With almost every client and potential client that I have met, there is one thing that they all have in common. They all describe a high level of frustration when trying to find a new role using On-line Job websites, yet they believe that using these On-line resources is the most effective method of identifying the next role.

So, let’s understand the reality of the situation. The majority of roles are not filled using On-line job websites and / or recruitment companies. The majority of roles are filled because the decision makers who are hiring are aware of potential candidates through their networks.

There are two key points to be aware of.

Firstly, the decision maker making the hiring decision is in many cases not HR. HR facilities the hiring process, but unless the role is in HR, the ultimate decision maker is the manager / director in the discipline where the vacancy is. 

Secondly, many advertised roles on On-line websites are duplicated across multiple websites, may have to be advertised legally (e.g. public service jobs), may be advertised as a fall back given that the preferred candidate is known but an advertisement is placed to “see if there are other candidates out there”.

Also, candidates are overwhelmed with communication that says On-line job websites are the most effective way to find their next role. But, remember, these sites are selling their wares also. And it’s easy. So many of us fool ourselves into thinking we are seriously job searching because we are applying for jobs On-line. And we all do this. So we are focusing on the most competitive and least effective way of finding your next role.

Does this mean one should not use these On-line resources? No. However, consider the following actions if using job websites –

1. Limit your time – you can quickly waste time On-line. So, set a weekly time limit. I’d suggest an hour twice a week. Of course, you’ll “feel” like you’re missing out, but in reality, doing this more frequently just ends up in seeing duplicates of roles you may have identified.

2. Bookmark roles that interest you – don’t get suckered into the detail of each role. You can do that at another time. Stay focused on searching.

3. Be wary of setting up job notifications – these are software driven notifications that are built on algorithms that are vey broad in scope, and will provide opportunities that are irrelevant, and may waste your time.

4. Don’t apply immediately – always call the potential employer and / or recruiter to find out as much as you can about the and the type of candidate that is being looked for. This will enable you to see if the role is appropriate for you, and whether your background matches whst they’re looking for. Don’t rely on the job description.

5. Use your network – check and see if you know someone or know someone who knows someone who may have a contact in the business that the role is being advertised in. Contact them, get information on the role and the person who’s hiring, not necessarily HR. 

6. Applying – complete ALL parts of the On-line application. 

7. Follow Up – always follow up with a telephone call, even if you get an email saying your application has been received. The email is only a software response in many cases. Calling gets you a contact name, if you don’t already have one, and allows you to understand the hiring timeline and process, so you can manage your expectations.

Most importantly, remember that the more effective way of finding the next career move is through networking. And effective networking is not about who you know but it’s about who knows about you.