Most of you won’t read every word on this blog post. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of you do much more than skim-read over the content here, casting your well-trained CV-reading eyes at speed from section to section looking for the key bits of interest that might be worth lingering over a little longer. Although in the case of this blog, I know it’s more the tid-bits of salacious gossip, rumour and general recruitment scuttlebutt that you crave, rather than the impressive employer list, work history, or technical qualifications of a CV.
But despite receiving more than a few suggestions that I pass comment on certain recently liquidated recruitment businesses, that’s not happening. Not this week anyway.
What I’m getting at is that all of our reading habits have changed significantly over recent years. Where once upon a time, sitting in fuggy train carriages swaying towards work, people might have read a newspaper from cover to cover, that simply does not happen anymore. So bombarded are we by information and digital content, so desperate are we to consume as much as possible, as quickly as possible, so we can do so many other things in our busy lives, that the art of skim reading has become a universal necessity rather than a unique skill.
And the exact same thing has happened to jobseeker behaviour over recent years too.
Let me put this in some context. My week began at a breakfast forum hosted by SEEK to discuss industry trends and announce upcoming product launches and whatnot. While discussing what SEEK could do better to get more relevant candidates applying for jobs, ie. ones that at least even barely match the requirements of the job advertised, an increasingly loud and overwrought voice piped up. The voice belonged to a hugely experienced recruitment business owner who has been training up wide-eyed junior recruiters for many years now. The claim made (in increasingly forceful tones to a room full of other hugely experienced recruitment leaders) was that it’s simply a matter of training up young recruiters to write proper job ads that clearly enunciate the exact requirements of successful candidates. If the recruiter receives a totally inappropriate application then it must be the fault of the recruiter who wrote the ad, not the confused jobseeker.
What complete codswallop.
You see, the way we consume information these days has made its’ way into jobseeker behaviour too. In an effort to speed up, automate, multi-task, and be more efficient, jobseekers these days don’t read ads properly, if at all. So it doesn’t actually matter what you write in them, right? They will still pop up a keyword from the ad, taken out of context but not understood by the machines, but trust blindly in the machines anyway and spam off a CV in the vague hope if might be slightly relevant to the person the recruiter is seeking.
Here’s an example: I popped an ad up yesterday that contains the words:
…to pen an individual job ad for each role would mean I’d have no time left to reply to any of you (and us recruiters get a bad enough rap for that as it is, but you’ll hear back from us even if you’re not a recruiter and are in fact an IT professional or procurement manager who hasn’t read this ad properly).
Guess what? Yep, six applications (and counting) from people ranging from IT helpdesk to administrators and payroll clerks. Not one from an actual recruiter… (well none that I’d let on about anyway!)
One of our clients recently admitted to us that they have given up taking the time to write a perfectly-crafted job ad these days as their investigations revealed that it makes no difference to the quality of response.
So, does it really matter anymore what we actually write in our job ads? Might as well have some fun with them, I say.