Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, November 3, 2023

Career Corner: Getting around ‘hiring through elimination’

Hiring can be tough, often similar to online dating. The hiring manager is often flooded with applicants. There are more potential employees (and in the case of dating, more singles) than anyone could ever truly sort through.

So, what’s a hiring manager to do?

Unfortunately, most hiring managers use an elimination method. They try to look at what might be “wrong” with the candidates. Very often, there might not truly be anything wrong with the candidates. Often, they might be different from other candidates in some way.

For example, a job may not require a master’s degree. If you are the only candidate who doesn’t have one, you might be eliminated from the consideration set.

Similarly, a company might be looking for someone with similar experience to their existing employees or to the previous employee in the role. If you don’t have experience from the same industry, you might be eliminated from consideration.

Companies also look for employees who have similar work situations today. For example, a company might be hesitant to hire someone who is self-employed. A small company might also be hesitant to hire someone from a large company, and vice versa.

Similar rules apply when it comes to things like visa sponsorships. Any sort of difference can create a hurdle to get over.

Unfortunately, the same is true for perceived differences. Recruiters and hiring managers often read through 20 or more resumes in one sitting. They make quick judgements in order to efficiently work through the line of candidates. This can result in incorrect assumptions about your background. These incorrect assumptions can remove you from consideration.

There a few takeaways from this:

• If a recruiter shares why you weren’t selected, maintain a sense of perspective. They are likely sharing a quick judgement.

• They are comparing you to a specific group of candidates. If you were the one candidate without a specific qualification this time, you might find this qualification is not even considered for the next job to which you apply. Candidate pools are ever-changing, and recruiter feedback is worth what you pay for it.

As a job seeker, you can help to combat these incorrect judgements by providing a cover letter with your application and by customizing your resume. Use your cover letter to tell your story. Explain why you believe you stand out from the other candidates. Then, mirror the language and qualifications from the job description in your resume. This won’t solve every problem, but it can help in your search.

The job search process can be long and painful. Try to keep pushing forward. Just like dating, it only takes one great hiring manager for things to fall into place.

Realize that you are not alone. Every candidate except for one received a reason that they are not a good fit or qualified.

Angela Copeland, a leadership and career expert, can be reached at www.angelacopeland.com.