The Reality of Job Applicant Behaviour

The Reality of Job Applicant Behaviour

When it comes to the reality of job applicant behaviour recruiters see what candidates and clients don’t. And it can sound strange or even fabricated if you don’t experience it first hand.

For example, the amount of people who apply for jobs they have no interest in is puzzling but common. Then there is the amount of people applying for jobs which common sense says they have zero chance of being considered for is bizarre. And not to mention those who apply for roles simply because they are told to by a job coach to do so is unproductive.

But understanding applicant behaviour and making sense of it all gives you an advantage.

The Three types of applicant

The Desperado

This is the job applicant who is trying to get a job but is using the scatter gun approach in the theory that volume will breed success. In the nicest way this behaviour is often, but not always, the approach used by those who declare they’ve applied for 400 jobs in 3 months and had no success. Logically speaking there won’t be 400 jobs in a commutable distance of their location that they’d be realistically in contention for anyway. They’d have had to apply to 375 jobs that are irrelevant, or at best 350 to get such an enormous number.

The Chancer

This is the person who isn’t really looking seriously but is always keeping their eye out for something new. They’ll often, but not always, have a CV with an alarming regularity of job changes. But if asked they’ll have some excuse for the volume of jobs they’ve had. Some people who fit the chancer category have a high demand skillset and so reluctantly you can understand why the regular changes exist because they can dictate their place because of their skillset. However the majority of the time they’re even not that good performance wise and keep getting found out so walk before pushed or they’re just not someone who values loyalty, commitment or the needs of an employer.

The Serious Job Seeker

This is the person you want. The person who knows what they want and is specifically applying for career opportunities that fit what they actually want. When asked what they’re looking for they won’t hesitate to what they want and why they’re interested.

How the Three types can develop and how to interpret them

The problem with stereotyping all three categories is that often it’s not as obvious as it looks. The Desperado may have become desperate because they’re family is nearing financial ruin and they need something. Often a Desperado could become a Serious Job Seeker once they’ve secured a stop gap job and then with that security can concentrate on finding a serious job. For example how many people were made redundant from high flying office jobs and took a job in a supermarket during the pandemic’s first lockdown?

The Chancer may have become that way as companies have screwed them over when they were younger and actually when they find a company that treats them well they can change. Admittedly that tends to be rare once the habit of job hopping is engrained, but it can and does happen.

The Serious Job Seeker can also be sold the dream and not the reality. The amount of companies who take the serious job seeker by selling them the dream and then wonder why that person leaves soon after is baffling. Trying to con good people into a role by fabricating the reality achieves the loss of a good person. No job is perfect and if it isn’t then just be honest about the pro’s and cons. If a serious job seeker then starts, you’ll have every chance of retaining them for years. This is the reality you want from job applicants.

Typical recruiters

I’ll admit, I find it frustrating how many people proclaim they are a recruiter and are frankly useless at the job. The issue for me is that the recruitment industry does not require any qualifications to work in it. And whilst there are organisations that offer recruitment qualifications, in my own experience, I’m yet to see any correlation between qualifications and results in this industry. I once employed someone qualified up the ying yang with recognised industry qualifications and they were as much use a chocolate teapot.

The reason being is that academic prowess and recruitment which is a common sense, sales, problem solving, communication, emotion testing, up and down rollercoaster of a job don’t go hand in hand. There is a knack to it that you either have or you don’t and most people don’t. No offence but they just don’t.

Why you need a good recruiter

If you dismiss recruitment as money for old rope good on you. But if you struggle with finding people or need support so reluctantly use recruiters and then bemoan how useless they are then here’s some advice.

Firstly is it the recruiter who is actually at fault? Or are you just not listening and are about as committed as a serial bigamist? If the latter is regrettably true then you could use the best recruiter in the world and get absolutely nowhere.

What you should do is get a proper specialist who hires in the industry you need, speak to them on the phone and give them their 5 minutes when they call you to discuss applicants. If you do that you’ll probably get results and make your life easier.

If you need a recruiter in Engineering, IT or Science then get in touch with me as I can help.

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