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Post and pray falls short for both recruiters and job seekers

As a recruiter, you’re familiar with the post and pray method: You post a job and then pray the right candidate applies. This method might occasionally yield good results. However, given shrinking candidate markets and increasingly technical application processes, companies relying solely on the post and pray method are missing opportunities to connect with the right people.

Likewise, this method is ineffective for job seekers. For example, both my mother and sister are elementary school teachers. They have applied to dozens of jobs over the years. Not once has a job opportunity for either individual come to fruition based solely on a post and pray.

Perhaps this is because my mother and sister have much to offer outside of what can be showcased through a standardized Applicant Tracking System (ATS). In an online application, my sister rarely finds a place to mention that she was featured by The New Yorker for spearheading a puppetry teaching method. And tucked into her equally rich portfolio, my mother has created a number of highly effective English as a Second Language programs -- an accomplishment that is difficult to showcase in a traditional ATS.

So content limitations are one downfall of an ATS. A second is that with an ATS, the application process is anonymous. Candidates repeatedly submit resumes into a black hole. If they’re lucky, they will receive an automated response. Often, hiring managers do not even see the resume. Chances are, if you are a strong match for the job and don’t get a call, your resume was never seen.

For candidates, the best remedy is to pick up the phone. If you are truly qualified for the role, always follow up with a phone call, unless the posting states otherwise. Invest time in finding the right person to contact. Following up is the only way to ensure that your resume is considered.

Many recruiters mistakenly believe that allowing candidates to call will result in a flood of unqualified applicants clogging up their phone line. In every posting I publish, I always note that phone calls are acceptable. I’m lucky to get one a call a week for each position.

When I do receive a call, it forces me to stop what I’m doing, look at the person’s qualifications, and hear the voice beyond the resume. At that moment, I can let the candidate know if he or she is a fit for the position and why or why not. If the candidate is qualified, the application goes to the top of the pile.

One method of recruiting will not work every time. Recruiters and candidates must be creative and work to proactively make the proper connections. Technology has enhanced the recruiting process in many ways, but it should not be used as a replacement for all other methods.

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