In one of my recent workshops, I listened to a few frustrated job seekers complain that politics and nepotism were ruining their chances of getting hired anywhere. Words like "conspiracy" and "unfair" were thrown around as I tried to explain a Hiring Manager's perspective to no avail.
I came up with the following example to make my point:
When was the last time you bought something on Amazon?
What did you search for?
Before you went online, did you ask anyone to recommend one?
I asked my brother, but he couldn't remember which kind he got his son because it was so long ago.
If your son had borrowed his friend's bike and really liked it, would you have bought him that same style or would you have searched for a better one anyway?
I would have bought that one since he'd already had a chance to try it out.
So, back to Amazon; how did you conduct your search?
I typed in "boys bike".
How many items came up?
Were they all boys bikes?
No, there were girls' bikes and bike gear and tools listed, too.
How did you narrow your search?
I selected the "Toys and Games" department and sorted the list.
Did you use Relevance, Featured, Price, or Customer Reviews to sort?
Why did you choose that?
Because if I'm going to put my son on it, I want to make sure it's safe, it's going to last, and that kids like it.
Didn't the description on the page tell you all of that?
Yes, but that's written by the seller. I want to know what users are saying.
Did you read all of the descriptions and reviews for the thousands of bikes that were listed?
No, I stopped after about fifteen bikes because I found one that I liked and that had everything I needed.
So, let me get this straight...
You asked your network for recommendations and only considered looking online when they didn't have any.
You immediately excluded all options that didn't meet your standards.
You didn't bother to read the rest of the product descriptions once you found one that you felt would work.
How is that different from a Hiring Manager asking company employees to recommend candidates for their open positions? Why feel jaded when they hire a volunteer who's already been "tried out"? Why judge them for excluding applicants who don't meet the qualifications clearly listed on the job posting (bike gear and tools)? Why get upset when they don't read your résumé because they found someone who met their needs in the first batch of applications?
Hiring Managers are just shoppers like the rest of us. They're looking for a great deal on quality products, too. It's up to us, the products, to make sure we get recommended and escape the filters that exclude us from being seen.
If you have comments or feedback about any article, please email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.