Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

The Resume "Black Hole"

2009-07-14 17:56:34

Over on one of my listserv communities, the discussion turned to resumes, jobs, and the common complaint that a candidate never hears back from a company after submitting their resume. Then a sarcastic comment (below) came across and I felt the need to step in and share some of my own observations..

"Wow, you've found HR people who actually read resumes? That's a shock."

Regarding resumes being read: remember that recruiters are pulling keyword searches and the resumes that match the searches are the only ones they are considering.

Many of the companies in this area including MSFT and *all it's vendors/agencies* are required to be compliant with a Federal EEO mandate that basically states that *all qualified candidates must be considered* for any/all open positions.

What this means is that if your resume doesn't match the job description, no one is going to look at it. There are two levels for considering a resume from a recruiting perspective.

1) Keyword pull. As I've posted several times in the past, Applicant Tracking Systems pull Boolean Searches based on two things. First, the words themselves. Second, the results are STACK RANKED based on the number of times the term/s are repeated in the resume. This includes experience and education, location (ie out of state), etc.

2) Once a recruiter has pulled a stack of loosely qualified resumes, s/he eyeballs them to see if the candidate meets the quantifiables, ie years of experience. Applicant Tracking Systems cannot determine if a candidate has over five years of experience. That is where the "eyeballing" human action comes in.

3) AFTER the candidates have been identified, they have to be moved along in the system. Often that is a manual process, which means that *each profile* has to be assigned some sort of a status.

Now please imagine the number of resumes each of us have to look through for *one* position. Yesterday, I spent six hours looking through over 250 resumes for an entry level office position. We are completely inundated with people applying for each position, many of them unqualified or just grasping at whatever seems remotely like a job they are qualified for.

So what does this say to you? *Your resume needs to be TARGETED* to each position. And it also should tell you that most recruiters are ignoring cover letters. On top of all the resumes, we are still setting up interviews, scheduling phone screens, conducting reference checks, managing live interview loops, negotiating offers with candidates, and working with our hiring managers on both current and upcoming positions. Recruiting is a complex profession, it is heavily regulated by legal strictures, and a recruiter isn't the only person in the process. Our main clients are our hiring managers, and recruiting, while important to them, is *not* always their highest priority. Recruiters have really had a heavy hit with this economy. Fewer jobs open mean fewer resources needed and assigned to fill them. Most of us are carrying double or triple our "normal" workload because of downsized colleagues. And if a company doesn't have dedicated recruiters, but has  their HR Generalists function in this capacity as well as their generalist duties, this is in addition to dealing with things like employee issues, changes in federal laws and compliance, etc.

So please, keep this in mind when getting frustrated with the "black hole" you feel your resume has entered.



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Cindy Kraft: Re: The Resume "Black Hole"
2009-07-27 03:52:37

I think your "black hole" comments are exactly the reason career coaches encourage their clients to form relationships with recruiters long before they need them. If, on the other hand, candidates are playing the posted position / ATS game, the odds are stacked against them.

Cindy Kraft
the CFO-Coach

Brandon: Re: The Resume "Black Hole"
2009-08-06 13:14:40

I think that applicants should receive an automatic e-mail response that includes something similar to "We will contact you within 30 days if we determine a match between the positions' qualifications and your experiences. If you have not heard from us in 30 days, we have filled the position but till keep your resume on file for one year."

Christopher Bates: Re: The Resume "Black Hole"
2009-11-21 22:45:12

Firstly, thank you Kristen for your blog. Raises good points.

As a recruiter, in addition to classic recruiting calls, I use linkedin, monster, and our inhouse data base to find candidates. Invariably, I will be searching for key words that represent key attributes sought by my clients, for example "ASIC design" or "PVD deposition" or "Six Sigma black belt". These are things that I expect a person who has these attributes will put in their resume. If they don't have this precise experience, then they will not be a candidate for the search.

As to the point raised by Brandon, I mention at the bottom of each ad I run on Monster "Please understand that due to the volume of responses, only short listed candidates will be contacted."

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