Filling an open position at any company is a rigorous process that often involves contributions from many different teams as well as significant effort from the job seeker. But despite the need for employers and employees to connect during this process, these two groups are rarely speaking the same language.
Keep reading to learn how job candidates and hiring managers can communicate better and make the best possible matches for open positions.
How Hiring Managers Assess a Resume
To understand the disconnect in communication between hiring managers and job seekers, it is important to understand how many hiring managers operate. For larger companies, most (around 75% of them) HR departments utilize what is known as an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This is a software system that scans submitted resumes for certain keywords and ranks them according to the job requirements. At that point, a hiring manager can review the top ranked resumes to find the best candidates to interview.
There are many reasons that HR departments will use an ATS, including time constraints and EEO-related legal concerns. However, many job candidates are not familiar with the systems and, therefore, are unaware of how to best optimize their resumes for these types of submissions. That means good resumes can easily fall through the ATS cracks.
Common Mistakes from Candidates
Optimizing your resume for an ATS is an important first step. That means looking to the original job description and using keywords found there to describe yourself. It is also a good idea to simplify the formatting of your resume so that it is easy for the software to read.
But presenting yourself as the best candidate for the job goes beyond software. Even if you manage to make it to the top of the virtual pile, you want to make sure that your resume conveys the skills and qualities that hiring personnel are looking for. As an example, hiring managers often include words of quality in their job descriptions. Words like "exceptional," "excellent," and "competitive." On the other hand, many candidates write their resumes using words of action, like "created," "managed," or "assisted." Correcting this type of disconnect can actually help you to overcome the ATS hurdle in addition to appealing to the human eyes that are sure to read your resume before an interview.
For more examples on how resume writers and readers are not always on the same page, be sure to read: How to Speak the Language of Hiring.
Recruiters Can Bridge the Gap
Of course, there are steps that job candidates can take in order to improve their chances of reaching a hiring manager. But when that isn't enough, expert executive recruiters can be extremely effective in finding common ground between what companies want and what job seekers have to offer. Indeed, recruiters can even use their networks to reach those talented candidates that may not be actively seeking new employment. For hiring managers that are simply not finding the candidates they want using traditional methods, a search firm can be a major asset.
Whether you are seeking the perfect position or the perfect candidate, ensuring that you can understand the perspective of the other party - and communicate that by way of job descriptions and resumes - is a huge step in the right direction.