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Setting records

We had some ambitious weekend plans – on Saturday we were going to spend most of the day at a kid birthday party our friends were hosting on the other side of London, and on Sunday I was going to leave Cal with the boys and go for a country walk with another friend. The weekend had occupied my mind a fair bit during the week – would it be stressful, what do we need to prepare ahead of time, the timings of naps, meals etc. I ‘set intentions’ about how I was going to feel about it (‘good’).

In the event, my younger son vomited at 7am on Saturday morning and continued to have a fever for most of the day, so none of those things happened. I wrote into my 5-year journal in the evening and apparently we have had the vomits on 22 July for three years running now. I’m setting a reminder for 21 July next year…

In between bouts of sickness

I saw an article in India’s Economic Times being linked to on the internet last week. The headline is:

‘3,000 resumes in the 48 hours’. Reason: Bad IT job market or permanent remote positions?

In short, the story is that a medium-sized tech company advertised some jobs on their website and received more than 3,000 applications in the first two days, rising to 12,500 in the first month. I saw a comment from a careers coach that emphasised the importance of a CV that stands out, but surely that’s an arranging-deckchairs-on-the-Titanic sort of pursuit. The company had 200 staff to start with, which probably means they had recruitment personnel in the single digits. With applications in the thousands, they’re not even opening them all. You could make your CV into giant GIF that flashes rainbow colours, and it wouldn’t make any difference.

If I was trying to fill those roles, maybe I’d try these ideas:

  • Try to get an idea of the overall quality of the applicants by taking a random sample. If they are all plausible applications, then you could assume that all of the applications are of a similar high quality and that going through each one, trying to distinguish the best, would be a mammoth and / or impossible job. Instead, you could take a random sample again and select the best out of that bunch.
  • If, however, there’s a lot of variation in the quality, perhaps as a first step you could try to separate the chaff from the wheat. Design a short quiz with multiple-choice questions (so you can automate the sorting) about skills and knowledge related to the role. You would lose some candidates simply because some of them couldn’t manage to follow the instructions and do it on time. Then you would get rid of more by discarding everyone that gave too many wrong answers to the quiz. Hopefully you would then have a smaller set of people left whose applications you could go through with a finer comb.
  • Give up on the idea of ‘pushing’ for candidates and ‘pull’ instead. Identify likely candidates at other companies you could try to poach – after all, they’ve already been hired somewhere once so the likelihood of them being reasonable candidates is higher. Or you could pick a university to target and invite a number that you can handle to send in applications.

I’m sure this is why I’m not a recruitment professional. From the candidate side, I don’t think there is much you could do to improve your chances of getting one of the roles at this company. Your best chance would be to take a standard CV you keep up-to-date anyway, shoot it in and hope for the best. Spending any effort on the application would almost certainly be a waste of time given how slim the chances are that yours will even get in front of a human.

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