Finding The Better Candidate

“…the team has decided to move forward with other candidates.”

Anyone who has looked for a job in the 21st century has seen this or something like it while powering through their online job search. And with recruiters banging on more doors than the Amazon delivery guy, all of these teachers leaving their “calling” for a job in the private sector are in for a surprise.

The Wall Street Journal published an article about teachers leaving the profession for another career and arguably better paying one at that. This got me thinking about my own experience pre, ongoing and post pandemic. Over several years and jobs I’ve been rejected…a lot. Like more than any college graduate or single male arguably should be.

The reasons vary but at the end of the day it’s probably no different than what some of these teachers will experience. On the one hand people are telling you ‘go for it! What do you have to lose?’ Pride for one but let’s leave that for another day. Another is the sheer continual gut punches of being rejected for positions you are qualified for.

Teachers, among others, have a tough road ahead no matter what the headlines tell you. Despite there being more jobs than people able to fill them according to every figure out there, the truth is hiring practices have not changed a lot. People actually are not hiring at the rates that we’d think or our expectations about how easy it is are wrong…take that in, take a drink of whatever and prove me wrong.

COVID, school boards, and life in general may have changed but the recruiting (aka hiring) tactics of 2019 are alive and well. Emails hit your inbox with titles like “Immediate Application”, “12 Month Contract”, “Looking for a new opportunity? We’ve got what you need!” and “EXTREMELY Fast Moving…” And then after maybe one email and a very quick 15 minute chat that you probably prepared a day or for, the recruiter just ghosts you. Much like the Ex Presidents in the original Point Break. Just gone along with your hopes and dreams.

If your lucky might get something back from a recruiter or the company you applied to with legendary phrases like, “Thanks For Your Interest…“, “…we have decided to pursue other candidates” or my personal favorite “we have identified other candidates who are better aligned to the job requirements“.

Better aligned? 5 minutes ago you wanted to go faster than a drunkin frat boy at dollar beer night in SEC country. Now you’re like well we want to go fast with someone else more qualified. Oh, that makes much more sense now. As much sense as saying the job is “entry level” and then a bullet later point out that you want 5 years experience in a similar role.

The fact is that we are not innovating in this space. Yes you can throw more algorithms and key words as gatekeepers that perform way better than a bounce at the aforementioned dollar beer night night but unlike the bouncer who is smart enough to let the ladies into the bar, the algorithms and key words keep some great matches from ever getting past the front door.

What I’m trying to say is that if your looking for the unicorn, keep looking because as even the drunken frat boy will tell you, unicorns don’t exist. Teachers, for example, have qualities most companies salivate over. They are reliable, educated, hungry and excellent communicators. You worry about their ability to communicate to a stakeholder? They had to communicate to elementary school kids for pete’s sake. If they can get through to a nine year old by golly they certainly can get through to the VP of such and such at XYZ company who in all honesty sometimes behaves like a nine year old on the weekly status call.

Give the veteran switching industries a chance. Give the teacher who is missing some of the requirements a look. These people are going to surprise you and you’ll in all likelihood find the candidate that best fits the team. Stop looking for the perfect candidate and look for the right one.

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