Craig Wilson
Craig Wilson
Associate Director: In House

Articles From the Team

Why a critical eye is important when applying for jobs

Have you recently sent your CV to an employer (or recruiter), had a discussion about a job or even interviewed for a new opportunity? Were you given clear feedback on the reason(s) you weren’t progressed or hired?

A recent article from Glassdoor News covers the subject of why you weren’t hired, detailing seven reasons for receiving a ‘no’ or seeing the role and recruitment process disappear from under you. The seven reasons are:

1. You weren’t qualified 2. The company is going through a hiring freeze 3. The position was filled internally 4. They weren’t hiring for fit 5. You made a not-so-great impression 6. You were over-qualified 7. The company went through a restructuring

The Glassdoor article looks at the subject from the perspective of someone who may have interviewed yet was unsuccessful. For my blog however I’m looking at this a stage earlier, at the point where you are thinking of making an application.

In most cases the reason for a ‘no’ or a lack of progression can be broken down into two key categories – ‘You’ (personal) and ‘Them’ (future employer). In the ‘You’ category we see reasons 1, 5 and 6 (however all of these could also sit in the ‘Them’ category) and in the ‘Them’ category we see reasons 2, 3, 4 and 7 from the Glassdoor article.

What is clear from the Glassdoor reasons is that your future employer has the majority stake in deciding whether your application is progressed or not, and as such they call the shots. Whilst this is unlikely to come as a surprise, it is useful to bear in mind when you are making an application for a job. In short, is your background and experience suitable for the job you are planning to apply for?

Too often employers see applications from interested parties that bear no resemblance to the person detailed on the job description and in 99% of cases, unless there are mitigating circumstances – a candidate scarce location or a specialist skillset being required – these CVs are rejected within 10 seconds of being opened.

Bearing in mind that most of us have only limited time each day/week to apply/interview for a job, you should be honest with yourself, and view with a critical eye, what a suitable role looks like. The questions you should be asking yourself include: do I have the requisite skills and knowledge?; do I have the necessary and stated experience (actual or transferable)?; do I have the correct qualifications (or similar)?; is my level of PQE appropriate for this role – is it too high / too low)?; is the location really a viable commute?; is the salary/package on offer appropriate in the mid-long term?; etc. If the role requires international experience, do I have this? If the role requires specific sector/industry experience or senior stakeholder involvement, can I demonstrate this?

The above is all about taking ownership of the elements you can control. In this day and age it is very easy to fire off a CV and make an application – as the days of filling in long-forms and sending individual emails/letters for jobs has diminished – however that should not mean that you fire of willy-nilly. If you are constantly applying for jobs that are not right for you, when viewed with a critical eye, then you are undoubtedly going to face a great deal of rejection (and waste a lot of time - yours and others). Employers (and recruiters) are typically looking for the perfect fit (realistically at least a 70-80% fit) and the aim is to identify those who have the closest match to the job advert and job description – this is doubly relevant when an advert has just been released and the client is optimistic in finding their ideal candidate.

At CV stage employers/recruiters are typically looking at: legal knowledge and skills, work history and previous employers, recent job title and responsibilities, academics, qualification, level of experience and location. At first contact stage – a call with HR/Recruiter – this broadens to include: current salary and package, salary expectations, personality and approach, work history and reasons for moves, notice period (when time is important) and a feel about fit.

Despite the above, I’m not advocating that people only apply for jobs where they tick every box. Far from it, people with slightly less experience who are ambitious and of good quality are typically welcomed by employers. Employers are happy to consider a 70% candidate if they can do the bulk of the role required from day one but are able and willing to grow into and with the role. These individuals are typically viewed as up and coming, hungry to succeed and likely to remain in the role for the medium to long-term – as they have more to gain and learn from the role. Someone who ticks all the boxes from day one, or is overqualified or living too far away will always be viewed as a flight risk and can be rejected on this basis.

Employers in the current climate are discerning and are willing to wait. They are looking at relevance of experience and the likelihood that someone will remain with their business and be a success. You are likely to avoid the ‘You’ rejection reasons, and avoid wasting your time, if you focus your search on the vacancies that match your skills, qualifications and experience.

To view the original article please click on this link: Glassdoor News

For more information contact Craig Wilson at BCL Legal.

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