Job seekers are customers and need to be treated accordingly – Part 2

Ange Connor

This week’s blog is a follow on from my blog last week in response to feedback received about how frustrating it can be to be a job seeker. Have you ever jumped through the necessary hoops for a job you really wanted only to be told it has gone to an internal candidate? If you have experienced this you are certainly not alone. It seems to be occurring more and more often based on the frequency that I’m hearing about this frustration from job seekers.

As frustrating as it is, unfortunately this challenge is one that I can’t see going away any time soon. Some organisations have policies and procedures that state the vacancy must be advertised externally no matter what and yes this situation can be a complete waste of an external job seekers time in applying. However, in most instances I’d say the hiring manager or recruiter does not intentionally set out to waste job seekers time. They are genuinely interested in going to market to see what talent is available for their vacancy. They are genuinely open to appointing an external candidate should the right candidate apply. Often the internal candidate may not meet all of the key selection criteria so the employer wants to see if they can attract a candidate that better meets the criteria.

The challenge you have as an external candidate when up against an internal candidate is that you have to be able to demonstrate value over and above the internal candidate. You have to make it worthwhile for the business to choose you and invest the time in getting you up to speed with systems, processes, procedures and the way things are done. Unfortunately there really is no way around this frustration. Asking if there are internal candidates being considered is probably not going to get you the answer you want. And while this situation sucks as an external job seeker, if you were in the situation of the hiring manager, I’m sure you’d want the opportunity to be able to advertise the vacancy to see what interest was generated as at the end of the day you want the best person for the job.

Vacancies dissolving or being withdrawn or dragging on for months with no actual outcome are also very frustrating for the job seeker. Again you have invested the time and effort in making the application and to have any of these situations occur is naturally going to be frustrating and de-moralising. Unfortunately sometimes positions being withdrawn or delayed does happen and often it is out of the control of hiring managers and recruiters. The issue here from my perspective is that the job seeker is not communicated with appropriately or even at all. This is where I think the frustration stems from for job seekers. In my experience it is when the customer doesn’t feel valued or that you are hiding something from them that frustrations fester. Unfortunately I think sometimes job seekers aren’t perceived as customers and hence aren’t treated and communicated with accordingly.

As a job seeker, to avoid these frustrations I think it’s important that you do your due diligence when deciding to apply for a job. It’s not going to completely safe guard you from these situations but it may help reduce your frustrations as a job seeker. Recruiters and Hiring Managers need to make sure that they do have all their ducks lined up before advertising a vacancy but change is always going to be inevitable and sometimes jobs will be withdrawn or be drawn out. Some agency recruiters advertise vacancies that don’t genuinely exist but they want to build their networks to then float candidates and it’s often these positions that can drag on. If you are applying for one of these jobs be aware of the circumstances and calling to enquire about the job before simply applying will help you understand the context and circumstances of the vacancy you are applying for. It is then up to you to decide if you want to make the time and effort to submit an application.

The most important thing to remember as a job seeker is that you can’t let yourself be jaded by these experiences. I know that is easy for me to say as a recruiter sitting on the other side of the desk. If you hold on to these frustrations, believe me, it shows through. It shows through when you call and enquire about a vacancy, it shows through at a phone interview and it shows through at interview. Your communication style, language and demeanour can all give away indications of frustration,  doubt and suspicion. If you are feeling this way with your job search maybe it’s time to take a break or scale back your job search activities. Only invest time in applying for positions that you have a really good feeling about based on the clarity of the job advert, a positive phone enquiry, a thorough and detailed position description. Quality of applications is always going to be better than quantity. Alternatively, you may find value in working with a career coach who can give you an independent perspective, help coach you on applications you are submitting and be there as a support if you do start to feel frustrated and jaded by the recruitment process. They can help you overcome this frustration rather than hold on to it.

Remember that as a job seeker you too have choices. Choose to work with a recruiter who does treat you as a customer. Apply for jobs with employers who take recruiting seriously and want to engage with you before you submit an application.

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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