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To say that when applying for jobs some people should just make more effort?

286 replies

cocktailclub · 22/09/2022 05:52

I hear all the time that people have applied for 'hundreds' of jobs and not even had an interview. I hear this from graduates as well as more mature candidates.
I've been recruiting to my team over the last year and advertised about 7 or 8 roles. They BFF e been fairly popular and I have sifted around 120 cvs per role in the first two weeks.
My point is that only about 10% of applicants ensure their cv is tailored to the role.
I spend about 3 minutes looking at each applicant so need to be impressed quickly.
Most CVs start with a statement looking for a career in science' when the role is complaints manager for example.
By making a few changes to a CV so it highlights the skills for the role you want would be easy to do but very few even try.
So I'm not surprised people have no luck in their job search when they can't be bothered with the application.
AIBU to think this is the reason they are rejected?

OP posts:

Jellycatrabbit · 22/09/2022 08:38

I'm doing a civil service application at the moment. I have to write a 750 word statement of suitability for the role - but if they get lots of applications they'll only read the first 150 words!!

And don't get me started on the recruitment blind anonymous stuff . . .


CollieWobble22 · 22/09/2022 08:39

Windinthepillows · 22/09/2022 08:37

@CollieWobble22 could say the same for hiring people that ‘cba’ to write a form and check it!

Yes but what about those who are frequently dismissed because of their age.

Nothing to do with spelling mistakes or CBA-ness but their AGE.

It is demoralising being discriminated against. Which is what some PP and I are trying to discuss. 😊


MoltenLasagne · 22/09/2022 08:41

Oh come on, at my level role (technical management) I understand it's acceptable to expect proper research into what the job is about, the salary reflects it. When I used to recruit for call centre staff on minimum wage (and we were always desperate for staff btw) it was just a hurdle that the company wanted to make them think this job was incredible.

Yes it was a decent company but you could get the same pay in McDonalds so it was basically down to were people happier to get moaned at down the phone from customers than serve fast food. And we lost a LOT of staff to McDs and Tescos after they decided they'd rather do that than work call centre in the end.


Novum · 22/09/2022 08:41

BoredWithLife · 22/09/2022 08:25

@Hoppinggreen I agree, employers do not have the time to go to that sort of level for every applicant, my point is more why is that level of time investment expected from the applicant at this stage?

I'm not suggesting accepting poor CVs etc, clear errors and mistakes should get them rejected (very) quickly, but I think it unreasonable to expect a personalised CV at this stage if you are only going to read the CV for 3 minutes.

It would be fairer to assume they will put in twice the time as you - in the OPs case they would get 6 minutes. That 6 minutes should be enough to read the job description decide if it's appropriate to apply and to submit a pre-existing, non-personalised CV. That CV should be very good, time and care should have already been spent on it, it should be reusable for pretty much all of the roles you're applying for.

My issue is the expectation of personalisation when it's accepted it will be read for 3 minutes. It is not realistic to expect people applying for entry-level jobs to do that. In terms of applying for a promotion as mentioned in the OP, then yes, it's applying for a single job in a very specific environment and a level where the OP is likely already known - I'd expect a lot more time on it, equally I'd expect the hiring manager to spend more than 3 minutes considering OPs application for the promotion.

I don't think the work involved in reading 100 job applications is in any way comparable to the work involved in applying for a job. Self-evidently, when you're applying for a job, you're looking at something that will certainly radically affect your life for the next few months/years or even for ever; when you're sifting job applications, you're just doing one amongst a number of tasks you're assigned to do.

If you want the potential employer to spend longer looking at your application, then make the effort to tailor it to the job so you get short listed and interviewed. Quite a number of people will spend quite a bit of time looking at it in that event.


CollieWobble22 · 22/09/2022 08:42

Jellycatrabbit · 22/09/2022 08:38

I'm doing a civil service application at the moment. I have to write a 750 word statement of suitability for the role - but if they get lots of applications they'll only read the first 150 words!!

And don't get me started on the recruitment blind anonymous stuff . . .

Just make sure you apply for a mix of roles because mass civil service redundancies is a regular feature on the news at the moment. Good luck 😊 x


Miajk · 22/09/2022 08:43

Darbs76 · 22/09/2022 06:07

It’s super annoying. I sift and interview a lot. And so many people don’t bother to read up on the style of our recruitment (and there’s an abundance of info and videos online how to do it). I recently applied for a promotion and I spent so much time tailoring my statement to the job role each time. If people can’t be bothered to make the effort to stand out in the sift then they are straight in the no pile

This is so unreasonable.

Do you know how long it takes to read up on X company, tailor your CV, write a cover letter, then often the recruitment website asks you to just type out info in your CV again. Only for the company to never even bother with feedback.

Add time for interviewing, usually a few rounds.

Recruiters/HR need to stop being lazy. Your job is to learn how to read a CV to see transferable skills, use common sense. Why do you need it all spelled out like you can't just think.

Job seekers resort to this because it's depressing and companies are shot with their recruitment, never bother providing feedback, require a silly amount of time investment. It does become a numbers game at this point.

Recruiters need to do better in their jobs.


justasking111 · 22/09/2022 08:43

Our HR take the biscuit for job applications. Even an interior role it's daunting so many pages to tick box. My boss gets annoyed because they're filtered down to what Head office deem suitable and tick certain boxes. She thinks we miss some gems


Hoppinggreen · 22/09/2022 08:43

The position I am looking to fill in in Sales.
Its very obviously Sales, the advert says we need B2B SALES experience.
About 60% of the CVs are from people who Customer service experience instead. I understand about transferable skills but unless they make the case then they are a firm No in under 3 minutes.
I agree that some hiring processes are too lengthy and demanding for the role but some applicants can’t even get the basics right. The advert says must be UK based and quite a few aren’t


Quveas · 22/09/2022 08:44

I work in the public sector and our HR provide an instruction sheet on how to fill in the application. Literally an instruction sheet. It tells you what we are looking for in each answer, how we judge the answers, what to do and what not to do. It's written in easy, straightforward language. At the top of the application form / beginning of the online application there is advice to read the instruction sheet because it will help you to complete the best application that you possibly can. And yet still fully 50% of the applications we have clearly never read it because their applications tell us nothing. The online application process is actually probably the most frustrating because we have a portal that allows you to save all your details and answers, and reuse them in other applications to save you time. So I routinely get applications for other jobs because the person simply didn't bother to amend or change anything, and thinks that just pressing send is good enough.

Yes, applying for jobs is time consuming if you do it well. But if you can't be arsed to do it well then you really don't want the job, so don't bother to apply. Those who have applied for hundreds of jobs and still got nowhere really need to have a look at why that is - there is always a reason.

That said, I also don't want to see the "job centre is making me apply" applications (we can always tell which ones they are) which waste our time and theirs. And I also think that a more "careers guidance" approach with people is needed - for those that want to work but are struggling, that would be far more effective than sanctions. Back in "the old days" when I was younger, there were many more of these sorts of services to help people into work, rather than punishing them for not being in work.


CollieWobble22 · 22/09/2022 08:47

Also, not sure if some people know this but Indeed is riddled with fake job adverts. Decent candidates are now looking elsewhere for roles.

So if you have a job open on Indeed it could be that applicants aren't sure if it's legit or not.

There was a thread on Mumsnet recently from HR / Hiring Managers saying they've had to stop using Indeed and move onto LinkedIn.


CollieWobble22 · 22/09/2022 08:49

Yes but I also expect your holy instruction sheet isn't suited for those with learning disabilities, is it @Quveas

Our County Council admitted that their STAR application process wasn't inclusive and they've had to engage with a disability employment charity to help reach good candidates who have dyslexia.



sheepdogdelight · 22/09/2022 08:52

Your job is to learn how to read a CV to see transferable skills, use common sense. Why do you need it all spelled out like you can't just think.

Or maybe, as the person writing the CV, rather than writing something like "worked as cashier in bank" and expecting the employer to work out this means you are good at dealing with people, can manage difficult customers, proactively improved several bank processes, are good at working with a range of IT systems ...,- you could actually spell out the transferable skills for us? For all I know your job as a bank cashier just involves counting money.


Rapidtango · 22/09/2022 08:53

Quveas, of course unless there is a chance of feedback (good feedback), it's difficult to know what the reason is.

I've trolled through pages of on line CV examples, generic and specific, written so many covering letters that are absolutely specific to the roles I'm applying for, have changed my CV to highlight certain experience or employers.

I'm not sure what else to do, tbh. I went into our local Jobcentre to see if they could help, but because I don't get any benefits they couldn't - they had a quick look (maybe 90 seconds - seems to be about par for the course Grin ) at my CV, told me I shouldn't worry, I would get something easily with my experience (hollow laugh) and that was it.


Sprogonthetyne · 22/09/2022 08:56

I really wish I didn't agree, but I kind of do. I recently went back to work after a few years at home. I applied for 3 jobs, which met my skills and time commitments, spent a whole evening on each application, and got invited to an interview for each. Was offered and accepted a job after first interview (it happened to be my preferred option).

BUT, I wasn't in great financially need or claiming job seekers, so the applications were spaced out over about a month, with no pressure to apply jobs that weren't a good fit. If I'd had to prove to the job centre that I'd applied to 20+ jobs that week, or risk having my money stopped and not been able to feed the family, then I wouldn't have been able to spend hours on an application. I'd have spent at most half an hour, because otherwise there would be no possible way to apply for the required number of jobs, so probably wouldn't have had a chance of getting any.


EnidSpyton · 22/09/2022 08:57

I’m job hunting at the moment and only applying for jobs where I meet 100% of the person specification. I am very experienced, academically well qualified, etc. I also used to work in recruitment so I am excellent at writing tailored job applications and CVs.

Despite this I am not getting interviews. I am trying to move into a new but related field and my skills and knowledge are all entirely transferable. However it’s as if whoever is reading the job applications is refusing to put me through because I don’t have another institution from within that field on my CV. The narrow minded attitude of HR people is really frustrating. Either that or the position was always going to be filled internally and the advert was just them following procedure rather than actually advertising a job that was available.

So even when you do spend hours you don’t always get fairly treated. So now I feel like I might as well just create a generic application and send that in instead - I don’t have time to keep spending 3 hours on fiddly forms to just receive radio silence or rejections telling me that my experience wasn’t quite the right fit for the role despite me proving very eloquently and with plenty of evidence that it was!

I have also been on the other side though and what pisses me off is when people apply for jobs that they aren’t qualified for. I don’t mind a generic CV or covering letter but the number of people in my last role who applied for jobs without having the required qualifications we specified was ridiculous. All of them had to go straight in the bin. Not to mention the number of international applicants despite us stating clearly we couldn’t sponsor visas. I don’t understand that mentality at all - I can get having a go at applying for something you don’t 100% fit but applying for something you don’t have the required qualification to do? Surely they must know it’s a total waste of time!


thecatsthecats · 22/09/2022 09:01

Butterfly44 · 22/09/2022 07:59

I totally agree. I recruit a fair bit and some applications are so poor, they don't seem to read the job description or person spec as there's zero evidence in the application. Straight on no pile. I don't know if kids get taught about cvs and applying for jobs in school at all; it's an important life skill to know about.

But who teaches them?

I have stopped judging applications headed "Dear sirs", after a lady told me that she'd been told that was the only respectful way to address a letter.

Yes, recruitment is costly. And that is exactly why you don't want to put off good recruits with BS processes. Because good staff are generally allergic to bullshit.

I won't apply if I think the application process is bunk, because it tends to be reflective of the organisation culture. And I assure you that I'm a cracking member of staff :D


UneFoisAuChalet · 22/09/2022 09:02

Very true.
I recruit in languages and the amount of CVs I get from baristas or warehouse workers who don’t speak a word of Mandarin, Russian, Polish etc…is mind blowing.


Bubblebubblebah · 22/09/2022 09:04

Jellycatrabbit · 22/09/2022 08:38

I'm doing a civil service application at the moment. I have to write a 750 word statement of suitability for the role - but if they get lots of applications they'll only read the first 150 words!!

And don't get me started on the recruitment blind anonymous stuff . . .

As a woman of fertile age and an immigrant, I actually veryuch welcome blind recruitments😁


Noviembre · 22/09/2022 09:06

YANBU OP. We're always hiring but most of the applicants are... well. Fantasists and complete idiot's would be putting it politely. If we're not chucking out their CVs due to the garbled mangling of the English language, we're howling at the gems they think it's appropriate to put on there, like boasting about their gaming prowess as a sign of their skill and dedication, or their performing of basic household chores.

Even the ones we get in are monosyllabic with absolutely no interest in the role. No, they don't like computers much, no they don't know what cloud technology is, no they can't tell me about anything software related at all other than 'I heard it pays well.'

For a bright, normal applicant it's easy to get hired.


Hearthnhome · 22/09/2022 09:09

Windinthepillows · 22/09/2022 08:36

Well come on, getting the job application right is hardly the worst thing! I’ve been there myself, I was unemployed once for a year so it’s not like I’ve not been through it.

That’s the problem. What’s right?

Who said it was the worst thing?

The world of work is changing and plenty of people have realised that employers are not doing their employees a favour. It’s a mutually beneficial agreement. Expectations of both side should be realistic. Respect is a 2 way thing.


countrygirl99 · 22/09/2022 09:10

Even when you get to interview some have clearly not read the brief. A few years ago I worked for a University that also ran very technical short courses for a specific industry. We wanted to expand the short courses and were recruiting for someone to market those courses. We sent a brief to everyone selected for interview that gave details of the course, who it was aimed at and the geographical distribution of previous intended. It was a very technical course aimed at air accident investigators and attendees were worldwide. The interviewees were asked to explain how they would approach marketing the course, not even specific actions, just a general approach to see if they had an appreciation of the market. One person came up with "I would have people in the local town handing out leaflets".


Brefugee · 22/09/2022 09:10

if you work in recruiting you already know that benefit claimants have to apply for roles they aren't qualified for, to keep their quota up. Shit for you, much much shittier for them. It is a waste of their (arguably more precious than your) time.

I keep a loose eye on job ads. It would help if companies (not all companies) wouldn't advertise for that one person in a gazillion who fits EXACTLY the role they want to fill, rather than being a bit more general, doing their own homework while reading the applications, and recognising that they will have to train someone to be their perfect fit.


Noviembre · 22/09/2022 09:10

Hearthnhome · 22/09/2022 07:49

Wow phone on their hands! What an outrage!

Couldn’t possibly be that they had it in their hand when they arrived and are just extremely nervous given the situation.

Must mean they are unemployable 🙄

If you can't get off your phone for the duration of an interview, yes, you're unemployable.


kewinsurreylass · 22/09/2022 09:11

"I've just been through about 30 applications for a role in school, and the spelling and punctuation was awful in about half of them."
Most people leave school unable to spell or understand grammar or punctuation
When they come for interview many fall into ghetto talk or say "like" or "kinda " every 2 seconds
Just cannot employ anyone like that


Seymour5 · 22/09/2022 09:11

@Rapidtango I was redundant at 50 from a reasonably well paid job, with some management responsibility. Same company for a long time, but no high level qualifications. I knew I’d probably have to go back to basics, so I applied to the local council at a clerical level, and was successful. Five years later, I went for a different role at another LA and got it. They had very specific application forms, and applied a pretty strict sifting criteria. I didn’t find the public sector to be discriminatory age wise.

I finished full time work at 61, and found part time work. One job I had for a couple of years was in the Civil Service, again at clerical officer level, where I had to take a fairly basic numeracy and literacy test. Don’t give up!

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