The Big Disconnect

There has always seemed to be a disconnect between what recruiters and job-seekers think and see in around the job-seach/hiring arena and there is no greater area of contention than in the job posting / résumé submission process.

In our recent survey of 633 job-seekers, 553 recruiters (264 corporate, 215 contingent, 72 retained) and 119 career coaches / counselors we asked job-seekers specifically what was the deciding factor in whether or not they apply to opportunities they come.

As seen from the chart below, the majority of respondents said that their match to the qualifications required was the biggest deciding factor and some other smaller pieces followed after that with a few saying they would apply to everything out there.

Deciding Factor

When I have shared this chart and information with recruiter friends, most have been surprised by the results because as recruiters if we get ten résumé from a posting, half of them are no where near qualified for the job posted.

Another question in the survey asked all three (recruiters, career coaches, and job-seekers) where most job-seekers falter in the process and everyone agreed (even job-seekers) that applying to jobs that they are not qualified for is the biggest area of improvement for those seeking work .


After finishing the results of this survey I have often wondered how the vast majority of job-seekers can say they are only applying for jobs that they are qualified for and then turn around and say that the biggest mistake that job-seekers make is not doing so.  In any case, it is important to remember as you are looking for new jobs that if you do not meet at least 75% of the qualifications then you are more than likely not going to get a call back.

Just food for thought.

Until next time, good hunting and good luck!

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14 responses to “The Big Disconnect

  1. Spot on!

    The reason in my professional opinion is that many job seekers do not know what their skills really are.

    Most of them have been trained to work in areas of weak skills; then having the weak skills improved with training….end results most workers (70%) do not like with they do for a living.

  2. Also – job applicants tend to apply for jobs they ‘think’ they can do. (I did this myself until I became a recruiter – what a learning curve that was in applying for future positions!) Recruiters cannot read their minds and have to make screening decisions based on what is written in the resume. Usually – never the two shall meet.

    Never apply for a position based on what you ‘think’ you can do. ALWAYS apply for a job based on what you ‘can’ do and make sure your skills match what is listed in the job posting. Those requirements are there for a reason.

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  4. I absolutely agree. I teach a resume writing class at a One Stop Center and the first thing that I tell my folks is to read the job description, and if they do not qualify, then do not apply. I also find that they do want to take the time to prepare a resume, that is to brainstorm and research their skills before even drafting them, much less writing them in final form.

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  6. I can’t help but think that there’s a “me” versus “the other guy” issue showing itself in these results.

    In another recent report I read that majority of employees surveyed would actively seek new employment over the next 12 months. A similar majority of the same respondents felt their companies were taking advantage of employees who are less likely to look for new work in a down economy.

    The way the questions were posed on this survey may have helped respondents tell us what they do right (first align their skills with the job requirements) versus what others do wrong (apply to too many jobs they DON’T qualify for.

  7. I agree with the comments above, but in addition to those–I am qualified to do the jobs that I apply for, but I do not have “recent” experience since my experience was before my last job where I was employed for 7yrs.

    I desire to seek a position in the fields that my degrees are in (Retail Mgmt-Fashion/Family Life Education), but many employers are look for those with more recent experience and that’s what is hindering me–there’s no category for that issue!

  8. I think that one of the reasons for the disconnects between what you post and what you receive may be that many of the people that see the posting are disqualifying themselves and the remainder are dispopportionally skewed to the people that will apply for anything. Another large group may think that the posting is listing unrealistic or over stringent qualifications and are applying hoping to get at least an explanation of these contradictory items.

  9. I have sometimes found the job description too ambiguous to be certain if I would qualify or not. For instance (IT example), if a job you are certain you know how to do has a qualification listed for specific software experience, how does a candidate know if that is an absolute requirement or a “would prefer” requirement if it does not explicitly say so? Different companies take different approaches to this situation (e.g. transferable skills and character are more important than very specific hard skills vs we must have someone with specific experience in this hard skill). What I have done is called the HR recruiter to get insight before applying but I would imagine that many candidates would rather apply than remove themselves from a potential job they fully believe they can do well.

  10. The people who apply for jobs they are not qualified for are usually doing it so they feel like they’re “active” in the job search. It gives them hope that they are progressing towards their next job. Others are running out of money and are desperate for anything. I haven’t applied for a job in months since I have yet to see a job that I want, for which I am qualified, and that is in my area. The job market now is excruciatingly slow and some people are fed up and just need to apply for something – anything.

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  12. It’s not surprising that the career coaches showed more candidates with poor resumes, than the other categories. The clients who seek our a career coach already know that their methods aren’t working, and the resume (as a product brochure) is the easiest thing to identify, critique and tweak.

    As for job postings, there are two things that stand out:

    1) Some positions ARE unrealistic, given what’s being sought, and should invite slightly unqualified people for the post, who are still qualified to perform the job function.

    2) Some positions are unreasonable. I won’t even consider applying to a position that offers a starting wage, for example, of $15/hr, but REQUIRES a BS degree in the sciences. I have worked for $15/hr, in a skilled trade position; if you want me to do work that involves my degree, pay for that expertise, please. A bad economy is not a good excuse for low-balling; they’re just going to leave when the economy improves, and the ones you attract are why the position will open again in 30 days.

    3) Some positions advertise recruiter incompetency in the field for which they are seeking a position. I have actually seen postings (in safety) that require a CSP (Certified Safety Professional), and then say “3 – 5 years of experience in safety field preferred.” A CSP needs 7-10 yrs of experience just to apply to the evaluation for that certification. Or the recruiter a couple years back that was seeking a Registered Land Surveyor on the association’s website, and stated, “must have at least 5 yrs surveying experience, or a degree in surveying, and CAD design experience.” To be an RLS requires more experience than what he was listing as minimum experience; it was unnecessary to require more than being an RLS. Which doesn’t communicate competency (I also called him out on it, on the post).

  13. Haha, I said “two”, added a thought, and didn’t change the text. That bites.

  14. Pingback: Job-Seekers v Recruiters (Singing in Perfect Harmony) « A Recruiters Guide to the Universe

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