You spend a great deal of time perfecting your resume. You follow all of a pundit’s advice — including mine. You post that outstanding resume onto the right job boards. And yet, all you hear back is crickets.
Don’t be surprised. Or disappointed.
You see, even if you have a perfect resume — even one that perfectly matches the job description posted there on the job board — there is a very good chance you won’t get the interview.
Why? Well, let’s take a look a three of the ways a company can use a job board — that have nothing to do with you or your job skills.
The company is doing research
Flash Boys famously pulled resumes from job boards and then went to LinkedIn profiles to not only find out the skills being used to manipulate the market (unknown to the technologists) and then went to LinkedIn to find out who else those same people were connected to on the site.
“I was totally shocked when John started to pull out these resumes,” he recalled. “The banks had adopted a policy saying as little as possible about what they were actually doing. They’d fire people for being quoted in the newspaper, but in their LinkedIn pages those same people said whatever they wanted.”
Sometimes people want to see what type of people will apply for a job even if it is already filled just to see how well their employees stack up against possible new hires. To be fair, many times a company will actually interview people to find out the same thing — to find out what other companies are doing with their initiatives and to find out how the interviewees stack up against their own employees.
You can make your own judgement on the ethics of doing that.
The company has a policy to post the job outside the company
Sometimes, it’s policy with the insider already selected. From the Wall Street Journal:
Even though federal labor rules don’t require employers to post openings, human-resources departments at many companies require them to be listed on a job board or career site for some period, says Debra Feldman, an executive career consultant based in Greenwich, Conn. Such postings are meant to make hiring fair and transparent, and may help to protect employers from discrimination lawsuits or audits by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re perfect or not; the job is already filled.
The job is posted, but after posting, is filled by the “hidden job market.”
Most companies that have a legitimate job opening don’t want to post jobs on job boards. It’s costly, filled with hundreds of resumes, and time consuming. Companies would rather fill from the hidden job market. And if they find a candidate in the hidden job market after a job is posted, the chances of an interview from the posting is about zero. From Lou Adler:
The non-public, hidden and more effective market is on the left consisting primarily of internal moves and networking. In this market candidates are evaluated primarily on their past performance and future potential.