Job Hunting: Are You Looking In the Wrong Place? ...by Bill Knell
Most people spend months banging their heads against a wall, desperately trying to find the right job. Why? Because you are looking in the wrong place. Most people spend months banging their heads against a wall, desperately trying to find the right job. If you're that person, job hunting is probably driving you crazy! You spend all day posting your resume to newspaper or job search websites hoping for a breakthrough, and still you haven't found the job you want or need. Why? Because you are looking in the wrong place.
Finding a good job has become more then just posting resumes or responding to a few ads in the paper, it's become a very complicated and sophisticated procedure. Many larger companies are now using machines to scan resumes, which means that most will never actually make it into the hands of a human for consideration. These machines look for key words or phrases under certain categories. They are preprogrammed to find individuals with skill, education and experience levels in line with company guidelines for hiring.
Anyone lucky enough to get past the electronic head hunters might then face the dreaded personality test! What you may not know is that larger companies now have the goods on everyone at work. They team people together or keep them apart based on factors and formulas that would give Einstein a headache. Even if you get past the personality hurdle and big brother decides you might fit in at the WE'RE BIG AND YOU'RE NOT Corporation, there's still that pesky little credit report and background check.
Just when you thought it was safe to purchase that expensive wardrobe for your new job, you get a call from Mr. Nobody at Somebody Inc. It seems that the company has found out about those unpaid bills you racked up from Columbia House and that little speeding ticket you got the night of your Senior Prom. Sorry Charlie, you don't get the gig! Well, before you think all is lost, let's start back at the beginning.
It might surprise you to learn that the one person you never contacted is probably the best one for finding you that perfect job. Staffing agencies have gotten a bad reputation over the years for wasting people's time. When there were plenty of jobs to go around, it's probably true that many inexperienced or somewhat unscrupulous staffing experts ran ads for jobs that didn't exist to generate clients. Once there, applicants would fill out about ten thousand identical looking forms, get photographed, take tests and then be sent home to wait for a call. If you received a call, it was probably for a job well beneath what you were lead to believe was available. No call at all meant you were merely a number to help the 'Staffing Professional' gain points with their boss.
Despite the downside of dealing with staffing agencies, most hold the keys to the kingdom. There are a huge number of small, mid-sized and even large corporations that drop the ball into the agency park when it comes to staffing. They may be your best shot at getting a great job without all the hassles.
While corporations are bent on spending money, agencies like making it. There is a huge difference between what a job applicant is likely to go through at an agency and what happens at a corporation Human Resources department. Agencies use top people with decision making power to find the right talent to send to companies. These people like to keep it cheap by replacing the usual screening process of bells and whistles with some good old fashioned common sense. They have seen enough qualified applicants to know the real deal when they see it.
Agency professionals work with a different motivation then corporate Human Resources people do. Agency pros want to help you get a job so that they can get paid. They WANT to help you. They WANT you to get the job! Corporate hacks have a totally different philosophy. Although they'll claim that hiring the right people is their main goal, what they really want is to eliminate as many applicants as possible in the process. This will make higher ups think they're doing their job.
If you make it through an agency review, your next step will probably skip any Human Resources hacks and allow you to advance to the very person at a corporation who has the power to hire you. That's the big advantage to dealing with agencies. So sharpen up that resume, put on your best rags and get going! Here's a few tips:
... The more specialized the agency, the better jobs they are likely to have available. If you are a professional, don't go to an agency looking for day workers. Find one that deals with your profession.
... When you get in front of a Staffing Pro, don't be afraid to ask what companies they work with and how successful they've been with placing people. This will not insult a true pro and will send a message that you're not just there to waste an afternoon.
... Bring several resumes with you. Resumes should be brief and devoid of reference letters unless the President of the USA or CEO of Microsoft thinks you're cool and has written a letter to so say. Copies of paychecks from previous jobs will help staffers to determine your income potential. Copies of diplomas and school transcripts are also helpful time savers that will move you through the process faster.
... Although being out of work will probably add a few negatives to your credit report, try not to let that happen! Beg, borrow or steal (well, not steal!) the money to pay your bills. Keep that report on the positive side and take the time to challenge or clean up negatives. Like it or not, your credit report is who you are in today's world.
... Be patient with agency procedures. No matter how annoying they are, it could be far worse at a corporation Human Resources department and a lot less fruitful.
... Get noticed! Be a stand out person who confidently answers every question. Never hesitate. If you don't have an answer, write down the question on a note pad and offer to provide it as soon as possible. Try to be memorable, without being annoying.
Getting a good job has become a daunting task that rewards the persistent and punishes the quitter. If you think of it as anything less, you risk the danger of ending up where you don't want to be. Good luck!