Sitting idly by your phone? Constantly refreshing your inbox in hopes of a response to your job application? Weeks pass by and you still haven’t received word on how you faired in a recent interview. As a job seeker, it’s hard not to wonder if there’s any method to the madness behind the hiring process. While frustrations may begin to fester as days go by with no communication from an employer, rest assured, there is plenty going on behind the scenes. Just like watching a Broadway show, the visual production doesn’t always accurately depict all of the moving pieces behind the curtains, which ultimately create an entertaining show. The same goes for the hiring process. Below, we’ve shed some light on what happens inside the HR department once an application has been submitted.
Once You’ve Applied
While you may picture your resume being swallowed up by some kind of World Wide Web black hole, it does have a destination after you hit apply. Once submitted, your resume will appear in an employer’s applicant tracking system (ATS) – a.k.a. software used to process and manage a company’s recruitment needs. Many ATS’s have customizable technology, designed to scan resumes and weed out unqualified applicants based on a list of keywords the employer enters into the system. There are many companies that still personally review each resume that comes into their ATS. However, it’s important to note that on average, a recruiter spends a mere 6 seconds scanning a resume. That’s why it’s important to invest time towards crafting a professional resume that adequately highlights your key accomplishments. Once reviewed by a hiring manager or recruiter, they will determine whether or not you qualify to move on to the next stage of the hiring process.
For more tips on creating a winning resume, check out our post: The 7 Commandments of Crafting a Professional Resume
Once You’ve Completed the Phone Screening
Initial phone interviews have become widely used among recruiters as a preliminary method for creating a dialog with a candidate around their skills and wants in an ideal role. The phone screen is your first opportunity to introduce your personality and animate the otherwise lifeless text on your resume. If the recruiter or hiring manager cannot immediately schedule an in-person interview during the screening call, they will connect with the appropriate person following the call to discuss the appropriate next steps.
Once You’ve Completed a Face-to-Face Interview
Have you ever arrived at the airport with an electric current of excitement coursing through your body as you prepare to jet-set to the Caribbean? As you arrive at your gate, however, you resentfully discover that your flight has been delayed thanks to Mother Nature. Your irritation and anxiety intensify each time your flight is pushed back another hour, until you’re no longer certain when, or if, you’ll ever depart for paradise.
After your in-person interview, you’ll experience a similar mixture of emotions as you wait to hear word from the employer. The company isn’t purposely looking to torture you – there are plenty of reasons there may be a delay, including budget approvals and interviews scheduled with other viable candidates. Most likely, your interviewer(s) will need to consult with their team and the key decision makers involved in making the final call on who to hire. In addition, the employer will conduct a background check and connect with your professional references to verify your employment history and gain insight on why you’d make a great addition to the team.
Another way recruiters and hiring managers validate your qualifications is by perusing social media sites and using search engines like Google. According to a CareerBuilder study, 70% of employers are using social platforms to screen candidates before extending an offer. With this in mind, be sure to clean up your social profiles (yes, the keg stand profile picture must go) to ensure your forthcoming offer isn’t revoked.
Once You’ve Received an Official Offer
The employer has extended an official offer and you’re now swimming in an ocean of pure joy. The company will provide a written letter outlining all the particulars surrounding your position, salary, who you’ll be reporting to, and any benefits they may supply. Employers typically allow the candidate to take a day or two to review the offer and decide whether or not to accept the position.
Larger companies face even more intricacies when it comes to the hiring process as there are more individuals and steps involved in the decision making process. Regardless of an employer’s size, the hiring process takes time and can stem from a few days to several months. Always remember to be patient and never limit yourself in your job search. Broaden your options and consider more than just big, brand name companies that are highly competitive to get into. You never want to restrict your chances of securing a new role.
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