Recently a friend of mine wrote a fairly pointed column on a recruiting site regarding the term that is so overused these days "The War For Talent." His perspective was that it is actually a "war ON talent" meaning that there's so much talent out there but recruiters, HR managers and Hiring Managers are too arrogant/ blind/ stupid, etc...(fill in the blank with your derogatory adjective of choice) to see it. I, of course, posted my rebuttal saying that maybe it's that the candidate that feels they are oh-so qualified/talented/inspiring/etc..., um, how can i say this nicely - we don't agree and we're just not that into you?

Confidence is a wonderful thing - arrogance is not. Arrogance is a huge turnoff for an employer - especially for a company like mine who's motto is "No Assholes." A candidate might think they are the best choice on the planet, but just like the runner up to the Miss Teen USA pageant, there's only one crown and someone else was chosen to wear it.

The other beef in my friend's post was the lack of courtesy in the HR profession. I agree, to an extent. Unfortunately, there is just not enough time in the day to respond to every single applicant to every single job. At least not at my agency - I am an army of one - and although I would love to write a personal note to the leagues of LinkedIn requests I get, I simply cannot. So, that leaves the question - do you have a canned email reply that reaks of corporate bullshit? "Thank you for your application, we will be reviewing your resume and if you are deemed a fit, we'll be in touch with you shortly?" Seriously, does that make an applicant feel better? I know that when I have conducted my own job searches in the past, those things didn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling like "oh, they really do care about me!" No, because I am a realist. I understand that if I stand out, if my one-page outline of what I have done and can do floats the boat of whomever is reading it, then I will get a call back. Or, on the flip-side, I can go into a pile of resume wasteland and never even make it to the boat-floating stage. That's how it goes.

I have never made a secret of my disdain of job boards. I cannot stand them. I don't care how many sales reps tell me that theirs is different, that their job board is a "state-of-the-art candidate matching system." Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's still a job board and I don't like it.

If it were up to me, I would tell every single job seeker out there to never again apply to a listing on a job board. You heard me, never. Even if it is the company's own career site. Don't do it. I would tell them to network their little asses off - get connected on social media sites, create your own website showcasing your work, your personality, your X-factor. Get it listed on all the major search engines - set up tags that will get picked up by crawlers in the profession you seek. Get advanced training in the newest technologies - what you learned in college 10 years ago does not apply in today's business. Get yourself out there beyond your one-page greatest hits document formerly known as a resume. That's how you will set yourself apart to an employer, to differentiate yourself from the masses.

Unless a job seeker differentiates themselves, makes themselves more valuable than the next guy, there's no one else to blame. They can call us evil HR folk incompetent, biased, rude, unqualified, etc...all thet want, but until they fight the war for themselves, someone else is going to win.

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