The Mathematics of Job Searching

math_helps_job_searchingOne of the hardest parts of the job searching process is the emotional aspect:  the frustration, the rejection and the self doubt that comes with being rejected, and the utter hopelessness.  You send out a ton of resumes and even with all of  your experience and the great work that you have accomplished you never get contacted.

There is nothing wrong with you…….. except there is an enormous amount of talented applicants, but simply not enough jobs.  Instead of the average job opening receiving 20 applicants there are 200 applicants.

If you were recruiting for an open position in which you had planned to have an “open search” for 90 days and after just the first day you had received an email inbox full of resumes,  and also given that your plans  were to review only some of the resumes, what would you do? Your only goal is to find just five people that you want to call to come in for a possible interview.  Once you find these five people you plan to stop reviewing resumes (which is  2.5% of the applicants selected from a pile of 200 resumes, but more importantly it means 97.5 % of the applicants are rejected).  The bottom line is that the number of phone calls you would  need to make would still only be 5,  it would remain the same regardless of the number of resumes received.

As the number of resumes received increases, the percentage of applicants to be called for interviews only gets worse.  The duration of the job posting contributing to the total number of resumes received essentially will determine an applicant’s odds of  being reviewed.

And if HR or recruiters are using email then you are at the mercy of the positioning of your resume in the email inbox.  If  talent acquisition software is used that is based on certain keywords and parameters the system selects a subset of resumes of the first 10 applicants.  Again, this selection is not based solely on your skills and abilities to perform the job but more on the randomness of being selected and the criterion of the talent acquisition software.

Understanding the challenges posed by the mathematics of your job search can help you understand why it takes a long time to find employment or to even just get an interview.  As an applicant you shouldn’t be frustrated because you sent out some 500 resumes and no one responded; more times than not it is simply due to the mathematics of the situation.