“Interested”- not interested. How not to look for a job, and how to.

‘Interested”. This is probably the most misused word on LinkedIn. For years, I have seen people looking for job opportunities desperately commenting “Interested” on either real job posts or posts by vanity vultures (will explain this later). During the last year, this problem seems to have been exacerbated further due to a steep increase in job seekers. Through this article, I aim to throw light on what not to do, and what to do, while searching for a job.

Before I begin, one caveat — if you are a new graduate or someone with less than 5 years of experience, skip this article. While what I propose here may apply to you, applying for jobs online is still an important part of the regiment, although typing “interested” on LinkedIn posts isn’t! Now, if you have more than 5 years of experience, I implore you to follow at least some advice from this article.

Interested? Not Interested!
First, stop typing “interested” on LinkedIn posts. Yes, that applies even if you know the poster. Many posts ask you to type “interested” in the comments so that they can “review your profile”. Let me spare you the suspense — no one is going to review your profile based on this comment. Such posters are what I call “vanity vultures”. They prey on innocent jobseekers to increase their profile status and engagement metrics. They are after vanity metrics such as “likes”, “comments”, “shares” and/or “followers”. While their profile metrics increase in priority for the LinkedIn algorithm, no one ever reads your profile based on how fast you are able to type 10 characters on your keyboard. It might, in fact, have the opposite effect and your profile may be perceived as unprofessional, lazy or, sometimes, even desperate.

Corporate career sites or corporate nuisance?
I suspect, if you are reading this article, you have suffered (like me) through many agonizing hours filling out long, useless and often repetitive forms on various corporate websites. Keep the below in mind when applying .
(a) Mid to senior level applicants seldom get selected from a random pool of job applicants who took time to apply. Employee referrals, or direct connections are more likely to fill these roles. Therefore, apply in conjunction with a referral to increase your chances of being considered.
(b) By randomly applying to jobs, you are beefing up vanity metrics for the HR and hiring managers at these companies. The more people that apply, the more their internal metrics go up, and the less attention each profile gets. Be selective. Apply to the roles that really fit your profile.
(c) Not only do you have to upload the resume, you will often be asked to separately fill out forms for the exact same details. A people’s revolution is necessary to end this abuse!

The bottomline is, you are wasting your time and such companies hardly care — if they did, they would give you a better user experience and applicant tracking, and would hold hiring managers accountable for finalizing decisions on all resumes in a timely manner.

And why do most job application forms seem like they were built in the early 2000’s. When a job posting links to Taleo, Workday etc, asking me to fill out a long form, I close the browser and get on with my life. These companies and their clients who use such services have no idea how to deal with the needs of the current workforce or their aspirations. When good candidates stop applying on these websites, they will be forced to introspect and improve their user experience. (Taleo, Workday teams — I am available to provide you free advice on driving user experience should you need it!).

Reach out to job posters
As a rule of thumb, for the last 19 years, I have always reached out to the job posters. Usually through a LinkedIn “in mail” and request time for a quick call. In about 10% of the cases, the job poster or recruiter or someone from their company had visited my profile. A profile visit is a good sign. I understand that the recruiters may be receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes for each role and it’s physically impossible to connect with everyone. However, if I don’t get a response, I don’t apply.

Network, network, network!
In my experience, I have succeeded only once applying to an online job posting. That company was Capgemini and it was very early in my career (shout out to my then recruiter Paul Fusco — you may not remember your interaction with me, but my experience working with you as a young candidate was the best). Every other role I landed since then, has been through personal networking or referrals. Networking is the one tool you need to use when you are looking for mid to senior level role. Networking might be uncomfortable for some people, but it’s a skill that can be improved with practice. When used effectively, it can give you connections which you can leverage on later on in life, even if not for the role you are currently looking for.

P.S: This article is not intended to suggest that this is the only way to go about finding a job. I am sure there are some out there who may have successfully landed a job through filling out online forms or maybe even by typing “interested”. Let me know in the comments below.

Good luck with your search!

Photo by <a href=”https://freeimages.com/photographer/ssva-78584">ssva</a> from <a href=”https://freeimages.com">FreeImages</a>

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