Which type are you? I'm number 1...
It always amazes me to hear people complain when they can’t find an employee who will commit, who is good enough, a good writer, takes initiative or whatever else. And when I say it “amazes” me, what I really mean is it shits me. A lot.
I recently started writing for a new street magazine and met the editor for the first time last week. On asking him how many other writers for he had for the mag he sort of ummed and ahhhed and said that he’d had six writers for the last issue, but he wasn’t happy with any of them.
Apparently it’s hard to find good, committed writers, and he only has two writers that he really likes and wants to keep (yes, if you’re wondering, I am one of them *big grin*). This is strange, because I was under the impression that good writers are a dime a dozen, but apparently not. He gets people who email him once asking about submitting writing, then never following up, and the other type of person will email him about submissions, then ask him what they should write about rather than taking the initiative and putting forward suggestions.
Here I am thinking I’ve got a great job because I can write about whatever I want (as long as it’s relevant and interesting of course), which is exactly what I’ve wanted all along! And yet he finds it hard to find good writers! What the?
Then there was this post on Mia Freedman’s website last week about how she found it hard to find someone worth recruiting, and about how hard the recruitment process is. And increasingly I’m hearing, from various PR, writing and publishing people, about how many nuff nuffs there are out there who end up not being able to write well, don’t know their grammar and punctuation, or have outrageous demands.
This outrages me so much. Do you know why? Because I am one of those committed, hard working people dammit! I mean, I’m the type of person to fly to another state and help out, unpaid, just to prove my eagerness to learn about the industry and to meet my new editor! I go above and beyond for people, and am incredibly loyal (IF they deserve my loyalty). And I take a job not just as a job, but as a path to knowledge. In fact, I don’t do ANYTHING for the money, but because I love it. So, if you’ve received an application from me you should feel lucky.
But somehow, after over 50 job applications last year, I never received a single call. This tells me a couple of things. First, recruitment on the basis of a CV, especially in writing, editing and public relations is stupid. I know I must be doing something wrong in my CV because I’ve got a lot of experience and I’m good at what I do, but I’m clearly not putting that across. I know these industries are about communicating effectively, but a CV is just a piece of paper with dot points of what you’ve done. You have a set format, and there’s not much room for personality.
The three jobs (two writing, one PR) and one volunteer position (PR and editorial) I have at the moment were secured BEFORE they saw my CV. My CV was just an afterthought, a piece of paper which tells them my employment history, my experience, specialties and strengths. My CV was something they asked for AFTER I’d started working for them. But they were able to gauge, by my attitude and communication skills, that I am good at what I do and therefore worth keeping.
So, having had no luck whatsover with sending out job apps, yet having received three jobs on the basis of my personality confirms that the CV process just isn’t enough. And I put forward a proposal to change the recruitment process (in the communications/media/arts industries) to something like this:
1. Send a brief email explaining why they should consider you for an interview. This leaves room to inject personality while getting your point across in a succinct and effective manner. Much less time consuming for the recruiter, much better chances for the job-seeker: everyone’s a winner.
2. If your email was interesting enough then you are called in for an interview, where the recruiter gets a real feel for who you are and what you can do, as well as whether your personality will fit the workplace (because let’s face it, I know you can’t disciminate on personality, but it has a LOT to do with creating a good work atmosphere. What’s the point of having the best person for the job when they can’t get along with the rest of the team?).
3. Bring your CV to the interview. If the interview went well the recruiter can decide whether they want to spend the extra time learning about your employment history. If the interview doesn’t go well the recruiter doesn’t even have too look at it. If you haven’t been able to communicate the most relevant experiences you’ve had in the email and in the interview then you’re not good enough for the job, and the recruiter won’t be missing out on anything by not reading the CV.
So there you have it, the new recruitment process. I guarantee that if employee used this process they’d get far better results. It may be a little more time consuming than the current process, but if it saves you having to go through the process more than once then really it’s actually a time saver.
One of the jobs I applied for was with a very small media/publishing/publicity company that I won’t name. I read the website from start to finish and then pointed out in my cover letter all the spelling/grammar mistakes in the website and how, with me working for them they’d never have to worry about that. I didn’t get the job (I didn’t even get a call) but last time I checked their website they’d corrected all the mistakes I pointed out. Maybe it was a bit bold of me to do that, but I figured if they couldn’t deal with me pointing out how it needed improving then they wouldn’t appreciate what I had to offer them in the first place.
The other thing is that I’ve heard some awful stories from HR people about how sometimes they won’t look at a CV JUST because they don’t like the font or the layout!! If this is true then it serves all those people right for ending up with nuff nuffs. But is it true? What about you? Are you a potential recruiter? What do you think of the new process? Is it realistic? Have you ever judged someone on the layout of their CV? Have you ever hired someone you thought they’d be brilliant who ended up being nuff nuffs?