“Nothing in life that is of value comes easy” – including finding a job

Ange Connor

I was recently interviewed by WIN News about employment figures in Ballarat. While there has been recent news of shut downs and businesses going in to liquidation, what I’m seeing is good confidence amongst employers and this might surprise you but the right people for the job are still hard to find. I was asked by Win News if it was “easy” for people looking for work. An interesting question.

I don’t think it is ever easy when you are looking for work. Job seekers tell me daily they have submitted many applications, some in the hundreds and get nothing back. Lack of communication and feedback is their number one complaint. It takes time and effort to apply for a job; it can be hard work. It’s never easy.

It could however be a lot easier for some. This might sound harsh, but it is the reality we see every day. How many of these people really want the job or really want to work?

Let me give you a real-life example.

I recently advertised for a Receptionist for one of my clients. We knew it would get a huge amount of interest and that we would be inundated with applications. We deliberately flipped the application process from hitting the traditional apply now button and sending us an application to requesting people come in to our office or send us a video. You can read more about the success of the different recruitment process here.

In the end we had 76 people visit our office and 2 people submit a video application. 91 people hit the apply now button and did exactly what we told them not to do.

Why? Why did those 91 even bother wasting their time submitting an application? I know some of them are frustrated because they can’t find a job. I know because I have spoken to them. Some have called, angry that they weren’t considered, that they didn’t even make it to first round interviews, requesting feedback as to why they were overlooked when they have so much experience. It doesn’t matter how much relevant experience they had. They did not follow the instructions.

My line of thinking is that if you can’t follow the instructions on how to apply how are you going to follow instructions in the job? If you are not prepared to put in the effort to get the job and impress us, what sort of effort are you going to put in when you’re in the job?

For those of you looking for work, submitting hundreds of applications, simply hitting the apply now button and making no real effort; it is hard work for you to find work. Unfortunately that won’t change anytime soon either. My advice – submit less applications but make more of an effort with the jobs that really interest you – follow the instructions.

Making the effort also goes beyond simply following the instructions. In the case of the reception role, it was also about how you presented when you visited the office. There was a reason we made you visit us instead of hitting the apply now button. We wanted to meet you, we wanted to experience your communication skills, interpersonal skills and understand why you wanted the job.

Even though 76 people made the effort to visit the office, there were some who made no further effort. Rocking up in thongs and casual clothes didn’t win some people any points. Remember it is about making the effort. For some they hadn’t thought about the job at all; all they could tell us was that they loved animals. Yes, that certainly does help in a veterinary practice but there is actually more to this job than playing with animals all day. We didn’t want to read about experience from a resume, we wanted you to be able to tell us about your experience – communication skills in this role was a key focus. If we had to drag it out of you, asking you a hundred questions to gather the info we were wanting to collect and if you couldn’t hold a conversation with us, we weren’t off to a good start. I appreciate that this kind of thing can be nerve-racking for some and if you were nervous that was ok, we can see past the nerves, it was the effort, skills and attributes we were searching for.

And for the parents that called on behalf of their children, as much as you may want to help them find a job, the best help you can give them is to make them pick up the phone and let them visit our office, on their own. Please don’t do it for them, we need to see their effort, their skills and attributes, not yours. After all, you won’t be able to go to work with them and jump in when they have to handle a new situation or do something that makes them nervous. Instead, coach, mentor, role play and help them develop the skills and confidence to pick up the phone to us or visit the office.

So in answer to the question, is it easy for job seekers? No it’s definitely not easy, it will never be easy, but you can make it a lot easier for yourselves.

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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