If you were watching the NFL Playoffs, you saw an ad with a group of people standing around a conference room while “the new Vice President’s name” was announced. The camera quickly shifted to a woman who looked very sad. She had obviously been passed over again for a promotion to a VP role. Wait! All of a sudden, her phone is vibrating, and she looks at the message. She has been selected for an interview for a VP role at another company. Ahh, the day is saved because Indeed has rescued her career!

If only it was that easy.

Almost every one of us has, at least, dabbled in looking for a job on a job board. A very small percentage of us have actually gotten an interview from applying on a job board, and still fewer have landed a job through one. To be sure, job boards, like LinkedIn (probably the biggest), Indeed, GlassDoor, Zip Recruiter, etc., are popular. But searching job boards is one of the least effective ways of finding a job. With so many online outlets helping you find a job, why are they so ineffective?

1) Applicant Tracking Software (ATS).

Most companies today use some form of ATS. Candidates are ranked according to filters put in place by the employer. The ATS uses algorithms to find “the strongest candidates.” I once had a client who was a very successful CEO. He had taken the company to great heights. His HR department used ATS software. When he decided to retire, all resumes submitted for his replacement went through an ATS screen. He blindly submitted his own resume. He received an automated letter saying he was not qualified. For any given job out there, an employer receives 400 or more resumes. It’s a fair bet that no more than 30 or 40 are ever seen by human eyes. That means 360 are not even looked at.

2) If your resume does survive the ATS screen, does the person reviewing it fully understand what the job really is and what your qualifications really are?

Let’s face it, screening resumes is a thankless job; and the folks doing it are generally further down on the corporate ladder. Do they fully understand what the entire job is about? They usually do not work on the functional side of the business and, in many cases, do not even work in the same location in which the job is located. It’s only natural that there is a divide between your skills and qualifications and someone else’s ability to judge whether you can do the job.

3) Often, by the time the job is posted online, a preferred candidate has already been found.

Put yourself in the place of a hiring manager looking to fill a trusted position within your company. Would you be more likely to interview and hire someone who comes highly recommended from someone you know and respect? Or would you be more inclined to hire someone you do not know beyond what was written on a piece of paper (resume)? When a hiring manger needs to hire, they turn to their network and, generally, before HR posts the position, they are conducting interviews.

4) Companies have been known to use the job boards to conduct salary research.

Prior to getting ready for an expansion, a company might post several different job openings for positions they may have some day, but not now. As they collect the mandatory salary information from applicants, they start to get an idea what compensation they will have to allocate in the budget for any given position.

5) The real person who does the hiring is the hiring manager.

In most cases, your resume never gets to that person. If you want to work in the HR department, send your resume to the HR department. However, if you want to work on the operational side of the business, send your resume to the person on that side of the business who can make the decisions. There will come a time during the process that you will need to interview with HR. It’s much easier if you do not make that the initial interview in the process.


Let’s face it, spend any time on the Internet searching for “What is wrong in today’s hiring process?” and you will get hundreds of millions of results. That’s a pretty good indication that the hiring process is broken. Talk to most HR folks and they will agree. There is a way to overcome it. There is a way to take control of your job search and career transition. It requires a change in your mindset. It requires you to take action and start doing things differently. It requires a different approach and a different strategy.

It often requires asking for help.

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