Job Hunting

Author: Joe Simcoe

                One of the presenters at the PEO-SC conference was a talent acquisition advisor for Yellow Pages.  Joel Vautour spoke of the common tools which recruiters of larger companies use to hire new employees.  The nature of engineering is that the more successful employers are large companies which are well known and have many applicants for their job postings.  A new tool which recruiters are using is known as an applicant tracking system.  In industry, the CV (curriculum vitae) is Latin for the “course of one’s life” and will typically include a cover letter and resume.  This tracking system is able to scan many CV’s while locating and tracking keywords which apply to the specific job being applied for.

                Vautour went on to talk about specific keywords and why some CV’s get rejected.  Failure to comply with keywords, job profile, and missing pre-screening requirements are all possible reasons for rejection.  Useful “buzz words” are typically job or field specific.  For example, a computer engineering firm may be looking for engineers with specific coding abilities so a buzz word on this job application would likely be the names of specific coding languages.  Applicants have been known to stuff their resumes with potential buzz words to the point where they did not make proper sense.

                It may be wondered why these applicant systems are created at all since they seem to be so non-personal.  Often the companies which use these systems are high volume high return and simply do not have time to sift through hundreds of resumes individually.  In 2016, it was estimated that 72% of resumes weren’t actually being reviewed by employers.  This is because 90% of large scale companies are incorporating the applicant tracking system in their hiring.

                Crucially, in the making of an effective CV there must be some aspect of personality.  Vautour mentioned that applicants should always put their name on the file name of the application for familiarity in identification.  Also, applicants must consider the company’s values in the application and how those can be a fit to themselves.  With this in mind, applicants should consider their online brand.  Recruiters will often check Facebook accounts or do a simple Google search of applicant’s names.  This is a simple method for recruiters to look at applicants’ behaviour patterns.  LinkedIn accounts are becoming increasingly popular and will often be viewed in the final stages of deciding the proper candidate.

                Some tips given by Vautour based on CV’s included:

  • Keeping it brief and to the point

  • Always putting technical skills at the top of the page to prove that you are qualified immediately

  • Eliminating all spelling & grammatical errors

  • Including LinkedIn page link

  • 1-2 pages overall is ideal

                One new shift in today’s job market is that of employer branding.  Traditionally, companies would choose from the most talented of their possible candidates.  Today it can be seen that more and more companies are looking for talent and offering enticing perks.  For example, some of the perks of working at Google are free gourmet cafeterias, massage rooms, nap pods, and onsite doctors.  Google is trying to keep their employees happy and also lure the top talent in industry to come work for them.

                Upon receiving an interview there are many aspects to consider.  It is often important to get the dress code right, so always be sure to ask before.  Arrive early so that there is no chance of not finding the proper room or building.  Once the interview is proceeding, avoid fidgeting and keep hands visible if possible.  Often those interviewing will ask at the end of the interview if the applicant has any questions for them.  One question as suggested by Vautour is, “Why do you like working here?”  This question somewhat takes the attention off of the applicant and shows that they care about the job. Upon leaving the interview a proper, firm handshake is always great as it is the last impression the interviewer will receive.  Lastly, same day emails as a method of following up is a very effective method of portraying a personable demeanor and credit as someone who is eager for the job. Good luck, and get applying!