As recruiters, we might get get hundreds of responses when we place a job advertisement. At Blues Point we reply to every applicant, but it isn’t practical to provide a personal response to each individual whose CV we have not shortlisted outlining why we did not select them – it just wouldn’t be feasible for the hundreds of people that we have to respond to on a daily basis. And the search doesn’t end with looking through the applications – if none of the candidates is suitable, we’ll start a fresh search for someone that has the skills our client is looking for, via CV databases, networking and social media.
Please don’t take it personally if you are not selected. If you believe you have the exact skills that the client is looking for but do not make the shortlist, it indicates that the client was looking for something very specific that you didn’t have. This might be experience in their particular industry, it might be working for a competitor of theirs, or it could be that other candidates offered more of a particular skill that they were interested in bringing to the team.
Recruiters are sometimes regarded as gatekeepers to the client; as if it were the case that if they were not involved, you would simply send your CV directly to the client and secure an interview. But that isn’t the case at all. Our client has explained to us precisely what they want, and it is our job to find that person. If we send through CVs that do not meet the criteria, we are not doing our job properly.
How can I improve my chances?
- By maintaining a good relationship with the recruitment agency. Even though their initial email might be impersonal, most will provide more information on why you weren’t selected if you ask them to. The worst thing you can do is to send them a rude email indicating your disgust at not being selected. Yes, this does happen. And it might seem cathartic at the time, but it won’t get you anywhere, and the recruiter will be reluctant to deal with someone in future that has been unpleasant to them. Send a few of these off to agencies and you will be isolating yourself from every opportunity that might be suitable for you! Remember, every candidate that is not shortlisted is still a possible candidate for future vacancies – in fact we regularly go on to place people that have received the standard impersonal email at some stage.
- Follow the instructions. Some of the indignant responses are from candidates that have not followed the basic instructions in the advertisement – if the advertisement says that you should provide a CV and covering letter indicating why you are the best candidate for the role, then that’s what you have to provide. And that’s what the candidates who were shortlisted did.
- Have another look at your CV – does it need adjusting? If it wasn’t clear to the recruiter that you had the skills they were looking for, it might be worth giving your CV a tweak. Don’t think of your CV as a final document, when you apply for each role you should be prepared to adjust your CV accordingly. Too time consuming? Again, this is exactly what the candidates who were shortlisted have inevitably done.
Internet job boards and social networking sites like LinkedIn have made it very easy to apply for jobs. But should it really be easy? If you are selected, you will have to go through a rigorous interview process and probably testing as well. The successful candidate knows that the process does not start when you get to interview stage – it begins with the application, and progresses to your conversation with the recruitment consultant, and you need to make a good impression at both stages otherwise that interview simply won’t happen.
Don’t let hurt feelings get the better of you. It is a tough marketplace and clients are being less flexible on their requirements than ever. Don’t give up just because you weren’t successful this time, and if you would like some honest feedback on your CV, contact us.