8 Truths Human Resources Won’t Tell You About the Recruitment Process

8 Truths Human Resources Won’t Tell You About the Recruitment Process
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 21 July, 2022

Unless you work in HR, there’s a good chance that you’ve never thought about your application’s journey between the time you hit “Apply Now” and the reply blinking on your phone screen.

There’s much more to it than meets the eye. “ Great resignation ” or not, in a tough economy companies must juggle any number of priorities and clashing goals to stay competitive. It’s not about you, but it affects you. So brace yourself for some real talk to help you do better in your next job application.

What is HR not telling you?

1. You may be replying to an ad for your replacement.

Every so often it pops up on your job search: a job ad fromCompany Confidential. The job sounds perfect for you – a lot like your current job, but with better pay. Should you apply? What does it mean?

Think first. This is often the case when a company advertises a job that’s yet to be vacated by an employee – an employee with no idea that he/she is about to be replaced. It could be probationary employees who won’t be made regular, or long-time employees on the verge of dismissal. Of course, no worker wants to know their days are numbered, and angry employees are a security risk. So some HR personnel go stealth. Just excel at your job and do more than what’s asked of you to make yourself indispensable at work.

2. Your resume might never get seen by a human being.

Surprise: the resume you worked so hard to customize might not get past the company’s HR screening software. Most top employers in the Philippines use some form of advanced recruitment software, to screen hundreds of resumes per role and filter out unsuitable candidates.

These systems are programmed to screen resumes based on keywords for the required skills and experience, along with factors like language proficiency. This means that abbreviations (for example) such as Mgr, Mktg, Snr, might register as errors. Typos and grammatical errors might automatically send your resume into the rejected pile.

To avoid being auto-disqualified, write your resume in simple and clear language. Check that all the keywords match the job advertisement.

Need help with crafting that resume? Check out these Resume Templates.

3. The 100% match to the job description doesn’t exist.

A recruitment job description is like a dating profile: a wishlist to attract a wider range of options.  Or at the opposite end, it’s written so specifically that only one candidate – who they’ve pre-chosen – could fill it.

So don’t be discouraged by a minor requirement in line 25. If you have 75-80% of the qualifications, you have a shot. Make sure your CV matches the keywords for the qualifications you do have, and go for it.

4. We may already have someone picked out, maybe even an internal hire. We’re just interviewing you to fill our quota.

Ouch! Frankly, there’s nothing you can do about this. Like everywhere else, HR is a numbers game, with sometimes odd policies and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Don’t take it personally. Just be glad they called you at all. Use the opportunity to meet the company, impress them and get your name out there.

They might find another role for you, or refer you to friends in other companies. They might even change their mind and give you the job.

5. It’s not what you know, it’s who. Referrals count – a lot.

Here’s a universal rule about human beings: people trust people they know and like. You can have all the necessary qualifications, skills and experience. But given two similarly qualified candidates, an endorsement from someone known to the company will make the difference.

It’s not about nepotism; some companies even have a “no relatives” rule. It’s about efficiency: employee-referred hires have a high success rate. They fit in, and employees’ reputations (and referral bonuses) depend on their referee being a good hire.

So if you’re serious about a company, do everything in your power to get a sincere referral from someone who works there or knows someone. This is why it’s important to grow your professional circle in the long term. Get out there and network.

6. Ageism is illegal but real.

Notice how most startups and new businesses these days – the ones doing the hiring – are headed by professionals in their 20s and 30s? Despite the media spotlight and public statements of equal opportunity – and even with anti-age discrimination laws in force – sadly, age bias is real. If you’re in your mid-40s and above, there’s a real chance that your application might get sidelined.

How do you counter this? Even before you apply, check out the management team and corporate website. If the faces are all young, refer to point #5: put that seniority to work and get a referral from someone who works in the company or has a contact there.

At an interview, focus on demonstrating years of experience are a plus, bringing experience, contacts and other added value that are worth the higher health premiums.

Also read: 5 ways to deal with age discrimination during the job hunt

7. Appearances matter, and video call mistakes aren’t cute anymore.

Officially, the world is getting more inclusive and less shallow. But the unfortunate truth is that as individuals, we remember first impressions. Good-looking people will always have an advantage, even in jobs where the only thing seeing them is a security camera.

So dress the part. Be well-groomed. A neat, tidy appearance is standard business practice, and shows respect for yourself and your interviewer.

Test your video call setup, lighting, camera angle and background far ahead of time. Practice with Jobstreet’s video interview tool to record yourself and see where to improve. Remember that interviews are usually recorded, with those of shortlisted job seekers forwarded to the final decision makers.

8. Of course we’re checking your social media.

We’re looking for cultural fit not just with the company, but with your potential team – and for red flags like obvious discrepancies with your resume.

This is not the time to demand privacy. Your politics, love life, and online shopping are your business. But a pattern of abusive language, questionable posts, or embarrassing behavior is very much HR’s business. Many top companies require employees to sign codes of conduct that cover social media, and zero out of ten companies want to see their uniform star in the next negative viral video.

Most posts are harmless. But your new coworkers will check anyway, so be smart. Do you want their first impression of you to be a drunken party from three years ago?

Many aspects of a company’s recruitment process affect their hiring decisions. The more you know about how it works behind the scenes, the higher your chance to get a foot in the door.

Ready to find the job you want? LetsGetToWork !

First things first: update your JobStreet profile, then search for career opportunities here or download the JobStreet app on the App Store and Google Play

Finally, check out Career Advice for more tips to guide you in navigating your career. It also offers expert insights and advice to help you manage your mental health and well-being in the workplace.

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