I'm a strong advocate for creating more transparency and educating job seekers on the caveats that could be impacting their search.
One of the first foundational areas that come to mind, is to educate job seekers on how recruiters create talent searches on ATS (applicant tracking systems), job boards, and LinkedIn platforms.
I believe it is critical to understand how this dynamic works so that you are not spinning your wheels with job search activities that will not yield results.
Again, just a quick reminder that I am a former recruiter, and leveraged these platforms to conduct extensive talent searches for my clients, both internal and external. It is from this first-hand experience behind the scenes that I offer these insights.
When you post your resume to an online job board or company website or are waiting for LinkedIn to generate interview leads for you, you need to strategize your resume to meet the requirements of the
3 Different Audiences:
The Computer (aka "The ATS" Applicant Tracking System or LinkedIn Algorithms)
The Middle Man (HR Generalist, Recruiter, Sourcing Specialist)
The Key Decision-Maker (and additional Influencers in the Decision-Making Process)
In this blog post (#1 of a 3-part series), we will focus on the first gatekeeper: The Computer.
The ATS and LinkedIn algorithms are finicky by nature. To play this game, you have to understand how recruiters, HR managers, and talent sourcing specialists create a "Boolean String Search" on these systems to laser-focus their online search to quickly find candidates that meet specific requirements given to them by the Key Hiring Decision Maker.
So, what kinds of words and search patterns are used to create this "Boolean String Search?"
Below are the primary (first layer) search requirements I would work with on any given search:
Industries (Including sub-segments + adjacent industries if I needed to broaden my search)
Competitor Names (to streamline my search, I always keyed in competitor names)
Job Titles (e.g., "Vice President of Sales" or "Chief Operating Officer" or "Talent Management Specialist)
Specific Skills (e.g. for Sales, I would key in any of the following specific skill sets based on my client's needs: Direct Sales, Account Management, Regional Territory Management, Global Enterprise Sales, Fortune 500, SMB, Channel, Inside Sales, etc.)
What this means for you, the job seeker, is that if you are looking to "change lanes," e.g. make a significant shift in industry or job function, there is a very high probability you will not get "found" via this search process and not get the call for the interview.
This is unless if: (1) the recruiter has been forced to broaden the search, or (2) the Key Hiring Decision Maker is specifically targeting outside-industry candidates, which does not happen often.
Your competitors, who already have industry-specific/function-specific/competitor-specific experience listed on their resume and LinkedIn profile, will get pulled first into the search queue ahead of hundreds of other candidates. Those individuals will get the call first. It is only after they have exhausted this initial pool of candidates, that they start to open up and broaden the search.
This is why I stress to clients the importance of understanding "How the Market Works." If you are serious about changing lanes in your career, it's important to understand this happens on the front-end so that you are not spinning your wheels. For clients I work with that are making this type of a career transition, I stress the importance of learning how to network their way in to circumvent this very real bottleneck in the process.
This only scratches the surface, but I hope you find these insights useful as you begin your search.
Let's move on to the second gate-keeper with Blog #2: The Middle Man.