Which bit of "Don't apply for this postion if you ain't got the experience!" do candidates not understand?

I am sure I am not alone in receiving countless completely inappropriate and seemingly randomly sent CVs when advertising for roles - it kinda comes with the territory - but it never fails to amaze me that even when a specific warning that irrelevant and inappropriate CVs will not get a response is included in the advertisement that so many candidates think it is worthwhile sending you their CV despite the fact they have no suitable experience and in fact, in many cases, simply could not perform many of the functions of the job as a result.  Even more amazing is how few candidates when asked to accompany their CVs with a short covering note explaining the relevance of their experience to the advertised role simply ignore this.

 Fortunately I mainly work using passive search techniques which means I am in control of how much of my time I spend chasing wild geese (!) but I wonder how much time these candidates waste sending their CVs, it seems, willy-nilly to anyone and everyone.  Do we blame ourselves as recruiters for operating now in an increasingly high-handed way and simply deleting CVs we don't care for - thus creating a 'mud against the wall’ desperation in job seekers?  I know personally I have always tried to respond to every application I get even if it is a brief 'sorry but you are not suitable' email - sometimes giving reasonable detail for the rejection of the CV to help candidates in future applications - but this becomes increasingly hard when, despite the warnings that irrelevant applications may not receive the courtesy of a reply, candidates who have spent their lives selling white goods (for example) still send you CVs in application for a CEO of a software start-up opportunity.

 I am not even going to start on how even candidates with some relevant experience fail to organise their CVs to show off this relevant experience.  Have candidates so lost the ability to focus their job searches through desperation in the current economic climate?  I do my best to help candidates improve their job hunting prospects but faced with this barrage of unintelligent mud-flinging what can one do?

Views: 1789

Comment by Bill Schultz on November 29, 2011 at 2:00pm

My response to candidates is relative to the time they put into applying to the post.

If the candidate just  clicked and sent their boilerplate cover and resume, I don't respond (unless they are relevant, of course)

If they put some effort into the submission, I will respond even if they are way off.

My other pet peeve is the ones who apply from way out of town without acknowledging the fact.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on November 29, 2011 at 3:12pm

My pet peeve du jour is candidated who apply to a post that has in caps. LOCAL AREA CANDIDATES ONLY PLEASE.

When i respond that the client does not want to hire from outside the area they come back and say they will pay their own relo. if the job is good enough.  I didn't say no relo expense covered.  I said Local area candidates only.


I have started responding, if i do at all, by saying, sorry it's not a good enough job for you to pay for your relo.

They haven't argued with that one yet.


I think a lot of this garbage is coming from our beloved gurus of the job hunting world who keep on spouting that it's a numbers game and the interns who think they are ready to be a marketing executive when they don't know enough yet not to abuse every site they can get their name on.


Sometimes i just copy and paste the requirements  and email them back.  Maybe they are just fulfilling unemployment requirements or daytime televison got boring..

Comment by Bill Schultz on November 29, 2011 at 4:30pm

@ sandra- ( hi Sandra)- I make it a habit not to put disqualifiers in my posts because they don't read them and it  frustrates me and I don't need further frustration.

So, I make it mostly sell and then I say " Appropriate candidates will receive prompt response and blah blah blah"


Comment by Dyll Davies on November 30, 2011 at 4:06am

Maybe that's a good point Bill.  And generally I abide by your more effort more repsonse rule too.

Comment by Christopher Lyon on November 30, 2011 at 8:33am

Quite honestly the main reason why I don't post a lot of job openings is because of all the junk resumes I get. 

Comment by Dyll Davies on November 30, 2011 at 8:47am

Agreed.  I don't always do it but have got some very good candidates this way.  I guess my post was less of a complaint more of a plea to try and understand why people send their resumés in such away when it must be unproductive - or possibly even counter productive?

Comment by Cora Mae Lengeman on November 30, 2011 at 9:07am

1- I am not very pleased with any candidate that randomly sends me a resume and cover letter addressed to another recruiter! Opps! You forgot to change the name of who you are sending your information to. And I should be impressed that you are "detail oriented"?

2- Or, they are dumb enough to group all the recruiters they are sending their resume to in one email.

3- As a candidate if you are sending your resume to the recruiters that are placing the people that work two to three levels below you; do you really think those recruiters are talking with anyone at any level above you? Yes, I know that there are recruiters that work vertically in a niche – I’m talking about recruiters in general.
4- And while we’re at it: if you work two or three levels down from the level I recruit at don’t think I can magically get you bumped up three levels and suddenly with 2 years out of college you’re the CFO of a billion dollar company – not going to happen!

I don't post ads so I don't get as many totally unqualified resumes sent my way. I always thought recruiters that posted ads did so to specifically add to their database or applicant tracking system. I even thought the ads were made up to attract resumes. Sorry for my misguided thoughts! I see now – since joining RBC - that many recruiters actually place ads for real positions all the time.

Since joining LinkedIn I receive unsolicitated resumes - even from chauffeurs - who obviously don't read my summary of the type of searches I conduct. I believe this is because of the recruiting firms that want to brag about the number of resumes in their database to potential clients; “we have over 30,000 great resumes”. Well, if you have over 30,000 great chauffeur resumes and they're looking for an IT person you're in trouble because they won't be in your system.
Oh no, someone might have to make a telephone call and actually do some recruiting!

Comment by Dyll Davies on November 30, 2011 at 9:38am

Cora I place ads for genuine roles (I have never done it for any other reason).  Most of my work, as I said, is in finding passive candiates (head-hunting) but I have found good quality candidates through posting ads on LinkedIn (I never use other forums or job boards.)

I guess I am interested as to why candidates - and not all of them junior interns I can assure you! - think a scatter gun approach will be successful and why as a correlative to this question do so few people take professional advice as to how to improve their chances of landing a job?  We know as recruiters what works but why when we offer this as an additional service do so few potential candidates seem interested?  Is it because everyone thinks that because they can write they can write a CV (most people can't) and that this is all you need to know?  Questions, questions I know but I am genuinely fascinated as to why we take advice from other professionals all the time to improve our lives but seem reluctant to do this when it comes to what must surely be one of the most important aspects of those lives - namely finding employment!

Comment by Melissa Zentgraf on November 30, 2011 at 10:55am

I have this as one of my pet peeves as well, but I can understand one good reason for doing it.  If the person who sent you the CV knows you are a recruiter, they might send you a resume that is in the ball park, but not necessarily the best fit because they are hoping you might have something else that will be.  As we speak, I'm working on an offer with someone who did that.  It wasn't what the ad was for, but it was a strong resume for an adjacent skill set and lo and behold, the next week a req came in that she was perfect for.  But I guess the caveat there was it was a STRONG resume and a calculated guess on her part.

Comment by Dyll Davies on November 30, 2011 at 11:19am

Indeed Melissa something I have done too.  I have no problem with candidates sending me a CV with a covering note saying - "not quite what you are looking for at present but I am interested in similar roles where you think my skills and experience will fit." or, you know what, maybe even using a bit of initiative and finding out my phone number and giving me a call to find out more about the role and if they could be a fit or if not place themsleves uppermost in mind for somethign that does fit  but that is not the same as firing your CV to everyone who simply places an ad . . . I guess it is the mindless nature of the activity which simply boggles my mind


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