’s favor applications that have been referred by an existing employee for obvious reasons
  • If you have time, post content on LinkedIn so you can be seen for what you are an expert in. Even if it’s once a week, it is better than nothing

Visibility for candidates that makes the hiring process easier is coming. In the meantime, do the best you can with the current biases, software tools and processes and be aware of the flaws so you can use them to your advantage.

Hiring people is still challenging. Finding your next career is still difficult. Have hope, though; things are changing for the better.

All Rights Reserved for Tim Denning

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