What does this mean in help wanted job posting?

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dm200
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What does this mean in help wanted job posting?

Post by dm200 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:18 pm

In reviewing the "help wanted" online listings for the Washington Post, I am looking at the requirements and description for a job that I seem qualified for and am interested in.

In the paper's online description, there is this statement:

Submitting a resume online at a job site could cause valuable screening information to be missed.

What does this mean?

diasurfer
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Post by diasurfer » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:30 pm

Here's a guess.

A job may be advertised on a company's website. It may also appear on a job website like Monster.com, although I think companies have to pay to list them there. Then there are sites that appear to be nothing more than mirrors of other sites, where some kind of web bot has copied the posting from the original site and listed it on their site.

When I have seen a job listed in multiple places, I prefer to apply directly on the company's website instead of a third party who would forward it to the company. Perhaps this is what the WP is warning is about. Just a guess.

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nisiprius
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Post by nisiprius » Sat May 01, 2010 7:56 am

I don't know, but since you haven't gotten an answer from anyone who does...

1) Googling on the exact phrase "Submitting a resume online at a job site could cause valuable screening information to be missed" yields 75 hits, from many different employers, so it's a Meme On The Rise.

2) To point out the obvious, the company is encouraging candidates to submit their resume directly to them. Common sense says that you should follow their directions.

3) A canny applicant might regard this as a good excuse to contact the HR department... and ask them, "What information do you like to see in a résumé and how do you like to have it presented?" I can't see any possible downside to this, it's to their advantage to have candidates know. And the chat might lead further information... "by the way, can you tell me the name of the hiring manager?"

4) Just the wildest of guesses. Perhaps they dislike job sites... maybe because they have to pay, maybe for other reasons... and they'd like to say "We don't accept them..." but they feel they can't actually say that, for whatever reason.

5) I agree that the statement, as phrased, is puzzling. I actually read it as intentionally puzzling, there's something that's not being said and trying to read between the lines is a fruitless exercise.

Perhaps they've found that the screening tools available to them from the job sites don't work very well, and that they only way they can reduce the volume to a manageable level is by setting screening criteria that screen out candidates they want. Perhaps they need to specify 10 years' experience in INTERCAL to get a manageable number of résumés, but experience in FALSE is such a big plus that they'd gladly accept 5 years' INTERCAL if there is substantial experience in FALSE.

But I think more likely it is an euphemism for "No Monsters need apply."
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Post by djw » Sat May 01, 2010 9:16 pm

Frequently when you apply for a job online, usually at your potential employer's web site, they want you to answer a series of questions and then offer you the option of also cutting and pasting your resume into a box on their form.

What the phrase the OP quoted probably means is that it's time consuming but very important that you answer all of the questions that the prospective employer asks, even if you also cut and paste your resume.

Some large, and even small, companies receive so many resumes that they use software to drastically slash the quantity of incoming applications to a manageable number. Some common minimal criteria are a four-year college degree, particular certifications or credentials, particular prior job titles, a certain number of years of experience, a history of working for the same employer for more than one or two years, etc.

What they're telling you is that your app will be screened in this manner and you'll be ruthlessly deleted from consideration if their software concludes that you don't meet their minimum requirements. If you DO meet their requirements, the only way you can be sure that the screening software will not delete you is by carefully answering all of the questions asked by their web site.

I suppose that expecting you to answer a bunch of questions also helps them determine how much work you're willing to do in order to apply. It only takes a few seconds to send your resume to dozens of possible employers, but employers want to believe that you've singled them out as the place you've always dreamed of working -- sort of like colleges want to believe that their college is the only one you want to attend. Maybe that's why Princeton wanted me to submit 5 essays with my application -- no thanks, I went to MIT instead.
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Post by ladders11 » Sat May 01, 2010 10:46 pm

Sometimes staffing companies will find out about available jobs and put the ads out there blind, in addition to the company's own listing. Once I applied to a company directly, and one of the staffing companies I had interviewed with also submitted my resume to them (she asked my permission, but didn't tell me the name of the company). So it got back to me that I inadvertently applied twice - difference being, the staffing company would have charged a premium and paid me less.

Also, staffing companies and some job websites will wind up reformatting your resume. I worked hard on my resume, especially on the formatting and keeping it to one page. I was not pleased to look across from me at an interview and see that the resume that RHI had sent this potential employer was reformatted badly (they tacked a big header on top and screwed the paragraphs up) and my computer skills were bounced to a second page. I learned that's why they won't take pdf's, and why I had been getting so many questions about computer skills. Ugh :?

Anyhow, as mentioned the company must have specific questions for you to answer. The job hunt sure is getting tougher to do.

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dm200
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Post by dm200 » Sun May 02, 2010 8:36 am

OK.

My confusion was about the term "job site". It seems to mean one of the online job search sites. It seems to be saying do not use one of those to apply for this job.

I thought (apparently incorrectly) that "job site" meant doing it from your own employer's internet connection.

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Post by djw » Sun May 02, 2010 2:09 pm

ladders11,
When I was young and foolish I once submitted a resume printed on green paper, which I thought looked pretty cool.

When I arrived for the interview, I saw that my prospective boss had received only a bad photocopy of my resume which was made much worse by the green paper of my original.

I learned right then that it's possible to be too cute and make yourself look bad. I also stopped putting lofty career goals on my resume and used my cover letter to flesh out particular job experiences and skills that I thought might be most relevant to a particular employer -- information which I left out of the resume itself in order to make it short and sweet and only one page long.

In summary:

Resume: just the bare facts, a list of credentials (degrees, certifications, software proficiencies) followed by employment dates, employer name and address, job title.

Cover letter: Flesh out details that don't fit on the resume but are relevant to the job you're applying for: Prepared a grant application which resulted in a $50,000 award for our X project; implemented a department-wide change in software from vendor Y to Z; or whatever else you can legitimately claim to have done (and will be confirmed, not laughed at, if your references are checked).

I had a letter from the CEO praising me for leading the Y2K team for 3 years to a successful conclusion and letters from clients praising the support I provided to them. That sort of stuff.
Love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe

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