You’ve sent out ten, fifty, maybe a hundred applications, and heard nothing. That is the job search “black hole”. Not only is it discouraging, but it eats away at your self-confidence. In order to avoid the job search “black hole” we must first understand the employment funnel.
When you apply for a job by responding to a posted job opening you will be competing against – pick a number – 50, 200, 500, maybe several thousand other applicants. Because of the large number of applicants, many companies do an initial screening to eliminate as many applications as possible. How do they do that? Often it’s done by a computer (read about Applicant Tracking Systems) or a person in Human Resources, neither of which understands the job requirements fully nor can interpret your qualifications.
In order to reduce applications to a manageable number, the computer or HR professional will look for specific requirements (Hmmm… the job description says, “2-5 experience doing XYZ.” – candidate doesn’t have that – application is eliminated) and/or keywords (for example, in accounting they could be Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Audit Controls, Balance Sheet, Benefits Administration, Billing, Budgeting and Cash Flow, etc.). They may also look at how recent your relevant experience is, or how long you performed certain kinds of work.
If you make it through the first screen, you may then have a phone interview, often with someone in Human Resources who asks a list of questions to further screen out candidates who don’t meet criteria. Then a small number of qualified applications are sent to the hiring manager, who decides which applicants to interview. The first interview may be a phone or virtual interview. Only the “cream of the crop” are invited for a face-to-face interview.
At each step of the process, the number of candidates under consideration decreases. What are some implications of this?