In the January 30, 2018 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, a reader asks how to overcome a mountain of job hunting obstacles controlled by HR.
Job hunting has become incredibly frustrating. I have always said HR should never screen candidates, but it is reality and I have to face it. I am looking for a job and can’t get past the initial screening. People hiring for jobs I have done won’t talk to me. I just started using Jobscan to try to get through the initial screening. The word-match is ridiculous, but again it is reality.
Why do companies still rely on HR to scan resumes? It has never been a good idea and now with software to do word matches, it is even worse. Any great ideas on how to change the corporate mentality so top management will tell hiring managers they need to screen the resumes themselves?
If the hiring managers say they are too busy, that tells me they are not good at their jobs or don’t know what they want and are unable to produce good job descriptions. I find they also screen for academic background and professional licenses when those are not needed. For example, I am not a CPA, but have an MBA. Unless I am signing off an audit, it should not matter. I have cleaned up many messes from CPAs who could not function in an operating company.
Any ideas on how to change hiring mindsets?
Why do people persist in trying to change other people’s mindsets? Change your own mindset. That in turn will allow you to change your behavior. Only your own behavior is going to enable you to change the outcome of your job hunting efforts.
I agree with everything you say, except that you “have to face it.” (See Why HR should get out of the hiring business and The manager’s #1 job.) You don’t have to face the obstacles HR throws up at you.
“You have to face it” is a great fallacy that the HR profession and the employment industry (Indeed, LinkedIn, etc.) market and sell to us every day. It’s bunk, yet some of the smartest people still accept it.
There is no mountain when you’re job hunting.
There is no way to beat a system that is designed to make managers avoid talking to the people they need to hire. But don’t let that stop you.
There’s an old Zen koan: A novice goes to the master and says, “Master, I have tried to climb the mountain. It is too big. I have tried to go around the mountain. It is too wide. What shall I do?”
The master says, “Grasshopper (it’s always Grasshopper, right?), there is no mountain.”
Understanding this is the start of changing yourself.
Reject what you know is wrong.
When you cannot change the job hunting system, reject the system. Realize that the silly methods employers use to isolate managers from you is nothing more than a consensus of HR people who are wrong.
The system hurts you only if you accept and acknowledge it. You don’t have to accept the system. The stunning truth is that this silly system hurts employers, too. It results in enormous, unacceptable rejection rates in recruiting and hiring. When HR rejects so many people, somebody’s doing it wrong!
Stop expending energy on HR, screenings and obstacles. Invest all your time in finding, getting introduced to, and talking with managers. Don’t be intimidated by this. It’s a challenge like any other challenge you’ve faced in your work.
Focus on the right objective.
Remember that HR doesn’t hire anyone. It processes applicants. Only managers hire. So, focus on the correct objective — the hiring manager — even if HR warns you not to. This means you must change your objective, which means changing your mindset.
Throw out your old job hunting playbook. (And forget about using Jobscan to diddle your resume!) If you have to get to the manager (and you do), what are the steps? Work it out. It’s no bigger a challenge than anything else you’ve faced in your work. The nice thing is, you’ll encounter virtually no competition because everyone else is standing in line at HR’s door!
This article may help you develop your own methods: Skip The Resume: Triangulate to get in the door.
This extreme example may help you change your mindset: 71 Years Old: Got in the door at 63 and just got a raise! (Let Stephanie Hunter be your guide!)
Don’t worry about the job hunting mountain.
People in power depend on us to believe they control everything and that we cannot control anything. I think such brainwashing is the real source of your job hunting frustration.
Please: Accept the fact that all your other observations are correct. Don’t fight your own good judgment. Instead, act on it. Don’t worry about “changing hiring mindsets.” Don’t let HR screen you. Approach managers from directions that do not involve “the mountain.”
Don’t worry about HR. Let HR worry about you.
What obstacles keep you from talking directly to hiring managers? How do you get to the hiring manager?