How Employers Operate

Man and woman shaking handsOn the good days you will discover a host of decent employers who like what you have to offer and sincerely want to speak to you

But that won't always be the case, so be prepared to roll with the punches.

Prepare for potential setbacks but maintain a sense of optimism. The way you will feel when you get that new job will outweigh any setbacks that will inevitably occur along the way.

The Hiring Process 

Larger employers have a formal hiring structure and often involve several people in the process. In contrast, smaller employers may have one individual assigned to handling the hiring, and the process may be less formal. Other issues arise. Industry-specific practices found in medicine, education and government have unique hiring stages perhaps influenced by union contracts.

Not everyone in the structure has the authority to add new employees. Typically, a manager of the department where the person will work makes the final decision. When possible, find out who makes the final decision. However, treat everyone as though they are the hiring authority during your encounters with potential employers. Kindness and curiosity can go a long way toward impressing employers and their staffs during the interviewing processes.

You will hear a lot about human resources departments. They manage the process, sometimes taking a first swipe at a pile of resumes and reducing their numbers by removing unqualified or under-qualified applicants. HR may be assigned to appointing entry-level applicants to positions, but the majority of its work involves recruiting, screening and scheduling interviews. Don't underestimate its influence when you're dealing with an employer.

Hiring practices vary based on particular industries, employers and hiring managers. Generally, however, employers follow a few common hiring strategies and tools to select candidates. It comes down to three stages: recruitment, screening and selection.

Stage 1: Recruitment
Employers need an applicant pool to fill job openings. Employers who do extensive hiring may continuously recruit applicants even when they have no immediate need. The reason? To always have a deep pool of applicants. Employers who hire occasionally, or for very specialized positions, often recruit as needed. Others may be planning a future expansion and want to know if they could fill their labor needs. Actively recruiting does not always mean actual job openings.

Companies get the word out on jobs in a variety of ways, ranging from word of mouth, to advertising (on company websites, and in online and offline newspapers and trade publications), to hiring personnel staffing services to asking employees to refer qualified candidates to them.

Stage 2: Screening
Once employers have an applicant pool, they narrow it down to the best qualified candidates. This comes after dozens, or hundreds, of applicants have been screened out of the pool. During the initial screening, employers usually spend no more than a few seconds on each application.

Larger companies often use applicant tracking systems to efficiently screen large applicant pools. Applicant tracking systems are designed to select candidates who have the desired qualifications for the job. The resume section in Chapter 4 addresses the need to consider those tracking systems when putting together your resume.

Stage 3: Selection
Interviews are the key part of the hiring process. Companies use interviews to verify qualifications and to evaluate how you will fit into the organization. If you get a call for an interview, that means you passed one hurdle and are in the running for a position. It will be up to you to convince a company that you are the best qualified person for the job.

"Best qualified" can mean many things: skills, experience, education, motivation, a passion for excellence, and a dedication to continuous learning and quality. Companies want value for their money because every employee is a major expense in terms of salary and benefits. You have to convince an employer you are the best qualified.

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