I often talk about the “back door” approach to getting a job: networking, getting an “in” at a company, etc. I truly believe this is the best form of finding the right position for you. However, that doesn’t mean I think HR employees are an unnecessary roadblock. Too often I hear people naively say, “HR isn’t there to help you get a job, but to keep you from it!”
If that’s ever been you, then it might help to get a peek behind the curtain of what HR employees go through on any given job search.
I can speak on behalf of HR since that’s my education and corporate background. HR employees have been charged with finding the right talent that will meet the demands and opportunities of the organizations they serve. They’re here to support the company and its current and future employees – meaning you!
So the big question: how do HR reps screen job applicants? It’s unfortunately impossible to actually sit down with every single applicant and have a conversation about how they might add value to the organization. The first screening usually involves glancing over resumes or a questionnaire applicants fill out online. There are usually so many applicants that HR reps spend much of their day screening out applicants instead of screening them in! Most applicants are usually screened out simply because their first point of entry is through the “front door” of Human Resources – and getting through the front door can be harder than you think, for you and for them. The three key “front door” points HR reps look for are:
- Directly related experience
- Salary expectations
As you can imagine, these can start to run together very quickly! It’s not impossible to get through this initial screening process, but it’s very difficult unless you have a unique market niche or the market is in high demand for your skill set.
And that’s again why I recommend networking your way into a job. It’s not HR’s fault that the “front door” approach inherently makes it easier to lose great candidates in a sea of sameness.
Does this help you understand a little bit more about the process? If you have more questions, shoot them my way. You can also learn more about how HR works in my book, From Desperation To Deal.