Although applying blindly to job openings may result in success, it is often helpful to have some strategy behind your approach. This increases your chances of obtaining the position you desire. In this blog we will look into what motivates a hiring manager to select certain candidates for interviews (and ultimately the job offer) so you can take steps to increase your chances.
Needed Someone Yesterday
By the time the job is posted, often the need is desperate. It takes time from identifying that a new employee is necessary, to getting the job opening approved, to creating the job description, to listing the position on the company website or other job platform. At this point, the hiring manager is likely scrambling to fill the role. So, although the job may be posted for 30 days, it is likely the first batch of resumes that come in will be evaluated relatively quickly to see if any prospective candidates are found. Within the first 72 hours, the initial interview decisions may be made.
What can you do?
If possible, try to apply for any openings as soon as they are posted. This increases your chances of getting called in for an interview. Have alerts set on your favorite job search site so you know when something new that meets your criteria has been listed. Update your resume relatively quickly to optimize it for that particular opening, and then submit an application. Attempting to do this within 72 hours of the job opening is ideal.
Sooooo Many Resumes to Review
Since it is relatively easy to apply for a job online, openings often get hundreds of resume submissions. In fact, it is common for a job posting to receive 250 applications. The hiring manager then has to weed that down to a manageable 5-10 people to interview. That means they need to eliminate at least 96% of the applicants right away. While you may hope that the hiring manager closely inspects each job application to determine which candidates are best for the role, that just isn't realistic. They need a way to quickly eliminate the majority of candidates to get the number of potential job seekers to something reasonable and manageable. One way to do this is to ask a "knock out" question within the application process. A common question is salary preference. Job seekers often answer the salary question with a wishful number stating the salary they would really like to obtain, even if it isn't realistic. This makes them easy to eliminate.
What can you do?
It is best to try to avoid answering the salary question completely if possible. You really don't have the right information to answer it properly as you don't yet know exactly what the role will entail. Discussing salary at a later date when you have a full grasp of what your responsibilities on the job will be makes more sense. However, it can be difficult to avoid answering the question completely. Therefore, consider including a wide range of values that you would accept once you do have an understanding of the job duties.
You Can't Start Until When?????
Another easy way for a hiring manager to reduce the pool of potential candidates is to base it on start date availability. Many people who are switching jobs may want to take a vacation between roles. They have to give 2 weeks notice to the employer they are leaving and then may want to take another 2 weeks (or longer) to enjoy some downtime between positions. However, keep in mind that the hiring manager is likely in a crunch to get someone new in. They have a problem they are trying to address and waiting a month or longer is undesirable. Therefore, they are likely to prioritize candidates that can start quickly.
What can you do?
Skip the vacation between jobs and just give your two weeks notice. Saying you can start 14 days from the day the offer is acceptable, and will make you a more enticing candidate. You will be able to start resolving the issue the company is facing more quickly and that will help improve your chances of being selected for the role.
Thinking like the hiring manager will help you make strategic decisions that increase your chance of getting called for an interview. If you need help creating a resume that gets noticed, Revision Resume is happy to provide assistance. We offer resume creation, resume critiques and more. Click here to learn more!