January 27th, 2010 | 6:00 am

Ask-A-Career Coach: How Does a Company Select From a Big Pile of Resumes?

filed under Ask A Career Coach, News

jobsearchContributed by Caroline Ceniza-Levine of SixFigureStart™

I was recently on a recruiting project, helping out a non-profit with dozens of open jobs. You would not know there is 10% unemployment at this place because they can’t hire fast enough to keep up with their needs. I see this feast or famine phenomenon often as a recruiter – either the company has nothing and no reason to call people in; or they are so busy, they don’t have the time to call people in.

Either way, companies are likely not going to call people in for interviews.

WHAT?!?! Am I saying that companies need to find the best and the brightest but they won’t take the time to do that? Yes, I am saying exactly that.

Specifically, I am pointing out the tradeoff a company has to make between throwing time and resources behind a search in order to ensure they find the best person or getting the search done quickly with the best person they happen to find. Too often, companies will go with the latter. Therefore, you need to keep speed of search in mind when trying to attract employers.

By the time most people find out about a job, it’s too late. If a recruiter has to post a job, she dreads the deluge of resumes that follow. If she can have someone come across her desk that is an exact fit, she’ll take that person. I always liked to have several possibilities (most recruiters do), but in a pinch, just one will do. I won’t post if there are enough leads in my database. So all of that effort on getting recruiters to pick you from the pile of resumes is misplaced. We may never look at that pile of resumes. We look first to our existing database. You need to already be there before the job opens.

Fretting about being selected from the resume pile is passive and futile. You take the success of your search out of your hands and rely on someone else (the recruiter, the company). You waste time that should be spent getting in front of your ideal companies and getting the jump on jobs before they are public. A company doesn’t select their hires out of the resume pile, but rather from their existing network.

Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career coach, writer, speaker, Gen Y expert and co-founder of SixFigureStart™, coaches jobseekers using a recruiter’s perspective of what employers really want and how the hiring process really works. Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline most recently headed University Relations for Time Inc and has also recruited for Accenture, Citibank, Disney ABC, and others. Caroline is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Professional Development at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs and a life coach