Looking for the ideal candidate for the job is hard. Looking for the ideal job is tough. When it comes to matching the requirement of the job against what the applicant can offer, it’s inevitable there will be mismatched of skills in certain areas.
In an ideal world, posting job openings on board is the last place the company wants to do. Referral is still the best route to go. Recommendation from trusted insiders is highly regarded. Last resort is to of course open the the position and invite applications for keen and hopeful people, regardless of how under-qualified or mismatched their skill-sets may be. It’s no joke sifting through resumes. For popular positions in a renowned company, it’s not uncommon to see hundreds of mails streaming into the inbox.
Imagine having to filter through the pile and make a decisive (but correct) choice on who makes it into the shortlist. All they have is 6 seconds to make the first impression. If the mail doesn’t get discarded within the first 6 seconds, there’s a chance it might be read till the end. Then there’s a chance I might call you up for an interview. Then there’s a chance that after meeting talking to you in person, I find you a pretty good fit for the company. After narrowing the candidates down to a couple, I decide on the one. I invite you back again to discuss the finer details of the company and urge you to sign on the employment contract, gently reminding you that if you don’t, many others are waiting to take your position.
Because you see, screening the applicants is already hard enough, let alone scheduling, interviewing and ultimately deciding which one(s) to hire. At the end of the day, you want to get it over and done with, even though you know choosing the ideal person takes time and effort.
From an applicant’s point of view, the work has only just begun. They scan through the recruit section of the paper and job portals, diligently highlighting those potential openings. The job scope seems pretty generic for certain positions, and they suspect the only effort they took is to control-c then control-v the sentences. Then you chanced upon a company you really want to work for. You cater your resume, write a nice cover letter and email them. You keep your fingers crossed, and any form of contact from them is a victory in itself. The only response you get is an auto-acknowledgement reply, generated by the bot of job bank in X company.
Filtering the relevant jobs itself is a chore. But you may question, if the candidate is so good why don’t companies come knocking? A gem might be hidden, and not everyone gets the opportunity to work on things that they are passionate in, or get to do work that plays to their strength. Starting out, it’s not uncommon for those just entering the workforce to take up whatever offers that come their way. They’re still searching for the right job, the right company. They haven’t given up on their dreams, and all they need is a chance to show the companies what they can offer. But it’s hard, given that no hiring manager would give a second look to candidates who doesn’t possess the right background. Or you may question why would they want to spread their resources so thin by applying for so many openings, instead of focusing their attention in securing interviews with a few companies they truly want to work for. To some, job application is a numbers’ game. The more you apply, the higher chance to land an interview. Some companies ought to call.
The process of hiring is tedious from both the perspective of the company and applicant. But who am I to say this? I’m merely a guy who has a keen interest in branding, with passion so strong he longed to work for organisations such as Interbrand and FutureBrand, as well as indie firms like Tangible. I once harbour the dream of working as an ad man. I still do. I find David Oligvy’s principles and advices as relevant today as it was decades back, so I always have a strong preference to work in Ogilvy & Mather.
But talk alone is cheap, because without a solid portfolio to show, I’d be relegated to the thrash bin in 6 seconds or less.