We’ve all heard it from recruiters all over the world. When you meet them, whether at the career fair, networking function, or through sites like LinkedIn, they almost all have the same response: “You’ll need to go to companyabc.com/careers to apply for the position of interest.” I can hear the Debbie Downer “wah-wah” now. It’s disheartening. After all, you thought the five minutes you spent with the recruiter forged an unbreakable bound. You’re family now, right? Wrong. You still need to apply online.
I had the opportunity to meet with some very smart recruiters from one of the nation’s top investment firms recently and they shared their insight with me around this subject. Here’s what I learned:
Digital beats paper…every time. Most still accept paper résumés, so please for the love of all that is good in the world, don’t forget to bring plenty of copies with you. But, that’s only the first step. Companies want you to apply to the job requisition (or “req”) so that your information can be shared with everyone relevant to the hiring process. How much faith do you have that your paper résumé will reach the office, the sourcers, and then the hiring manager? People lose things. Don’t let your résumé get lost in the bottom of their bag, the heap on their desk or any of the million places in between.
PRO TIP: Does it feel like you’re sending your application off into a black hole? Be sure to follow up with the recruiter once you’ve applied (this is why you get their business card) and ask if you need to submit anything else. Then, give them a couple of weeks. Follow up with a nice check-in. Remind them who you are, how you met (ie: career fair at UCLA) and ask for next steps. Request to connect with them on LinkedIn.
Rules and regulations. Recruiters don’t just want you to apply online, most need you to do so in order to be compliant with OFCCP (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs) regulations. That means if the company is a government contractor (you’d be surprised) they cannot legally consider you as an applicant until you complete the online process. So, giving them your résumé isn’t enough.
The changing workforce. With the particular company that I spoke with, recruiters were spread out across the country. None of them actually worked at the corporate office. If one of them received a great resume at a career fair in California (and didn’t apply online) then it’s up to the recruiter to manually share the candidate’s résumé with the other recruiters. Sometimes this happens, but most times, the résumé gets lost in the shuffle. Would you want to put your entire future in the hands of ONE person? I’m not sure I would. Applying online allows the recruiters all across the nation to view your information. You might not be a fit for California, but could be a perfect match for a position in Florida! That’s just one example.
Side note: If you’re an Enactus United States student or alumni, there are hundreds of jobs posted right now with Fortune 500 companies on the Enactus US Career Marketplace. Most allow you to complete application process through our system, so it’s super-easy! Login or register today by clicking here then upload your résumé Need a little résumé help? Check out Résumé Builder! Just another great resource provided by Enactus Career Services. (*Available exclusively to Enactus US students and alumni.)
So, now when someone asks you kindly to apply online, you’ll know WHY and hopefully you’ll follow their advice.
Have additional insight on online applications and why they’re important? Please weigh in by leaving a comment. This is YOUR forum. We can learn from each other. As always, thanks for reading!