Tackling the Resume Deluge: A Closer Look at Why 42% Miss the Mark

May 14, 2024

In today's competitive job market, an astonishing 42% of resumes received are from candidates who fall short of meeting job requirements. This overwhelming influx not only bogs down recruitment teams but also raises critical questions about the recruitment process itself.

Unpacking the "Why"

Several factors contribute to this mismatch:

  • Desperation or Optimism: Job seekers often adopt a 'shotgun' approach, applying for numerous positions in the hope that something sticks.
  • Vague Job Descriptions: Employers sometimes fail to articulate the exact skills and experience required, leading to confusion among applicants.
  • Automated Application Systems: The ease of online applications encourages applicants to apply for roles irrespective of their suitability.
  • Career Aspirations: Candidates may apply to roles they aspire to, rather than those they're currently qualified for.

Who Needs to Change?

Both employers and job seekers must adapt. Employers need clearer job descriptions and perhaps a re-evaluation of their 'must-have' requirements. Are they seeking a unicorn candidate that doesn’t exist? Job seekers, on the other hand, must be more selective and realistic about their applications.

The Impact on Recruitment Teams

The high volume of unfit resumes burdens recruitment teams, leading to:

  • Increased workload and processing time.
  • Potential overlooking of suitable candidates due to sheer volume.
  • Reduced efficiency in the hiring process.

Is it time for a shift in strategy? Direct Search vs. Job Ads

Here's where a strategic pivot can make all the difference. Directly searching for candidates, rather than relying solely on job ads, might be a game-changer. This proactive approach allows recruiters to:

  1. Target Specific Skill Sets: By headhunting, recruiters can focus on individuals who precisely match the job requirements.
  2. Save Time: Less time sifting through unsuitable resumes means more time engaging with qualified candidates.
  3. Increase ROI: The time investment in conversations and interviews is more likely to yield a successful hire.
  4. Access Passive Candidates: Those not actively job hunting, might in fact be the best fit.

Lets bust a myth before we leave

Before we wrap up, let's address a common objection: "Headhunting takes too much time." In reality, headhunting, when done right, is a time-efficient and highly effective strategy.

  1. Understand the Technology: Dive deep into the technology you're searching for candidates on.
  2. Look Beyond Keywords: Don't just focus on the usual keywords, as used by the hiring manager or old job descriptions. Think creatively about how candidates might describe themselves. Remember just because you used a job title, does not mean that translates to other businesses.
  3. Harness the Power of Boolean: Boolean search is a recruiter's best friend. Use it to craft smart, targeted searches that go beyond the bog standard filters. This is where the diamond candidates live. Note, if Boolean is not your game or feel that it takes too long to write an "exceptional" string then check out Tooled Up Raccoons. Their builder is quick and smart, + it does a ton of other cool stuff.

A Call for Smarter Recruitment

The startling statistic of 42% unsuitable resumes is a wake-up call for a smarter recruitment approach. By refining job descriptions, encouraging selective applications, and adopting proactive search strategies, companies can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their recruitment process. It's time to focus on quality over quantity, ensuring every candidate interaction brings you closer to the ideal hire.


Need help optimising your candidate discovery process to reduce the amount of time wasted? Click here to grab 15 minutes with Gabi (the Co-Founder of Tooled Up Raccoons). During the call you can discuss where you are now, where you want to be and she will be able to help guide you on the best strategic steps to take to achieve your candidate discovery goals.

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