What do online dating apps and job seeking have in common? Ask anyone who has ever been “ghosted” despite thinking they were a perfect match.
In both cases, there’s more to a match than what you see on the surface. Call it the dark matter that creates a condition called “fit.”
More than Words…
Most talented tech candidates are aware of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that store their resumes and other information about them. The assumption is that winning an interview requires solid matching of keywords in their resume with those of the job description.
That’s true, but there’s a catch. Focusing solely on matching keywords in the resume with the job description can cause many qualified applicants to miss the mark because they haven’t adequately described their background.
You might say you’re “detail-oriented” but failed to give examples. You might say you’re a great problem-solver, but fail to tie that to an accomplishment. Don’t spend all your words matching; spend some of them telling your story. That’s what hiring managers are trying to find out from your resume. Who you are, where you came from, how you’ve progressed, and how you might fit.
What You Think They Want Isn’t Actually What They Want…
There is often a fundamental mismatch between what the job seeker thinks the hiring manager is looking for and what the hiring manager is ACTUALLY looking for.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) asked 1,000 U.S. job seekers to identify the critical factors for landing a job interview. Just over 37 percent said recruiters and hiring managers look for “work experience” over all other factors when considering candidates.
In separate research, 2,100 supervisors named “accomplishments” and “service assignments” as the two most important factors hiring managers consider when making recruitment decisions. These were followed closely by “skills and abilities,” according to the Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Insights report. Not as important: “work experience” and “educational attainment.”
You can see the disconnect here. It’s not JUST the work experience, it’s the important specific accomplishments that matter. It’s not JUST the work experience, it’s the creativity, problem-solving and passion you brought to the table. It’s the WAY in which you performed your duties during that work experience that matters most to hiring managers. To get to the interview level, you need to explicitly and succinctly tie your experience to the kind of intangibles hiring managers really want: the dark art of being self-directed, responsible, problem-solving, proactive and collegial while executing the skills you’ve honed.
“Hiring managers are interested in the kinds of skills, pursuits and passions that transcend a candidate’s current job description as well,” says Kay Durkin, founder of Phoenix Partners. “They want to understand the dimensions of a candidate, such as his or her interest in technology and its advancement.”
Avoiding the Black Hole
Sometimes, good candidates are “ghosted” for reasons that could have been overcome with further explanation, or more careful review. For example, simple typos can communicate carelessness. Unexplained employment gaps can send a red flag. So too can “job hopping.” Employers want stability, given the substantial investment they make in hiring and training employees. This is where working with a recruiter can greatly benefit a candidate. Explaining gaps in employment or frequent job changes to your recruiter can help him/her to better represent you to a potential employer.
How to Master the Dark Matter For A Quantum Career Leap
- For each job history, summarize and highlight the hard skills used
- Give concrete examples of key accomplishments
- Demonstrate ways you solved problems
- Spell out what your transferable skills are
- Share your enthusiasm for your field
- Research and understand the company culture – fit matters!
Hiring managers want to hire the person who will perform well on the job and will help solve problems. With help from a recruiter, you can assess and address your fit for a potential opportunity.
Are you ready to trade up? Talk to Phoenix Partners.