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Why applying directly is so challenging

We’ve all been there before we found a company and more specifically a role that just seems perfect. On paper the company seems to be offering everything you’re looking for and you meet all the requirements (maybe not all as that’s usually impossible when it comes to job descriptions). You decide to throw your hat in the ring and fill out their application form which we all know can sometimes be a pain and which is part of the reason why applying directly is so challenging. Then you just get nothing back and there are no signs of life. 

In this article I want to give insight from my perspective of why applying directly is so challenging. I’ll give insight to what is often happening on the backend, where things go wrong and some advice on how you can improve your chances of making it through to the interview stage. 

What happens after you apply

You’ve finished the application process and now the waiting begins as  “it generally takes from one to two weeks to receive a response after applying”.  After all, your application along with an average of 250 other people all filter into an applicant tracking system to wait until both talent acquisition and someone from the team gets a chance to review it. The issue is often the pure volume of applicants to each position which are often among 10-15 roles that person is overseeing. Even the best people in talent acquisition are skimming through your application to find some key words or insight to make sure that you’d be a fit for the role. Volume of applicants is one of the reasons why applying directly is so challenging. 

This process, although necessary, leads to some issues as even a poorly formatted resume or a simple misunderstanding of experience can result in you not moving forward for a role. You’d be surprised how often I speak to candidates who were rejected from a role that they would actually be a great fit for. Their only issue could be not clearly labeling their skills or the way they break up their work experience makes it seem like they jump around. The reality is you aren’t expert resume builders and with all the advice out there on how to build it, it can be quite the challenge. 

No Feedback 

Now this process might be better if the person scanning your resume didn’t understand something they simply reached out to validate. This could take the simple form of providing detailed feedback to each candidate on why they weren’t selected for the next step. This would then allow you to plead your case and clear up any misunderstandings. However, as you likely already know getting any type of feedback from a direct application is pretty much impossible. As stated above the pure volume makes this task pretty difficult. At best you’re likely to get a were not interested in your profile at this time template email. 

Telling your career story in a resume is often very difficult and even harder for someone to grasp in around the 1 minute they spend reviewing it. It’s a challenge once again created by the sheer volume of applicants who mostly aren’t a fit for the position they are applying for. Not having a voice is another big reason why applying directly is so challenging. 

How can we solve this 

The easiest answer is to work with a recruitment partner when you can, here are tips to find a good one. The best ones have direct access to the talent acquisition team and most likely the manager as well. They can highlight why you are a fit for that specific role and push back on any misunderstandings that might occur. It isn’t always possible to use a recruitment partner as not all companies work with them and it might be hard to find one associated with the company you’re targeting. So it’s not always possible to fix it this way. 

The next solution would be working on your resume to make it easier to understand. I won’t go into this too much as we’ve already talked about it in “Tips for how to build a better profile”. There are also plenty of AI tools out there you can leverage. Even having a great profile doesn’t always do the trick as you might already know. 

Profile Snapshot 

With all that in mind we decided to create a new tool to better serve people looking for a new opportunity. We designed the Profile Snapshot to really break down a developer’s profile to be more consumable.  We scan resumes everyday so we know what we would want to see. What is your tech stack and how much experience do you have with it? We also think understanding your values and preferences goes a long way to creating more of a story when it comes to your profile. 

This quick snapshot gives you a slight edge in getting a talent acquisition specialist or manager to quickly understand what you bring to the table and encourage them to take a deeper dive on your profile which will increase your chances of getting to an interview. Check it out here 
We know why applying directly is so challenging and can be frustrating with the average person having 100 to 200 applications to get a new role and only 8.3% of those applications turn into an interview. We understand your pain and are working towards fixing this broken system. Hopefully our new tool can be 1 step towards making the process a little easier.