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Why do people apply for jobs when they don’t have any, or few of the skills required to do it?

I’m starting this blog in the hope that some answers come to me, as right now I have no idea! I have just got off the phone from a candidate who applied for a Planning Managers job and the advert states “experience in a planning department within a food manufacturing environment, preferably chilled”. This candidate works in a Bank. A bloody bank. And has never worked in any kind of food manufacturing business. So you’re probably wondering why I picked up the phone to them…..well it’s easier to make a 30 second call then it is to send a reply on LinkedIn, as LinkedIn doesn’t have an automated response. Or maybe I should have just ignored the application altogether. Who knows.

So I got to thinking, why do people apply for jobs that they don’t have any experience of? And why do they just ignore what skills are required? I take time to write adverts, I try to make them enticing and try to make the jobs come alive, and no matter how creative I am, a piece of paper can never do a job any justice, unless it’s a really dull job!

Sat at my hairdressers last week, I was telling her my frustration about this and she couldn’t get her head around. She went quiet, had a think and then said “that’s like saying to someone I’d like you to cut my hair and them saying “well I’m not qualified but I’ll give it a go. And while I’m at it, I’ll throw some colour on it as well and see what happens”. It makes no sense why people would do it”. Oh I loved her response. So why do I waste creativity writing a job advert if I’m getting all sorts of people applying?

Applying for jobs is too easy. I hear this time and time again. When I applied for a job after I graduated, I typed up a letter, I printed it off (on a slightly different coloured piece of paper to get noticed!), wrote the envelope, popped a stamp on and walked to the post box, praying for a phone call inviting me for an interview. Now everything is so much easier, applying for a job is a click of a button, maybe 2 if you need to attach your CV and not just your LinkedIn profile. And that is as easy as it gets.

Attention to detail. Do candidates just see a job title and think “oh yeah, I do that”. Classic example in Food is Category Manager. The number of times I’ve advertised a Category Manager for a Marketing role and Category Managers from a procurement background apply. Last summer when I was recruiting for a global food manufacturer, I’d put something on LinkedIn and the Head of Talent Acquisition had seen it and asked why I’d put Marketing next to the job title when it wasn’t a pure marketing role. I explained the reason why as I was still getting Procurement candidates sending their CV even then! And sorry, I’m not having a pop at Procurement Professionals, it’s just a good example to explain. And I completely understand that mistake but when it’s something that is worlds away, how can candidates get it so wrong? So when they list one of their greatest strengths as attention to detail on their CV, when applying for a job that has bob all to do with their experience, I might question that skill as well as reject from the job!

Jobboards. A great beef of mine is one job board in particular doesn’t have FMCG as a category in itself. And when I’ve called them to ask how I should categorise an NPD Manager in the Food Industry, they’ve suggested “Catering” and “Hospitality / Hotel”. For all those NPD Managers out there and for those that know this role, it is neither so surely FMCG deserves its own category? And the category of “Manufacturing / Surveying”? Seriously? Come on mass produced generic job boards, don’t blame coding as an issue for not changing categories, it’s just sheer laziness and I’d say slightly disrespectful.

Multitasking. I don’t know about you but very rarely do I sit down to watch TV without checking emails, replying to texts, reading the news on my iphone, doing some ironing, I very rarely do just one thing at a time. And maybe candidates are doing that when applying for jobs therefore there is a lack of concentration and people are applying for just about anything.

Either way, it’s worth sifting through all the dreadful CV’s to find that one ABSOLUTE GEM of a candidate that makes you want to do cartwheels across your office. And for that reason, I will continue to call up as many candidates as I possibly can, just on the off chance that their CV doesn’t do them justice, or if they’ve applied for the wrong type of job, they’re perfect for another job you’ve got on. But I do ask, please, when applying for jobs, at least just glance at the advert before hitting “apply”. Because while I’m sifting through many irrelevant CV’s, I’m not getting back to the gems as quickly as I’d like to.

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