Within the competitive landscape of the job market, the quest for talent is more crucial than ever. However, there is a persistent issue of the prevalence of overlooked job seekers who never make it to the interview stage. The root of this problem lies in gatekeepers - both the people, (Human Resources/Recruiters) and the ATS systems - tasked with the initial screening of resumes and applications—who or that may not fully grasp the nuanced requirements of the job, leading to missed opportunities for both employers and candidates. Some of the things that keep candidates out of the consideration pool point to a need for the hiring industry to rethink their strategies.
Rigid Interpretation of Job Requirements
Gatekeepers, often HR professionals or recruiters, play a pivotal role in the recruitment process. However, a common pitfall is the strict adherence to job requirements outlined in a job description. When gatekeepers lack an in-depth understanding of the nuances associated with the role, they may inadvertently exclude qualified candidates whose skills and experiences go beyond the standard checklist.
Overemphasis on Credentials vs. Potential
Traditional hiring practices tend to prioritize specific credentials or a checklist of qualifications. This approach can be limiting, as it may overlook candidates who possess a wealth of experience, transferable skills, or a unique perspective that could contribute significantly to the role. Gatekeepers should be encouraged to recognize and appreciate the potential for growth and adaptability in candidates.
Inadequate Training for Gatekeepers
Gatekeepers are often provided with general guidelines for screening candidates, but the lack of specialized training can result in misinterpretation of the job requirements. Offering comprehensive training and Hiring Manager communication that delves into the intricacies of each position, including the soft skills and industry-specific knowledge required, can empower gatekeepers to make more informed decisions.
Technology Bias and Automated Filters
The rise of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and automated filters has streamlined the hiring process but can inadvertently perpetuate biases. Gatekeepers must be vigilant in understanding the limitations of these systems and ensure that qualified candidates with non-traditional career paths or unique experiences are not unfairly dismissed by automated filters. For example: title and skillset descriptors differences from one company to another may cause a viable candidate to be discarded from the consideration pool. This happens more often than you think.
Diverse Perspectives in the Hiring Process
Many companies do not have a diverse hiring panel, contributing to the issue of overlooking candidates. Having a team with varied backgrounds and experiences could mitigate this issue and may assist in recognizing the potential in a broader range of candidates. This would ensure ensuring that the hiring process is not limited by a singular perspective, no?
Emphasizing Soft Skills and Cultural Fit
The nuances of a job often extend beyond technical skills. Many gatekeepers are not attuned to the importance of soft skills and cultural fit within an organization. An applicant who may not tick every box on the technical requirements but possesses exceptional communication skills or a strong cultural alignment often are disregarded as unviable. Soft skills are slowly becoming the more valuable skillset because many are innate, whereas hard skills will always need to be taught and change across industry.
The Net Net
Addressing the issue of viable candidacy is a pandemic of its own, so it will require a paradigm shift in how gatekeepers approach the hiring process. In the meantime, it is imperative that job seekers shift their efforts to include not only resume customization to compliment the job description to attract the ATS systems, but also incorporate new, networking, connection and collaboration efforts within their arsenal of tools to directly attract Hiring Managers. These individuals have a tighter grasp on who is hiring for what, identifying soft skills in addition to the more technical skills required and overall open-mindedness regarding how much of the job spec is really needed.
Tip to Gatekeepers: As the hiring shift continues to evolve and companies experience candidate dire straits, it would be prudent for gatekeepers to consider evolving their hiring processes by gaining a greater perspective and understanding of what their Hiring Authorities and company needs are skillset wise within their new hires. This needs to be a two-sided endeavor. Cheers!
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