Have you ever received a feedback from a potential employer that you are over or under qualified or that they found somebody else who “fits the job better”?
How can you be too good for a job anyway and what does under qualified even mean?
Let’s look into what happened here. You most probably sent in your CV to an HR person or through the recruitment system at that company and were waiting for them to get back to you.
Behind the Doors of the HR Department
What’s happening behind the doors is as follows. Your CV is in many cases first reviewed by a screening software or an assistant searching for relevant keyword terms to match with what the internal job description says. This is the first point you can drop out, simply because you did not use a specific word in your CV or use a different way to describe your experience.
If you pass the initial screening, the HR person gets your CV. Now, she has another 100 CVs on her desk, so she needs to come up with ways to screen quickly and efficiently and also reject people in the same way to reduce the pile to 10-20 CVs to forward to the hiring manager.
What’s the easiest way to do that? The HR person is looking for anything she can find to reject you.
The job description says 5-10 years of experience and if you have 3 or 20 or 39, you clearly don’t match that description so there is a reason to reject you. You don’t have all of the 75 skills listed on the job description? Another reason to reject you.
At the Hiring Managers Desk
In the very few cases where you actually make it through that process and your CV gets to the hiring managers desk, it’s merely a lucky shot to get an interview because you have no idea what this hiring manager is really looking for.
The skills are clear but what does he interpret into your cover letter or CV? How does she read your accomplishments? Does it come over as too hesitant or too arrogant?
You may have better chances of winning in Roulette than getting a job in Switzerland through that process and I would even recommend playing Roulette as the more favorable option.
What can you do instead to increase your odds?
The Wrong Approach
You have been mislead by the public job market that you can actually stand a chance to succeed getting a great job in Switzerland this way.
You need to realize that if this approach is the only one you use, you will be on the market for a very long time. Let’s look at your options.
Oh, by the way, do you know who got that job you applied for above? Just when the hiring manager was about to look through the 20 CVs on his desk, he got an email from one of his employees with a CV attached that said:
“Hi Michael, I know you are currently recruiting for that new opening and just wanted to drop you a quick note that this guy I met at this industry convention last month could be a good fit for the team. He is a great guy and I think he could fit into our culture with his personality. Give him a call if you are interested in talking to him.”
A Right Approach
Remember the guy who got the job that you so desperately wanted? Let’s call him Diego. What if you could be Diego? Well, you could be him but not if you follow the conventional approach and simply apply for jobs and hope to get picked.
Let’s see what Diego did to get this great job in Switzerland. First, he was working very hard to do the needed research to find out everything about his profession and his industry in Switzerland.
He saw that this company mentioned above was growing fast the past years and there seems to be no end to that growth. Diego also found out that they just acquired a new venture that will most likely affect the department in that company with positive growth and this will likely transform into new jobs.
So he looked for ways to get to know people at that company to build his network strategically. He found out that the company is present at an industry convention in Switzerland that month and decided to go there to see if he can find some people to talk to.
At the event, Diego got to know two representatives from that company and plenty of others from competitors and similar organizations. He grabbed their business cards, followed up the next few days and sent along some articles that expressed his interest in this industry and a passion for what he is doing.
Diego particularly got along well with Jason from that company that may likely be expanding his target department. They emailed back and forth for about five weeks and Diego regularly mentioned how interesting the company is and why it’s so fascinating to him.
Six weeks after the industry convention, Diego got an email from Jason saying his boss is hiring for somebody just like him, so Diego sent his CV along to Jason who then forwarded it to his boss with the email message mentioned above.
Why You Need to Build Strong Relationships
This story happens in Switzerland every single day, multiple times. In about 80% of all cases when somebody is hired, something similar to this happens at different stages of the process.
You have to decide which one you want to be, the one struggling through the process of applying for jobs and getting rejected all the time or the one who puts his foot into the door first and then comes into the organization as a referral. It’s your choice.
Job seekers who are getting referred by an employee have the highest likelihood to succeed, even if they have less experience or not all nice-to-have skills for that job.
Your chances increase roughly 50-100x when you get referred by an employee, especially by a peer, boss or employee of the hiring manager.
Don’t let some HR person pick you, pick yourself. Otherwise, the journey will likely not have an end and you will fail.
If you have enjoyed reading this article, please share it with your network and encourage more people to think differently about their approach to job search.