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For people without an inside track to a job, internet job boards, corporate websites, and job fairs are often their first resource.Unfortunately, despite the fact that they’re the most widespread and easy way to find job openings, recruiters apparently have a very low opinion of them.
From a piece by Nelson Schwartz in The New York Times:
“‘You’re submitting your résumé to a black hole,” said John Sullivan, a human resources consultant for large companies who teaches management at San Francisco State University. “You’re not going to find top performers at a job fair. Whether it’s fair or not, you need to have employees make referrals for you if you want to find a job.’
Among corporate recruiters, Mr. Sullivan said, random applicants from Internet job sites are sometimes referred to as “Homers,” after the lackadaisical, doughnut-eating Homer Simpson. The most desirable candidates, nicknamed “purple squirrels” because they are so elusive, usually come recommended”
Companies vastly prefer referrals and employee recommendations because they save a great deal time and money. According to the piece, at accounting firm Ersnt&Young, 45 per cent of non-entry placements come from employee recommendations, and they’re hoping to increase that to 50 per cent.
The New York Fed found that referred job seekers are twice as likely to get interviews.
Networking, connections, and who you know have always been a massive part of the job application process. The rise of the Internet was supposed to democratize that, to give people more access to jobs they previously wouldn’t have heard about. It turns out, in many ways, it’s done the opposite, leaving employers with so many choices that they stigmatised many job seekers without really taking their qualifications into account.
That means finding openings where you know people and keeping in close touch with friends in your industry are taking priority over the application itself.