Scattergun applications are on the rise!

There are a lot of positives about the use of technology when job hunting. It’s so easy, you can apply for a job at the click of a button from the comfort of home. You can upload your CV and away you go!
However, if you’re one of the many who need to sign up for Jobseekers Allowance you may well be subject to ‘targets’. I’ve heard of Advisers requiring claimants to apply for up to 7 jobs a day in order to continue receiving the Allowance!
My worry is: Is it so easy to make applications so the targets simply encourage claimants in the interests of ‘hitting the target’ to take a scattergun approach in their applications? You don’t have to look far to see this discussed online. Some suggest simply making bulk applications to reach the target and collect your money. This is both demoralising and a waste of everyone’s time.
You could argue that if you apply for more jobs, then your chances of landing interviews is greater – ie. it’s a numbers game. But is it? Well, no, actually it isn’t because employers need applicants to meet their criteria. This makes a nonsense of target-setting under threat of losing essential allowances. It just makes it less likely that claimants will find a job quickly because of the distraction of needing to hit the target.
When I was younger one of the important lessons I learnt is that “you get what you deserve”. So what response does an applicant deserve who just sends out applications to jobs regardless of whether they meet the core requirements like skills, experience and qualifications? Lots of rejections. Followed by a feeling of despair and crisis of confidence.
Likewise what employers deserve when their job ads are non-specific and unclear is a load of unsuitable applicants. Yet even specific and clear advertisements seem to attract an avalanche of inappropriate applicants. The root cause may well be a combination of this target-setting mentality alongside the ease of making applications to hit the targets.
Once you had to print your CV off, prepare a covering letter, fork out for the envelope, paper and stamp, and trek to the post office to send out your application. Now it’s a matter of one click (or maybe two) to get the application off. Which is great, except that it encourages multiple applications to any old job and causes frustration and time wasted for employers. As well as the emotional impact of rejections or ‘no replies’ on candidates.
One consequence might be employers shying away from using job boards. Yes, they are a cheap and easy way to put your job out there, but discerning employers may prefer a more targeted approach to finding suitable candidates is better. That’s a pity because a really suitable applicant not on their list may well be out there. An opportunity lost for both candidates and employers.
What can we do about it?
Our consultants always emphasise the importance of first deciding and defining what you are looking for, then challenging yourself about the realism of getting it. If these things all stack up, the next step is to look for jobs that match up, and never to apply a ‘willy-nilly’ approach to job searching. However, many applicants are not encouraged to take a step back, stop and think before making applications, but are instead encouraged to get on and apply for as many jobs as possible.

It’s all wrong!

Sarah Chiumento

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