Most companies suck at hiring. The job hunting ecosystem is a multi-billion industry driven by web sites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder. The supposed benefit for employers is the ability to reach large candidate pools at a low cost. Job seekers are led to believe that posting their resumes and applying to online postings they have an actual chance of landing the job. In actual fact most job-hunting sites are about as effective as buying a lottery ticket, for both employer and candidate.
The best jobs are NOT advertised to the public
The unwritten law of job hunting is still as relevant today as it was thirty year ago but has been largely forgotten in the Internet era. There have been many studies, dating back to the 1960s, that find less than 15% of the best jobs are ever advertised to the public. The best positions inside of companies are usually filled internally through networking. After all would you really want to hire a stranger into a prestigious, high-paying role a or someone that is known and part of your network ?
This effectively means that about 85% of the job postings online are jobs that could NOT be filled by networking. Also consider that many companies have HR policies that require publicly advertising open roles when they have already been filled internally. This is done for legal and liability reasons but suffice to say it means many of the good jobs posted online are not real.
I believe there is a better way for companies to identify and hire top talent. Let’s start with the realization that all businesses fundamentally focus on these core activities:
- Grow Revenue
- Reduce Costs
- Manage Risk
- Maximize Productivity
- Optimize HR
All businesses, large and small, invest constantly in one or more of these categories to fix pain-points. In other words pain-points are those inefficiencies that lead to negative impacts to the business and regularly cause stress to management. It is useful to think in terms of alleviating visceral pain because most managers hire people not based on their resume but on their ability to address ongoing management headaches.
For the job seeker it makes more sense to think about how your skills and experience fix pain points within the five core areas mentioned above. Invest the time to research the pains a particular business has. The 10-K report is always a great starting point. Use Linkedin to find the hiring manager and contact them directly. I am a big fan of Liz Ryan’s work on how to write “pain letters” instead of blindly posting resumes on web sites.
The bottom line is finding good jobs in the current economy is only getting harder. It’s about time we stop pretending that Internet job sites are worth the aggravation.