I knew finding a job was hard work, but I had never imagined that it would be this hard.  I have always believed in creating my own source of income, working for myself, and running the business how I wanted it to be ran. Sure I worked part time at a few grocery stores for extra money, but for the most part, I have always created my own source of income.  Over this past year however, I decided that I would have to get a "real" job, because I no longer had enough money to continue building my business.

While creating my first successful business I managed to get some sourcing experience, and I decided that I really enjoyed my time sourcing people.  It was competitive, challenging, and very rewarding. I am a very competitive person naturally, and knew that I had the skills to become successful in the recruiting industry.  This is why I decided to begin my job seeking journey trying to find a recruiter position or something similar.  I knew this was a career I would really enjoy, and be able to excel at.  

This is where my job seeking journey begins.  My resume was ancient, I didn't have a LinkedIn profile, and I had no idea where I should start.  I hired a professional to create my resume, and worked tirelessly on getting my LinkedIn profile to the All-Star rank.  I spent hours upon hours on the computer writing each connection request very carefully so that I could be certain they would accept me.  After spending weeks on getting my LinkedIn profile perfect, I decided it was time to start the dreaded job search.

I quickly realized that sending out hundreds of applications to every recruiter job I could find, wasn't getting me anywhere.  I didn't get a single phone call or e-mail about any of those applications, so I decided to create a very well crafted cover letter that I would attach to every application and see if that would change anything.  Again, I didn't receive a single phone call or e-mail.  I thought to myself, what am I doing wrong?  I have a professional resume, an All-Star LinkedIn profile, and I created the best cover letters I could possibly think of.

Getting tired of sending applications and not hearing back from any of them, I decided to contact every recruiter/hiring manager I could find for the position I was applying for.  Many of them didn't respond with anything at all.  I knew that if I were a recruiter I would try to reply to everyone even if I wasn't interested in them.  I would tell them why they weren't a good fit for the position, and what they needed to work on.  I definitely wouldn't ignore them, as that is a great way to turn people away from your company forever.  I had one lady tell me that she was only hiring people that were local.  I politely explained to her that I could relocate myself very easily, and I could do so immediately.  She didn't even take the time to reply to my message, as she was to concerned with finding local candidates.  How do you expect to bring the best talent to your team if you are looking at approximately 1/300th of the population in the United States?

The next company I applied at was for a talent sourcing position.  They sent me an e-mail saying they would like to set up a phone interview with me.  I had been informed that I would be talking to the CEO of the company instead of a recruiter.  I thought this was very unusual, but decided to proceed with the process.  So I called him when the time came, and began our phone interview.  He asked me a few questions about my background, and some of the other normal interview questions you would hear.  Everything seemed to be going fine, until I started asking him questions.  The first question I asked him was "after the money you raised this month is used up, how do you plan on making money to keep the business going?".  His reply was a wordy way of saying "I don't know".  After this question I already knew I didn't want to work for him, but decided to ask him some additional questions just for fun.  My second question was "how many recruiters/sourcers do you currently have?"  His response was "none, we are starting from the ground up".  I could understand if this was a very new start-up, but this company was founded in 2011.  What makes this interview even worse is when I was concluding the phone call.  I told him that if I were hired I would first look into hiring somebody with lot's of experience in the HR/Recruiting industry, like a director of talent to help keep everything aligned.  He told me that it's ok, because he is looking for someone with more experience than me to completely design their recruiting process from the ground up.  Why would he post a job posting looking for a talent sourcer with 0-2 years of experience in the recruiting industry if he needs someone to build the entire process from the ground up?

A lot of recruiters replied to the messages I sent them saying I don't have enough experience in the recruiting industry, and I don't have a Bachelor's Degree. They didn't take the time to talk to me and see how much knowledge I had in the recruiting field, simply because I didn't have "enough experience" or a Bachelor's Degree.  Since when does a fancy piece of paper decide what you know, and what you don't know?  My friend knows computer programming 10 times better than I will ever know it, but I have a computer science degree, and he doesn't have a degree at all.  Many people can't afford to get a degree, but that doesn't mean they are under qualified for the position.  You could be missing out on some of the smartest people in the world, only because they don't have a degree, and you are to lazy to see what talents they actually possess.  I have been teaching myself how to source very extensively over the past year, but because I don't have many years of experience in the field I get overlooked.  I can assure you that I am more determined at being successful in this career than many others.  I enjoy recruiting, I am very competitive, and I am committed to being a successful recruiter.  I also have the natural ability to determine whether or not someone is worth having on our team, and I can do so very quickly.  These are all things that you cannot teach people, but yet they are of no importance to many recruiters when choosing the next person to add to their team.  Many of them ONLY look at the school degree and years of experience.  Good luck trying to find great people to add to your team if that is the only thing you are looking for.

This is very frustrating, because I know that I will be a very good recruiter, but I have no way of proving that without having a Bachelor's Degree or many years of experience.  I believe that learning things on your own is often times much better than having someone else teach you.  I have taught myself how to source great people using boolean searches, LinkedIn, pipe-lining, social media, Hack-A-Thons, X-Ray, and much more. I also have the ability to see things from the CEO's prospective having created 2 successful businesses, and this is another thing that many people cannot offer.  However, this means absolutely nothing if none of the recruiters take the time to learn what I am capable of before over looking me.

I will continue sending out applications, contacting recruiters, and hopefully I will come across a recruiter that will take the time to learn about my abilities.  Recruiting is something that I am incredibly passionate about, and even though I don't have the degree or the experience, I will find a way to break into this industry.  I won't give up my dreams of becoming the Director of Talent someday, and I will prove to all the lazy recruiters that you don't always need to have the highest degree or the most experience to be the best person for the job.

Views: 1462

Comment by Steve Levy on February 24, 2015 at 12:25pm

Johnny, find my cell and text me. I'll help you. ~Steve

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on February 25, 2015 at 6:26pm

Hey, Johnny, thanks for posting your detailed summary of what you've been experiencing.

Unfortunately, what you've shared is far too common. I've written gobs of articles on many basic and (mostly) no cost ways the industry could easily improve.  

Please do take Steve Levy up on his offer to help. #PRICELESS 

And, keep us posted on your progress. I wish you the best! 

KB @TalentTalks 

Comment by Johnny Andrews on February 25, 2015 at 6:30pm

Thank you so much Kelly!  I have just sent a message to Steve, and I definitely appreciate him taking the time to help me.  It is a shame the industry works the way it does, but I guess there isn't much we can do about it.  I always stay positive, and I know that eventually I will find a way to break into this industry.  

I don't ever give up, and the more I get turned down, the more I will continue searching for ways to get my foot in the door!

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on February 26, 2015 at 6:42pm

Johnny - Out of curiosity I looked up your LI profile and also reviewed the resume you have attached there.

QUESTION: given you are interested in entering the field of sourcing / recruiting, how objective are you being related to how your information is presented online and on paper (in comparison to your own personal view of your qualifications)?

The reason I ask is (realizing this is entirely unsolicited, yet well-intended feedback) your profile / resume contains plenty of content, but the sourcing / recruiting stuff is kind of buried and limited. And the rest, while interesting, doesn't necessarily portray that as your career focus or goal. 

If resumes are typically only skimmed / scanned for approximately 6 seconds to determine a potential match, it's extremely important for the key details to jump out immediately. You may indeed be very well-qualified for each position you apply for, but if the person reviewing your information doesn't recognize that RIGHT AWAY, you will continue to be rejected more often than not. 

If interested, I'd be glad to discuss directly. 

KB @TalentTalks 

Comment by Johnny Andrews on February 27, 2015 at 11:28am

I would love to discuss this with you.  I have sent you a connection request on LinkedIn, and will be looking forward to talking with you!


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