Job Application – Why Yours Was Rejected

It is only once their job application has been rejected, that most job seekers get an insight in why their job application failed.

Unfortunately this tells them that with some fore thought, they could have figured this out for themselves. Let me help you avoid these common mistakes, and give you some insider advice on how to maximise your job application success

Job Application: it’s a personnel thing

All job applications do not start with the job seeker, but with the employer. A job is approved inside an organisation through the combination of two forces:

  • Business need
  • The manager of the team in which the job will be fulfilled

This is an important insight, as it should tell you that the final decision on who is employed is made by that manager, and that the successful job applicant will be considered the most able to deliver the defined business requirements.

The result of these two forces is the creation of a job description, from which the job advert is derived. Only after the job is approved to this stage, does job application become a personnel process. But not recognising the human beings wholly in the personal exchange – the manager and the successful jobholder – is a key mistake of many job applicants

You and Your Job Search

A job application starts long before you start reading newspapers, crawling job boards, trudging to the Job Centre or chatting to friends. Your job search starts with you, and a clear definition of:

  • Who and what you are
  • What you hence offer
  • What you want to do/see yourself doing long term

If you don’t know what you want to do, then any job will do, and hence multiple job application rejection will follow

Job Market testing

Although you now know what you want to do, the jobs market may at that point in time not want those exact skills, in that search geography, for the pay level which makes economic sense to you. You need to test that the job market is offering that job at the right pay level, and this is where the real advantage of the jobs board driven job search becomes apparent.

Go to your favourite jobs board, keeping the title/skills consistent and setting the pay level to zero. Then open the geographic search criteria until the result shows at least 20 jobs. If you can’t find at least 20 suitable jobs, then your ideal job presently doesn’t exist in the jobs market. Either: go back to stage1 and think of another interim step to your ideal long term job; wait three months; or accept constant job application upset.

The second problem at this stage is having too many jobs to apply for. Again, go to your favourite jobs board, and if after filling in your desired criteria there are more than 100 job results returned, then go back and more closely define what you offer an employer/seek next and long term. Falling into any job will do syndrome means that you are not focusing sufficiently in the eyes of the employer on what you can do well/offer, and hence will be rejected.

Professional CV

Although it disappoints me to say it, as a Professional CV Writer if you approach your job search in a particular manner, you don’t actually need a Professional CV. But, for 95% of job applications, you will at some point in the legal and hence defined HR process need a CV. In the modern world, a one-size fits all CV just won’t get you the required telephone interview: the only output action required when an employer takes when presented with a good CV.

If like many today you heard a friend or someone in a pub used a free template successfully to get employed, make sure you don’t follow the herd: templates mean you don’t stand out from the crowd. Good Professional CV Writers create engaging 2page documents that make employers pick up the telephone, because they communicate that the job applicant has the desired skills to fit the job description, and show social fit with the organisation/manager. If your template doesn’t, how ever pretty it is or however long your list of hobbies and interests, expect to be rejected

Job Application Form

The one thing that job seekers fail continually to understand, and yet employment professional do, is that you can’t beat the odds of where you find and how you apply for jobs.

For instance, as an internal employee offered a promotion, your chances are 90%. For a known person interacting directly with a recruiting organisation, your chances are around 50%. Your best chance of getting employed via a public job advert, be that on a company website or via newspaper, are around 12% on average. Where as a “follow the process” application via a job sourced on a jobs board could easily be as low as 2%

So why do so many job seekers think that they will be successful spending more than 10% o the time on jobs boards? Rejection is bound into and dictated by the where your find jobs and how you apply

Job application confidence

This is the last point of job application rejection, and it is a general issue throughout the current job-seeking world: personal confidence. Job seeking in itself is a job, and it is a tough one. There is research, marketing, paperwork, cold calling, direct costs and worst of the lot: a high level rejection. Even the successful job seekers will be rejected at least once, which means that their success ratio is 50%. I haven’t yet met an unsuccessful job seeker who was in some way lacking in self-confidence. It is one of the reasons that I decided to in part cross the divide and become a CV Writer, because universally in most job searches the CV is a common point. If you read through this article, and are still wondering why you are rejected, then after looking in the mirror get out with friends and family and remember what’s important. After taking a break for a day or two, then go back to applying for jobs with renewed vigour, and seek some help in your job search.

In Part2, we will cover the actual job application process.

A job application is as easy as you make it for yourself, but the one big piece of inside advice you should take to avoid job application disappointment: if you don’t know you, what you offer, and what you want to do, then you will be: REJECTED!

Good Luck!

Employed in One Job Application?

I often get asked by job seekers, is it possible to get employed in just one job application? Of course the answer is yes, but it is difficult to make that positive and hence employed result consistent.

However, it is possible to become employed in far fewer job applications than 200 made over four months, the current statistics for the average job seeker. There are far better and more effective job application techniques which can easily get you employed in less than 30 days.

Job Interview = Dating

As an experienced recruiter or employer knows, the predictability of job search is impossible when it comes down to predicting the outcome of a job interview. Like many recruiters and HR professionals, I see this stage more like a dating exercise than a predictable or controllable set of outcomes. Much as though I may think that candidate A may be better, the employer hiring manager may like the equally good candidate B better – it’s just human chemistry!

So while interview technique and briefing each party may well allow good recruiters to achieve a 65% or slightly higher mix and prediction ratio, I have rarely seen many get consistently better results.

The interview stage is hence the biggest risk in trying to get employed in one job application, and it all comes down to human chemistry. That’s not controllable, but it is predictable.

Telephone Interview

Much like placing any job application, it is easily possible to pass a Telephone Interview, if you have read the job advert and have the required competencies – a Human Resources term for skills, qualifications and experiences (SQE).

The difference between a job application and telephone interview is quite simple: format of the communication. The information actually sought by the employer is not any different or often more extensive than that required in the job application. The only additional test is that what you claimed in the job application can actually be backed up with confidence in the telephone interview.

Job requirements?

I have always said, and wholly believe, that every essential requirement of the desired suitable job applicant can be found in the job advert. Yes, you can wholly improve your chances of gaining employment if you research and read around and about your potential employer – by as much as 200%, as you then read the wider interests of the organisation. But everything you need to known that the ideal job applicant should have is in the job advert.

Yet, time and time again, job applicants fail to read job adverts. I had considered that this was because job applicants couldn’t read, and it was but a poor reflection on our nations education system. But as it affects all categories of job application, I conclude in part this problem is derived from a candidates own drive, giving them what could be termed beer goggles!

Simply, the desire to be employed and get that dream job obviates and replaces an individuals ability to read a job advert. They read the title, look at the pay, and with jobs boards making it so simple, they just click to apply.

Communication and Rapport

One of the areas that I have concentrated on in the last five years is the most effective process by which to get employed. But it was only recently in conversation with a professional coach friend of mine that the final piece of the explanation as to why this process worked in the jigsaw of communication, and hence successful job application, clicked into place.

I said to her that I was now convinced that I had tracked the most effective process for any job seeker to get employed, and told her about some of the key tactics and decision points. I said to her that I knew that this was creating a better communication and hence engagement with the potential employer and hiring manager, but wondered if there was another factor at play by which to explain what was happening?

As an engineer by training, I had concentrated on effectiveness of process. In summary the job seeking system gets the job seeker ahead of the competition and closer to the hiring manager, effectively what a good recruiter does to win recruitment business. But as an NLP trained coach, she immediately understood what the process was creating: both the right communication at the right time; but also as a result, the right rapport with the employer and hiring manager. Thus in communication terms, it’s not just about what you communicate, but when, resulting in a build up of the right rapport; and hence employment.

Employed in one job application

We were recently approached by a potential client who wanted us to write her a Cover Letter, a service which we no longer provide as a stand-alone option. After talking to her, the office staff asked if I could directly talk to her, where by as a long term job seeker she needed some considerable help.

This lady was, like many long term job seekers, looking at a poor set of statistics and long term unemployment over 90 days, when the average job seekers success ratio has fallen by two thirds. She had seen a job that she really wanted, was fully technically qualified for, and having written her CV, all she needed was the perfect Cover Letter. Could we help?

I talked the job through with her, and as she had the supporting evidence of both the job advert and the job description, I could have fully analysed the job with just this information. But after a bit of searching – OK, 5 minutes in total using some very easily learnt boolean search techniques around Google, LinkedIn and the employers website – I managed to find a biography profile for the hiring manager.

System of how to get employed

Using all three of these pieces of information – job advert, job description and hiring manager biography – I created an SQE priority sheet. Some of these were hard technical factors associated with the job description, while some were soft factors, mainly associated with the profile of the hiring manager. I then compiled the priority sheet, and checked it using a simple technique to assure myself that the match between employer requirements and job application was as perfect as it could be. I have used this later technique in some job markets where there are very few jobs or employers, and it works superbly in gaining better job application statistics.

From the checked sheet, I then compiled the required Cover Letter, and again checked the output using the check technique on both the Cover Letter and her draft CV. Both were then adjusted again. I then got the job applicant to check the priority list using a very simple technique which both follows the defined employers application process, as well as breaks it. This is in no way an immoral or risky technique, but it drives through the candidates advantage and confirms the priority sheet.

Hiring manager job application

Interestingly at this point, something happened which I didn’t expect and yet was not surprised by: the employer offered our job seeker customer an Informational Interview! At this point after such a long period of unemployment, I had to temper her enthusiasm: honest, it’s just an informational interview outside of the formal HR employment process, which you will still later have to go through. You can get as much information about the job at this stage, but also need to treat it as a formal interview.

I knew the Informational Interview had gone well, as she called me two hours after the designated time slot that she had been allocated. The first piece of news was that the formal interview process was to be held two days later, and the second piece of news was that they had asked to undertake a formal background check, and should she agree? I asked her to think for five minutes about key issues that she wanted addressed, and were there any open questions left on the Informational Interview table? We hence compiled a follow-up thank you letter, accepting the interview date and confirming the ability to start background checks. Seven days later she started her new job!

Employed in one job application: possible, but…

I don’t, as I said at the start of this piece, believe that there are a fixed set of outcomes which can be wholly controlled to get employed in one specific job. The job interview comes down to human chemistry, which means that the outcome is at best a 65% chance of success.

But I do believe that job application technique, when best learnt and applied against the most successful techniques, it is possible to get employed quickly and in a timely manner. The reason the average job seeker presently gets 1 telephone interview per 20 job applications, and spends four months job searching is poor technique. If any of them figured out that it’s costing them on average nearly £10,000 in both lost income and additional costs, they would quickly do something much better, much quicker.

Simply put, if you can find 50 suitable jobs for which you are skilled and qualified for, then there is no reason why you should be unemployed. It really is that simple if you know the right job application technique. Plus, if you know it well and have access to the right information, possible to get employed in one job application.

Good Luck!

The Internet Job Posting

How To Write A Successful Internet Job Posting?
The key to a successful Internet job posting is first recognizing that it is not a print classified advertisement. An Internet job posting is interactive, and requires a good understanding of interactive marketing. One of the greatest challenges contractors face when posting jobs online, is recognizing that they must change their traditional job posting habits. An online job posting will not do well if written like a print classified ad. It must be thought more like an interactive marketing campaign for the entire firm. The Marketing Department rather than the HR Department should write it.

Update the Company Web Site
The company web site is rapidly becoming the first point of contact for most job seekers or prospective clients. Contractors should update their corporate web site so that it provides a professional and interactive presentation of the firm, its goals, key personnel, corporate culture, top achievements, and business philosophy. In fact, every marketing resource available to the contractor should be utilized to make the corporate web site the best it can be. Although most job boards provide hot links to company web sites, some do not. Either way, job seekers are likely to independently surf the Internet in order to locate a contractor’s web site, relevant press releases/news, before submitting their resume.

Keywords Rule
In the fast paced world of Internet surfing, most job seekers will only take the time to view the top 20 search results. Making it to the top usually is about keywords. They often make the difference between a successful job posting and a waste of time.Contractors should put the right keywords in the right place so that the right people can find their job postings. Online job postings are not viewed the way print classified ads are viewed. Online job postings are hidden within databases containing thousands of records, and they must be called up for a job seeker to view them. This process up may take the form of keyword selection in a search engine or any number of methods with point and click directories. It’s important for contractors to study the job posting and keyword guidelines of the hosting job board since they will differ from site to site. Many job boards will rank or prioritize job postings within their database by title, membership status, date, keywords or other less obvious means. Adding keywords properly assures that a job posting will find its way to the top of the job board’s search results. Adding keywords improperly may result in having the job posting deleted by the hosting job board or simply lost in the volumes of database records that job seekers never find. While identifying the best keywords for a job posting, contractors should determine which words the job seeker will select in utilizing the job board’s search engine – and include all relevant occupational-specific terms (i.e. Hard Bid Estimator or value engineering). To cover all the bases, It is a good idea to use multiple words or synonyms that may mean the same thing. For example, if the job location is in a lesser-known town such as Maitland, Florida but near a well-known city like Orlando, Florida, then Orlando should be added as a keyword. Most job boards require keywords to be added in a special field, in a particular fashion (using quotes, comas, etc.). Job postings that do not offer a special field for keywords usually require the contractor to add keywords to the Job Description, Job Requirements or other searchable fields. When adding keywords to a Job Description, contractors should write the keywords into complete sentences so that the content flows as a logical composition.

Make It Believable
Job Postings should be believable and complete if they want to attract the top talent. Most executive job seekers are interested in job postings that contain detailed job descriptions and job requirements. Many want to see salary and information about the company. Others want to know job location. Most job boards claim that a well-written job posting can achieve many more qualified applications than a poorly written job posting. Fortunately many job boards offer FAQ’s and job posting guidelines to help contractors get the most from their job posting. Some provide statistical analysis of individual job postings. These statistics often show the number of job seeker views and applications submitted to each job posting. Contractors can use statistics to evaluate their results and modify the job posting accordingly. The more details provided in a job posting the more credible the job and the better the fit. Therefore, more job seekers will respond. Contractors should be specific about the scope and type of work, the hours, the job goals, the salary and the location. They should also make sure all fields are appropriately filled in completely. Some boards allow for job postings to be previewed prior to going live helping contractors see the completed job posting the way job seekers will see it. Many job boards allow for real time editing during the advertisements flight.

Manage Style
Unlike classified print ads, online job postings usually allow for pages of copy. Headhunter.net allows for three thousand characters in the Job Description and three thousand characters in the Job Requirements fields – or about two typewritten pages. Contractors should write clearly and present text in an organized, logical manner. Job postings should read like a composition and not a print classified ad. Sentences can be short but they should always be complete sentences containing correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The copy should include natural paragraphs, with line breaks, so that the job seeker can find relevant information quickly and easily. Writing in all Caps, using excessive exclamation points, or adding acronyms and abbreviations will reduce the credibility of the job posting and potentially result in job deletion by the hosting job board. Acronyms and abbreviations should also be spelled out since job seekers usually search by complete words.

Read Job Posting Guidelines
Most job boards have Terms of Use agreements that members/users must agree to – in order to utilize their service. It’s important that contractors read and understand the terms that relate to job postings and keywords to get the best results. It is typical for job boards with have high quality control standards to delete or edit up to 25% of all job postings as being inappropriate. Most job boards do not allow for listing of emails, URL’s, use of copyrighted material, defamatory remarks, false, inaccurate or misleading information, illegal or unethical content. Job postings that encourage job seekers to email for more details, are usually prohibited.

Follow up
Contractors should immediately follow up on all qualified applications that have been submitted. Peter Weddles at weedles.com says, “Speed is everything in hiring top talent.” Within ten days, the top 10% of job seekers are gone. Once someone desirable is identified, it’s important to act on that person right away. Today’s recruitment market is highly competitive and the hiring cycle should not allow for any dead time between in-house interviewing schedules and final selection. Contractors should not leave job seekers hanging more than five to seven days without a scheduled follow-up meeting. Otherwise, they risk losing the job seeker entirely. There needs to be top-level management involved with all key hires. Involving top management makes job seekers feel that the hire is an important position, and that they have personally been selected as the “candidate of choice” by the top brass. Contractors should begin closing the deal the moment they know that they want someone for hire. They should not let up until an offer is on the table and accepted.

Common Internet Job Posting Fields & Their Purpose

Job Titles
Titles should be industry-specific and familiar to job seekers since they will use keyword search for positions according to standard job titles. The Job Title field is not the field to market the job posting (like with a classified ad). The Job Title field should be used primarily to have the job posting found by job seekers. Adding appropriate keywords, in the appropriate place, is far more important than catchy job titles that never get seen. However, it is acceptable to add relevant, occupational-defining adjectives to the basic Job Title (such as On-site Architectural Project Manager, Conceptual Chief Estimator, Hospital Flooring Project Engineer, and Veteran Concrete Superintendent).

Job Descriptions
Job descriptions typically focus on job responsibilities, duties, scope, achievements and goals to be accomplished. The clearer the description, the more likely qualified job seekers will apply. Job descriptions should focus on the job seeker’s needs and not just the position. Job descriptions should be written from the job seeker’s perspective. They should also answer the question, “Why would a job seeker want to apply for this job?” Contractors should describe the best parts of the job, interesting challenges, future job opportunities, reporting relationships, and why the position is available. It’s important to sell the overall career opportunity while not just describing it. If a job seeker takes the job, what will their lives be like? Use word pictures and try to communicate desirable images that the job seeker can visualize, compelling him/her to change jobs. For example: “work in a progressive environment where you can learn more in six months than you may have in the last six years”, or “walk into your private office and join a team of enthusiastic professionals who are building the next great management firm”. If there is not a job-posting field that lists specific benefits and perks, add them into the job description. Job benefits include things such as flex time, work at home, child care, above average medical benefits, company vehicle, education reimbursement, country club membership, and other special offerings. However, contractors should recognize that the Job Description field should not describe the company, the job requirements, the job location, salary, or anything else unless there is no other appropriate field in which to post this information. Inappropriate content (or placing content in the wrong fields) may result in the job posting being edited or deleted.

Company Profile
Most job boards allow for a hot link to the contractor’s corporate web site. Many job boards, in addition to offering a hot link, will offer a special Company Profile field. Contractors should completely fill in this field. This will add valuable content and keywords to the job board’s database in order to improve their chances of being found by searching job seekers. A Company Profile field creates an additional promotional opportunity for the firm and the job position. Use this field to describe what the company does – addressing key elements like organization size, location, benefits, company goals, mission, management style, employee quality of life and what makes the firm special. Contractors should also include information about the qualities desired in all team members. This field often provides for limitless content and is the least edited by the hosting job board. Some job boards even allow for multiple company profiles that can be individually linked to a respective job posting (allowing recruiters to add information on each respective client, and contractors the opportunity to promote information about their various divisional offices).

Contact Information
It is essential to put contact information on all forms and in all appropriate fields. Contractors should make it easy for a job seeker to apply. Most job seekers prefer email. Some prefer using mail, fax or phone calls before sending their confidential resume. It is appropriate to specify a preferred contact method, and request that all applications include the respective Job ID. By having several contact methods and the contact name (not just a department) of a real person, a job seeker is more likely to believe the job is valid and apply.

Job Identification (ID)
For job postings, contractors should use a tracking system to provide a unique Job ID for each job posting and require that job seekers reference this ID on applications whether faxed, emailed, or mailed. This allows contractors to know which site – and specifically which ad – brought in the respective application. Information as to where the best applications come from will help contractors to know what job boards have been the most productive sources of talent.

Job Responsibilities
Job Responsibilities are simply the job requirements for the position. In order to get the best response, contractors should list why the requirements are there. Examples would be: “A Bachelor of Arts Degree is required to help lead Corporate Communications” or “We require seven years of project management experience for commercial building projects. This position will manage three Project Managers and seven Project Engineers”. Make clear the “required” qualifications and the “desired” skills. Avoid clich’s or trite phrases like “self-motivated”, “team player”, and “fast-paced” (making the job posting appear common). Contractors can also use the Job Responsibilities field as an eliminator of unwanted resumes by making qualifying statements (“Applicants must have a minimum of six consecutive years with the same general contractor. Otherwise, please do not apply.”). In order to eliminate many unwanted job seekers, contractors can also add qualifying phrases such as “background checks are performed in the hiring process” or “personality testing is used in the hiring process”.

Salary
Many contractors refuse to post salary information in job postings. Salary figures make job postings credible, and substantially improve the job seeker response rate. It is also one of the most widely searched fields on a job posting. Job seekers are typically more interested in the salary than any other item in a job description. According to executive recruiter, Chuck Groom of CC Group, Inc., money is one of the top reasons why people leave their job. Job seekers do not want to waste time with a job that may not pay what they require. When a salary figure is lacking, they will assume that the contractor may be embarrassed by the level of salary level – or have something to hide. Phrases such as “Salary is commensurate with experience, N/A, Open, or Depends on experience” do not prove effective. They will actually significantly reduce response rate to a job posting.

Work Status
An important qualifier, that is often overlooked, is the work status field. With the international reach of the Internet, more and more foreigners (without valid work visas) are applying to United States job postings. Contractors can eliminate many foreign applications by simply stating “applicants must be United States citizens”, or “only United States citizens or those with valid work visas need apply”, or “you must have clearance to work in the United States to be considered for this position”.

Location
Most major job boards require the location field to be completed. Although many recruiters refuse to identify job locations (in fear of disclosing their clients need for confidentiality), listing the job location is one of the main fields that job seekers search. Job seekers from all over the country/world may see the job posting. Without a valid city noted, job seekers must guess the job location. They often will not apply because they think that the posting is in an undesirable location, or that it’s invalid to serve only as a ploy to collect resumes.

Best Places to Post an Internet Job Posting
There are several good choices for contractors who want to post their jobs online. However, the key is to find job boards that to provide the “right” viewers – as well as a large volume of “right” viewers. Contractors want their job posting to be seen by as many relevant viewers as possible. However, although most job boards charge similar fees for services, their volume of viewers can vary dramatically. Many contractors will choose to post jobs online with traditional, well-known, off-line businesses that have a job board presence online. However, the online job posting business (like any Internet business) is a unique business that requires an entirely different set of rules and business acumen. The off-line leaders are rarely the leaders in the online world. In selecting the right job board, contractors should compare results based on verifiable industry standards. One way to make an accurate comparison is through Amazon’s Alexa Research, which can be downloaded at Alexa.com and easily attached to a web browser. Once installed, this tool will indicate a web site’s visitor traffic (based on a common standard, and measured against the entire seventeen million plus web-sites currently on the Internet).