……the crazy hiring environment..what everyy job seeker should know …part 2

Last week, we discussed the first part of the crazy hiring environment environmentI. There is more you should know. I have been a professional recruiter since 1973. Here’s what I have found:

  • Thirty percent of “job openings” are never filled. Companies change their mind about hiring, postpone the hiring, or simply divide the job among existing employees.
  • Sixty percent of the résumés received for a particular opening are never reviewed by the hiring authority.
  • Seventy percent of the résumés received for a particular opening are reviewed by a third party person—that is, Human Resources (HR), an internal recruiter, or some administrative person—who may or may not be qualified to interview any future employee. (A few years ago, we got a call from the CEO of a $40 million manufacturing company. He stated that he needed to hire a controller and that his daughter was going to do the initial interviewing—while she was home from college over Christmas break.)
  • Sixty percent of the third-party people who review a résumé have no direct experience with the job they are recruiting for. They are going by information that is given to them by someone else.
  • Fifty percent of position searches that companies do will have to be started over at least once; 25 percent of them will have to start over two times or more.
  • Most people think companies take thirty to sixty days to fill vacancies. The average is more like 150 to 180 days.
  • Forty percent of the résumés that are “opened” to be read are deleted because the reader can’t tell immediately what the person has done, whom they have worked for, and how successful they have been in that position.
  • The people who are reading the résumés are fearful for their own jobs.

On top of all of this, there are at least 180 résumés received for every job posted to the public. Even if a hiring authority decides to read all of them him or herself, the odds of yours reaching to the top of the pile aren’t great.

Hiring Is Mostly an Emotional Decision

It is important to learn early that the most qualified candidate for a job often is not the one who gets hired. The primary reasons people are interviewed are different from the primary reasons they are hired. In short, there’s a big difference between the candidate’s qualifications and his or her ability to get hired. People are often hired, or not hired, for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do the job, the company, or their qualifications. Over the years I’ve seen people get hired for all sorts of crazy reasons:

  • They were from the same school as the hiring authority.
  • They were young and theoretically had more energy.
  • They were older and the hiring authority felt that older people are more committed.
  • They were average performers and so they wouldn’t “show up” anyone else in the department.
  • They had no experience in the business, therefore wouldn’t have acquired any “bad habits.”

I could go on and on with things that you would laugh at or, in some cases, cry about. But I guarantee you that your qualifications are just part of the decision to hire or not to hire.

No hiring authority is ever going to admit that he or she hired someone who couldn’t do the job. Just remember that the primary reasons certain people are hired usually doesn’t have anywhere as much to do with their qualifications as it does with their perceived ability to do the job—plus their ability to interview well and convince the hiring authority that they’re the best persons for the job.

Remember these points:

  • Hiring authorities and their companies are just as fearful of making a mistake in hiring as they are concerned about hiring the right person.
  • The only thing the hiring authority really cares about is finding someone to do the job. They won’t give a darn about you as a candidate—your feelings, your preference, or how you prefer to be treated.
  • Expect lies and confusion. Companies are going to tell you that they are going to call you back, that they are very interested in you as a candidate, that you would be excellent for the job—blah, blah, blah. Then you will never hear from them again.
  • Many interviewing authorities, such as third-party screeners, people in the Human Resources department, or anyone involved in the hiring who is responsible for the evaluation of candidates but who doesn’t actually have authority, will complicate the process.
  • Expect politics to be involved. From the board of directors down to the cleaning crew, when people are involved it’s political. As hiring is a personal reflection of many people in the organization, the process itself is political. Candidates will often become pawns in the politics of the company.
  • The hiring authorities have inflated opinions of themselves and their companies. They tend to think that, if they have a job opening, it’s the only one in town and “everyone would love to work here.”
  • Ignorance about hiring abounds. The hiring authorities know that someone must be hired, but they often don’t know how to go about doing it.
  • The organizations that will be interviewing you are going to change their minds daily, weekly, or monthly. They will tell you that they need to hire someone today, and four weeks later they will tell you the same thing.
  • Finding a job is one of your highest priorities. In spite of what they tell you, don’t believe a word any hiring authority says until the individual acts as though it is a high priority also.
  • Ten to 15 percent of the time companies are going to hire (promote) from within. You might ask, “Why would an organization interview external candidates if they are probably going to hire from within?” Well, the answer is pretty simple: nobody wants to look bad. They want to appear as though they have surveyed the market, done their research, and hired the most qualified candidate.
  • The interviewing and hiring process sometimes becomes so convoluted that the organization stops interviewing, reorganizes, and hires no one. I estimate this happens at least 30 percent of the time.


It is easy to get discouraged in your job search when you see this vision of this reality. But it is better to be aware of what really goes on than to be living a delusion and be disappointed.

I’m sure that if you have been looking for a job for a while now and have sent your résumé to many companies, you have asked yourself, “Why don’t those people call me? I am an absolute perfect match for their job! What’s wrong with them?” Well, now you know.

There’s really not much you can do about the chaos that exists in companies, especially as it relates to your résumé—to getting it read and being called for an  interview. But recognizing the relative mess that most businesses are in is the first step.  Copy this paragraph onto an index card and put it on your desk or refrigerator as a daily reminder:

The shock and awe of the way I will be treated is the first contribution.

To my disappointment and frustration looking for a job. I cannot control what other people do. I can only control how I react to what they do. I do not take it personally. They are simply “acting human,” doing what they think is best for both of them and their companies.


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