A job seeker from Pasadena, California walked into our L.A. office recently and was looking for work. He had skills in construction, but we didn’t have any work for him that day. He didn’t come back.
Another man was seeking work in our Tampa office. He also had skills in construction work, but we didn’t have any openings at job sites that day, either. He came back the next day asking again. And the next. By the third day we had a job, and he was the first person we asked.
Job seekers across the country – and not just for positions with On Demand Staffing – get frustrated hearing “no”. We don’t begrudge people for getting frustrated. Being underemployed – or worse, unemployed – is intense stress.
The whole process is crappy for everyone. On the employer’s side there are hundreds or thousands of applications to sift through. Depending on the job and region, most of those applications have to be rejected because of drug or alcohol abuse. On the applicant’s side half the reasons for being rejected are completely outside of your control or they’re a byproduct of other crappy circumstances.
5 reasons you might get rejected from a lousy job outside of your control
Automated-screening. Companies that are hiring lament the sheer number of applications they get for a job opening. Many places turn to everyone’s least-favorite solution: an algorithm. The same kind of algorithms and bots that bring you the same blurry photo of your Aunt’s tuna-on-rye sandwich on Facebook are reading your application.
On Demand Staffing doesn’t do that because automated resume screening is the worst way to handle any applicant. While there are ways to fight against this elsewhere — like repeating many of the keywords of a job description in your resume — it’s often a futile exercise.
Too many listing locations. Some employers spread a wide net of job listings on job boards and career sites. That’s fine, but we notice many employers gravitate toward one site as their “primary source” because they like the way that site’s system is set up. If you applied in one of the “wrong sites”, you may be more likely to be ignored.
Fear of hiring. Many mid-size businesses struggle with when to hire and when to wait. Where budgets are tight, they may want to hire quickly if things pick up. So, job applications are sought and you take a day off some other job to apply for this other job. You think things are great but when it comes time for them to commit the decision is scrapped.
Over-hiring. If a company knows it needs ten people to sort items on a conveyor belt, for example, it also knows at least one or two people aren’t going to show up each day. Because the work has to get done companies over-hire. This means twelve people are hired for ten jobs in the expectation two people won’t get out of bed that morning. You and someone else get screwed when all ten people do show up. You’re told to “come back tomorrow”. We haven’t found a solution to this problem, either.
They already self-selected someone internally. This is more common in offices but can happen anywhere an employer wants to post a listing, but they’ve already selected someone for the role. Many companies have internal policies that require posting every job — even if it’s already filled.
9 reasons you might get rejected from are within your control
With On Demand Staffing no job applicant is ever outright dismissed because of their application. That’s unique for our line of work in most of our offices. But we can’t let just anyone in. People do get denied for work as jobs are filled. These reasons include some obvious ones:
- Past felonies or convictions
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Inability to follow instructions in the placement process
- Apparent anger or attitude problems that may pose a threat to others
In other words, don’t expect us to hire a fork lift driver that punched someone in the parking lot on their way to the front door.
For us it’s about the job and the job site. Just as a person with back or mobility issues probably isn’t well-suited to hanging drywall all day, neither is a person with a felony theft conviction working at a bank.
If you’re applying to a job with a typical application and resume process, there are some other reasons we routinely notice that might get an application rejected:
Resumes without a “human voice”. Some places prefer technical and brief resumes, but most places will find this shifty. Even if they prefer resumes that are to-the-point, if a human does read them it be if you’re hiding your real person behind the resume.
Resumes with obscure fonts or are difficult to read. This includes obvious things like typos and formatting errors. If you use Papyrus or Comic Sans you may consider applying to an elementary school or a yoga studio.
A lousy Facebook profile photo. Our staff rarely has time to do it, but many places will Google your name or search for you on Facebook. Even if your profiles are private, employers can glean a lot from your public profile photo. Don’t expect a job if your photo is of you guzzling something.
Obscure employment gaps. If there’s a good reason, any human looking at a resume can understand why you might have an employment gap. Military service, AmeriCorps, internships, and mission work are all excellent reasons. It’s okay to “take some time”, just be sure you’re doing something that helps you grow that you can document during that time. Beating a world record speed run in Super Mario Brothers doesn’t count (it is cool, though).
Cheap and fly-by-night staffing firms can develop reputations that get you ignored. Not every staffing firm is equal. If the staffing agency isn’t directly hiring people, consider handling your own applications.
You have to be persistent
On Demand Staffing sees this in action every day in many of our staffing offices. If you show up one day and there are no jobs, or you apply next week and don’t hear back, respectfully keep at it. If there are no jobs today, there might be tomorrow. The person who makes an effort and shows up is almost always memorable to us.
We don’t mind if someone shows up routinely at our door (that’s what we’re there for). But you can’t do that at every place. Be respectful and consider letters, calls, or emails to specific people within the organization from time to time instead of standing in the doorway.
If you can persist at getting yourself prepared and presentable, you will get ahead. Persistence is rewarded with every job seeking effort.