3 ways companies push away job candidates

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Jun 12

Nothing frustrates job candidates more than being well-qualified for a position, submitting a resume, and then getting one of those automated, legal e-mails rejecting you.

It happens to job seekers all the time. As frustrating as it is for the job candidate, rejecting qualified candidates hurts companies as well — work doesn’t get done, time is lost, and qualified candidates are not found. A lot of the problem rests squarely with the company — companies push away candidates and don’t even realize they are doing so.


Automated resume scanning programs

Resume scanning programs take your electronic submission and electronically look for “key words” that match up with the job skills listed for the position. If the position is for project management, the resume scanning program will look for “project manager” on your resume. And not look for it once, but look for it often. If the automated resume scanning program doesn’t find “project manager” often enough on your resume, your resume goes into the electronic trash can and you get the legal sounding, automated rejection e-mail.

The program can get set so that it rejects anything except perfection. Or close to perfection. Or 80% to perfection. It’s like your spam filter on your email hitting some level and you never see a spam e-mail that meets the criteria. Except, in your case, it’s a lost opportunity for a job.

Too many required skills

You might as well write the job description for the ideal candidate, right? The ideal candidate that can program in several different languages who completely understands your business and has ten-plus years of experience doing so while adding significant value to the business. Oh. And who is highly motivated and can work well in a fast-paced environment.

In my experience, the job description rarely reflects what is actually done on the job. It doesn’t describe the work that needs doing, just 5,000 job skills of which perhaps 3-5 really count.

But put down 5,000 job skills needed for the ideal candidate — and then throw them into the automated resume scanning machine — and you have the perfect set of ingredients to reject qualified candidates.

Refusal to interview anyone who is not in the industry

Finally, companies get pig-headed about never talking to a candidate that doesn’t have “X” industry experience. Whether the industry is healthcare, insurance, defense — whatever — if you don’t have it, you don’t even get considered. Never mind that business operations use remarkably consistent processes to perform the work. There is a reason “best practices” get implemented across companies in different industries — the practices work across industries.

But you, as a person looking for work, apparently can’t work across industries. Just the business processes can.

That’s not universal, of course. If you are going to sell highly specialized consulting services on the latest healthcare law and regulations, you’ll need the background. But to process a claim? Not that much.

It cracks me up that an individual is supposed to have experience in the industry but no one will provide that experience in the industry by interviewing someone who has the job skills to do the work with similar industry experience. Think life insurance experience and healthcare insurance. I’m sure there are highly talented people looking to jump from one to the other — but companies won’t allow it to happen because the industry is not exactly the same.

Everyone gets hurt

We’ve seen companies complain there are no good candidates out there. And job candidates counter with example after example of rejection e-mails for positions where the candidate is qualified, but is rejected anyway.

It’s a vicious circle and not easily broken.

Have you applied for positions you were well-qualified for but rejected anyway?