The engine driving the Hiring Train is the employer’s needs. It’s that simple. Follow directions to make your application work and you just might get onto that train.
Sadly, job postings are frequently less than helpful. Employers may write postings which range from cursory to encyclopedically-dense. Sometimes they attract the right candidates by sheer luck.
Read and understand the posting
Candidates who don’t take the time to understand the posting and an employer’s business needs are easy to eliminate. Candidates applying for jobs with cursory postings such as entry-level lawyer positions, will need to work very hard to fill in this critical information gap.
A frustrated and disappointed employer
In the July 25, 2010 New York Times, Carl Diehl writes candidly about his disappointment and frustration as he sorted through hundreds of resumes and cover letters from new college graduates applying for one of three-entry level positions for his expanding national exercise company.
Posting hints at possible increasing responsibility
He had taken great care to write an informative job description that hinted that the position would offer opportunities to step up to more responsibility. Only a handful of applicants noted that.
Follow directions to make your application work
Having asked for good problem solvers, most candidates wrote a “pick me because I am fabulous” letter, with no examples of their problem solving experience.
Ignore direct requests at your peril
The ten candidates chosen to interview were asked to review his company’s website and those of competitors to comment on his brand and what, if anything, distinguished it from competitors. All but two parroted back the contents of the websites and did no analysis.
Having made clear in the posting that the job would call for analytical thinking and creativity (in addition to entry-level Xeroxing), when he asked the candidates to talk about what they had learned in college, all but two talked about specific skills and coursework. No analysis. No nuance. No creativity. No job.