I've seen many discussions on-line about the job search process and how to improve opportunities for success in landing a job. I would like to take moment and talk about what happens once a resume is submitted. This is an area unknown to most job applicants and one of extreme frustration.
Most companies utilize job boards (like CareerBuilder and Monster) to post job openings, as well as local advertising in newspapers or on Craigslist. As you can imagine, the number of potential candidates that use these venues is extremely large. As a corporate recruiter, I've literally received hundreds of responses to similar ads. Here is the "usual" process as these resumes pour in (keep in mind not all companies work this way, but it is fairly common for most).
- As the resumes arrive, they are received by either the recruiter or by an HR Admin person. They are date stamped for receipt and sorted into the appropriate job posting (most companies list multiple job openings at one time).
- Depending on the number of job openings a recruiter is working on, each posting is given a priority rating which means that some resumes may not get a first look for a few days or even a week.
- The recruiter starts with a quick review or scan of the resumes received (this could be just a few or a large stack depending on the response and time passed). This quick scan rarely last more than 30 seconds per resume and a decision if the resume is a reject or worthy of a more detailed review later is made. If rejected, the resume is not looked at again. Reasons for rejection are many but some are typical, such as wordy paragraphs that contain too much detail and take time to read, zero related experience for the job posting, a higher experience level than the open job requires, etc.
- This 1st scan usually eliminates 3/4 of the resumes. The remainder are then given a 2nd read which usually takes place at a later time (remember, recruiters have multiple job openings and must prioritize each listing). The 2nd read through is more detailed and the recruiter looks at areas that would make the candidate a fit for the job or not. This review will usually eliminate another 25-50% of the resumes.
- The remaining resumes then get another read through and notes are made for clarifying questions to be answered by an initial recruiter call. Depending on the responses from the potential candidate, the resumes are either rejected or narrowed down for a prospective interview.
- Those chosen for an initial interview (usually with the recruiter face to face or over the phone) are contacted. This initial interview will delve deeper into the prospects experiences and background, plus the recruiter will try to determine the whys and wherefores of the prospects interest in the job. Selling the recruiter is a critical step in getting the interview with an actual hiring manager. I estimate approximately 1/2 of the prospects initially interviewed are rejected as "not a fit" by the recruiter.
- The remaining prospects then become candidates and are set up to interview with the hiring manager(s). This number is usually broken down into a group of 3-6 candidates that will give the hiring manager a broad base to choose from. From this number - there is just one candidate chosen and an offer for employment extended.
So what happens to your resume and why don't you get any or just limited feedback on your submission? It's all about numbers and the limited HR staff that has to deal with the volume. Most of the time (especially when applying on-line), a prospect will receive an e-mail letting them know the resume was received. If a resume gets to the point of an initial interview with the recruiter, the prospect will "normally" get a confirmation notification of their status. If interviewed by a hiring manager, then it is common practice to notify the non-selected candidates of their status.
It would be wonderful if a company could provide up to date feedback to a prospect all along the line but unfortunately that requires a huge amount of data entry and most HR departments aren't equipped to handle it. I hope this sheds some light on the process and I welcome any feedback you might have.