But harder for you.
You’re probably aware of the order in which employers attempt to fill a position. First, they consider their own employees; second, ask for referrals from their employees; third, seek referrals from trusted people outside the company; fourth, hire recruiters; and lastly, advertising the position. Or they use a combination of all of these.
There are many reasons why employers prefer not advertising an open position, including the cost to advertise, having to deal with a deluge of résumés, and interviewing people they don’t know.
In many cases advertising their position/s is unavoidable because all other methods of filling them have failed. Thus, they resort to tools to make sure they get the most qualified people entering their doors. You need to be aware of these tools.
Applicant tracking systems (ATS)
This is the beginning of the hiring process from the candidates’ experience. The ATS eliminates approximately 75 percent of the applicants for a single job. It is a godsend for recruiters and HR, who are overburdened with résumés to read.
To be among the 25 percent of the résumés that are read, you’ll have to write ones that are keyword rich. Unfortunately many candidates don’t know about the ATS and don’t optimize their résumés. I’m astounded by the number of people who come through our career center unaware of the ATS.
Your best bet is to write keyword-rich résumés that are tailored to each job. Instead of using the spray-and-pray approach, be more focused on positions that are a fit and dissect job descriptions to identify the most important skills and experience required.
Pre-employment aptitude and personality tests
Employers have come to rely on aptitude and personality tests that can determine the candidates who’ll advance in the hiring process. Some employers will swear by them, believing that the software can do a better job of screening individuals than their own HR and recruiter.
Employers use pre-employment tests because they are objective and fair across the board—each candidate answers the same questions—and they’re a good indicator of job-related skills. These tests also measure character traits like integrity, cognitive abilities, emotional intelligence, etc.
Where these tests fail is measuring candidates’ motivation to learn job-related skills. This means if you aren’t completely proficient in a certain CRM software, for example, your ability to learn quickly isn’t factored in.
These tests can also encourage dishonesty. For example, you might get the sense that the test encourages outgoing, extraverted types; but you’re preference is for an individualistic work setting. Ergo, your answers won’t truly reflect your personality.
This article talks about the most common types of pre-employment tests.
Skype interviews are common these days. Employers use them to save time and, ultimately, money. As well, interviewers get to see your facial expressions and body language. They are akin to face-to-face interviews, save for the fact that candidates aren’t invited to the company. This means candidates must nail the following areas:
- Stellar content and demonstrated enthusiasm through your answers and body language.
- Professional attire. Dress as though you’re going to a face-to-face interview.
- All the mechanics are in check, such as lighting, sound, and background.
- Look at the webcam, not at the interviewer/s. Looking at them will make it seem like you’re not making eye contact.
Skype interviews may, in fact, be the final interview, which makes it even more dire for job candidates to be prepared for them. This is particularly true if interviewers are situated all over the world.
Don’t be surprised if an employer wants to conduct a Skype interview with you. One of the areas I didn’t mention is learning how to set up a Skype account. My efforts in setting up mine was frustrating, as I had a hard time figuring out how to access the free version.
Skype interviews can not only be challenging for candidates, they can also be time consuming for the employer, as it requires them to participate. Video interviews, on the other hand, don’t require employer participation, until the interviews are watched and graded.
Job candidates are given a number of questions to answer and are timed during the session. At no point do they see the interviewer/s, unlike a Skype interview. My clients who have participated in video interviews say it’s like talking to a wall.
This might be a bit unnerving, but don’t let it rattle you. Have you ever answered interview questions while looking in the mirror? Think of it this way and you’ll be fine. One more thing, look at your computer’s webcam while answering the questions, just as you would for a Skype interview.
There you have it: four tools employers use to determine who to invite for a face-to-face interview. No method of hiring the right person is flawless, but employers feel like they’re making strives to accomplish landing the best candidate. It is up to you to do well in every aspect of the process.