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The human resources director of a local San Diego company placed an opening on one of the internet job sites. The ad was placed for a three-week period. After approximately two and a half weeks, with four days left for the ad to run, the company had received more than 3,800 résumés, with more arriving each day.

And this scenario is repeated thousands of times each and every day across the nation.

Even if you are a perfect fit for this position, you have little chance of being recognized. One of the easiest job search methods is to answer ads on the internet job sites. One can spend all day, every day, on these sites and feel that one is conducting a hard-hitting job search. But answering ads on the internet job sites is what everyone is doing.

Are there jobs there? Yes. Should you ignore these jobs? No. But you’d be foolish to rely solely upon this method to find a job.

Put yourself in the mind of the human resources department of that company. If you have received those 3,800 résumés, what do you do? What are your problems? You have so many résumés, that one of your major challenges is to reduce the number of résumés to a manageable number. Say a dozen or so. What do you do with the rest of the résumés? There are so many résumés, and with your limited staff, you cannot take the time to send each candidate who sent a résumé an acknowledgement. You would like to, but you cannot.

It may even happen that with that many résumés, your department is so overwhelmed that you simply put the job order on “hold.” In fact in the 2010 calendar year, that happened repeatedly. Companies would publish job orders on one of the job sites, perhaps even interview a few candidates, and then put the job order on “hold” using the slow economy as an excuse not to proceed.

Follow this scenario further. As the head of the human resources department, you are instructed to advertise for a newly created position in the marketing department:

e-marketing manager. You place the ad on one of the leading internet job sites. You receive several hundred résumés. You run these through your scanner, and end up with 1500 résumés that are qualified. Unmanageable.

You tighten your criteria, and run the résumés through your scanner one more time. This time, the number of résumés is reduced to 653. Still unmanageable.

You decide to place a full-time human resources clerk in a conference room with a job description, and instruct that person to review all 653 résumés. The clerk reviews the résumés, and ends up with three piles: A “Yes” pile, a “Maybe” pile, and a “No” pile. You immediately move all of those résumés that are in the “Maybe” pile into the “No” pile.

So far, you have spent three weeks advertising the position, and another three weeks trying to reduce the number of résumés received down to a manageable number. A month and a half. Wasted?

With 347 résumés in the “Yes” pile, you decide to personally review that pile. Utilizing very strict criteria, you are able to reduce the number of résumés to 23. You assign your human resources clerk to screen all 23. This phone pre-screening process takes almost ten days, although, you are able to reduce the number of candidates for face-to-face interviews down to fifteen (15).

It may take another week to schedule a face-to-face interview with the vice president of marketing, the Decision Maker when it comes to filling this position. However, the vice president of marketing informs you in no uncertain terms that there is absolutely “no way” he has enough time to interview 15 candidates.

You are instructed to conduct face-to-face screening interviews yourself, and to reduce the number of finalists to no more than seven.

You are half way through the face-to-face screening interviews, when the vice president of marketing stops you in the hall one morning, and tells you he has already hired someone for this position. An in-house referral from another employee. You are instructed to review the benefit options with the newly hired e-marketing manager and to inform the finalists that the position has been filled.

In other words, all of the time and money you spent placing that ad, phone screening, and face-to-face interviewing was a waste of time.

So, the next time you answer a job ad on an internet job site, remember this scenario. It is not uncommon.

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