The head of HRD of a company, who happened to be a client of mine, read the closing lines in my article printed in Jobnet’s last issue. He was pleasantly furious. "Anil, You are antagonising HRD people by calling HRD people GateKeepers to the companies. What do you think I am — Head- HRD or Head- GateKeeper?." I told him that I would call him Head- HRD in my next write-up.
Headhunters and Placement consultants are GateKeepers to the companies.
"Thanx Anil.’ He was relieved.
"Man, you are Head- HRD i.e., Head- Human Rejection Department in expanded form" I quipped..
Readers, you know your days are numbered at your current job, but flooding free jobsites with resumes has yielded zilch. It may be time to take your job search in a different direction and figure out how to get around the main obstacle in your way— the GateKeeper.
Who are the GATEKEEPERS?
What’s a GateKeeper?
It is anyone who stands between you and the person who might want to hire you. GateKeepers come in many forms, including receptionists, HR executives, and even placement consultants and Headhunters who are doubling up as resume screeners. Surprisingly, GateKeepers are hired or paid by the company to reject as many resumes as possible. They are also paid by the company to reject you in an interview. This interview issue will be discussed in the subsequent issues.
Resume & GateKeepers- the profile and connexion
Just try to put yourself in the shoes of a GateKeeper, in this case the HRD Manager.
Do you know what happens to your resume after you send it to an employer/ placement consultant/ headhunters? Some resumes produce immediate results—others disappear without a trace. Why?
Your company releases an ad in the newspaper for the position of a Brand Manager.
You receive around 10000 applications.
You are ga ga over his efficiency.
Now, nobody can interview all 100000 applicants. You check up with the profile given to you by the Hiring Department and tell your subordinate to shortlist resumes. You give him broad guidelines. Your Subordinate is a qualified professional in HRD with, say, 3 years experience in HRD. He successfully shortlists and flags 100 resumes out of 10000.
You work on the flagged 100 and finally shortlist 50 to be given to The marketing head for further shortlisting.
You & your subordinate have removed 9950 people from the live list. Maybe the real, capable person is one among those 9950 destined to die unceremoniously. This is bad for the right person and equally bad for the company.
But this is a cold reality
Neither you nor your subordinate or even your company’s headhunters are technically qualified to reject a person as you are an HRD man & not a Marketing man (the post is for Brand Manager). Even HR persons, nay GateKeepers admit that the job seekers who get interviews and offers of employment are not necessarily the best qualified. Often, they are simply the best prepared.
Anyone who has scanned, reviewed, and discarded tens of thousands of resumes knows that most resumes have serious defects; in fact many resumes have flaws that guarantee failure. Intelligent, highly qualified candidates often write mediocre resumes because they are unaware of the cold realities of resume writing—realities that can prevent even the most qualified candidate from getting hired.
Bypasing the GateKeepers-Smart work vs. Hard work
No one enjoys searching for employment. If you are like most job seekers, you spend a considerable amount of time and effort searching job ads, networking, and writing your resume and cover letter. These simple activities can take as much effort as a full-time job. If you would like to work smarter not harder, you must work smartly to develop your resume to appeal to the psyche of the GateKeepers.
GateKeepers are paid to reject majority of resumes
The target and job profile of GateKeepers is to eliminate majority of resume. Your resume must get you past an employer’s GateKeepers ( HRD & / headhunters ) and into an interview with the Hiring Functional Head. Needless to say, if your resume cannot pass the scrutiny of these GateKeepers, you will not get many / any interviews.
GateKeepers are paid to be conservative and suspicious
If GateKeepers have any questions or concerns about a resume, they rarely try to contact the applicant for clarification; they simply discard the resume and pull up the next one. Most employers receive resumes from applicants who are obviously qualified; they do not have time to contact applicants who may be qualified.
GateKeepers go for 10 second scan
Most GateKeepers scan and discard each resume in 10 to 15 seconds unless the resume provides them with a compelling reason to flag it for an in-depth review. GateKeepers do not enjoy reading resumes. In order to process hundreds of printed and electronic resumes a week, busy GateKeepers look for excuses to reject most resumes quickly. In order to survive a ten second scan, it must stand out and present a good snapshot of your skills
GateKeepers look for an excuse to remove flagged resume from consideration
After surviving 10 seconds scan, your flagged resume must survive a thorough examination by a gatekeeper looking for an excuse to remove it from consideration. It should provide enough rich and compelling detail to sell you to the reviewer and answer important questions that arise during the in-depth review. These competing imperatives are very difficult to fathom.
In a nutshell- Strong Candidate + Weak Resume = No Interview
In resume writing, mediocrity equals failure. Many discarded resumes belong to qualified candidates who are not aware that they are doing substantial damage to their career prospects by using resumes that do not adequately sell their experience, skills, and qualifications. Resume screening is ruthless, cold, impersonal and unforgiving.
If only 10000 people apply for a desirable position, your resume must tell the GateKeeper in no uncertain terms that you are better qualified than at least 9950 of the other applicants. If your resume cannot beat over 95% of the competition, you will not get interviews. Your resume is much more important than your actual qualifications at this stage.
Your resume must sell to two audiences. You must write and format your resume to appeal to two audiences: GateKeepers and Hiring Functional Head. These audiences often have different agendas. Corporate recruiters may be in no hurry to fill all open positions because open positions mean job security. GateKeepers guard their turf jealously, so you can be certain that the Hiring Functional Head will not see any resume that has not been blessed by the GateKeeping crew. You must present a resume that can satisfy GateKeepers as well as seasoned Hiring Functional Heads. If your resume makes it clear that you meet all job requirements, the GateKeeper will be compelled to forward it to the Hiring Functional Head.
There are ways and means of developing the resume keeping the pchychographic & other factors that govern the working pattern and beliefs of GateKeepers. All these factors will be discussed in the forthcoming issue.