We are hiring! Why are candidates so stupid?
We are hiring!
I am thrilled that Staffing Industry Analysts is growing and we have the opportunity to hire some really great people. So in this very competitive marketing, why are candidates so stupid? I can’t help but share an actual cover letter we received from a candidate looking for a Marketing Communications Manager role; this is exerpted from the actual letter (I took out locations and names of schools, etc.):
"I currently play the matchmaker between alcohol drinkers and happy hours in the…region. Upon graduating from … in 2005, I tried to become the next Tiger Woods and set myself up for disappointment a year later when I realized that making the PGA Tour was not as realistic as I first thought. I am now giving myself 25 years to tighten up my golf game in time for the Senior PGA Tour.
"The year I spent on the golf course fairways (rough, water, out of bounds, sandtraps) and greens allowed me to think about, research and create the biggest
thing to hit …. I knew that I had to capitalize on the recession by connecting the college drinkers, business suits, construction workers, tourists and senior citizens with slower-than-normal happy hours."
I sent the letter to a colleague of mine, because I couldn’t believe someone would send a cover letter positioning themselves as the matchmaker between alcohol drinkers and happy hours and that he thought this all up on the golf course. My colleague thought he was trying to be creative, albeit poorly; I just thought he was
stupid. Great that he has created a business linking consumers with businesses. Given this is a business role, might it not be better to position himself in that way? He could have said: I created a business linking consumers to restaurants and bars where the restaurant and bar had additional capacity. Now I am listening to an entrepreneur and not a frat boy who needed something to do in his twenties (also in his cover letter).
Positioning is key
As I read through the resumes and cover letters attached to the resumes I am amazed at the broad spectrum of responses we received. Another question, why do people who don’t have the required experience apply for a job? I realize the market is competitive, but as a candidate if you can’t take the time to tell me why your experience as a bank teller, makes you qualified to be a marketing communications manager, I won’t read your resume. I do realize that different companies ascribe different titles to like roles, so I will read past titles, but make qualifications clear.
It’s a social world
I think candidates forget that I can find out a lot about them with a couple of keystrokes. Make sure what you send me in your resume matches to your social profiles. If it doesn’t, fix it. If you are looking for work, take the picture of you drinking wine, or wrapped around your significant other down, and just put a picture up of you. I have a piece of software that runs through Microsoft Outlook called Xobni. Xobni captures your Facebook picture when you send me an email, so if you are drinking, wrapped around friends and generally being yourself, I see that. But professionally, I don’t want to see that. I personally would prefer to not see your picture, but in this social world I do. So if I am seeing a picture of you, I want it to be a great professional picture of you.
How can staffing companies help?
Coaching, coaching, coaching. Remind people that when writing a cover letter, it is important to differentiate, but often humor doesn’t come through and the message you are trying to impart needs to be appropriate for the receiver. Advise candidates to talk about relevant experience and to position themselves relevantly. Most importantly, be yourself, but let it be just yourself. Make sure that social, resume and your overall profile match up. There should never be differences in your LinkedIn, Facebook profiles versus your resume. Help candidates understand that hiring managers are busy and want to hire the best candidate quickly. Give the hiring managers some help, no one wants to guess what something means on a resume and come to the wrong conclusions. I am not spending hours reading resumes, I am spending minutes, sometimes just seconds.