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Be Prepared to Sift Through Resumes When Your Utility is Hiring

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My newspaper is looking for a reporter, so I placed ads on both Indeed.com and journalismjobs.com.

Within a day, I had 20 candidates, most of them not even remotely close to qualified for the job — a caterer with no journalism experience is not going to be hired as a reporter.

Unfortunately, that’s the way it goes these days. With historically low unemployment rates, the job pool is pretty shallow and often full of duds.

There are a couple tricks you can use to narrow the focus, but even then plenty of candidates either ignore or simply don’t follow your instructions — perhaps a reason they need a job in the first place.

One thing to do is to be particular with the job sites used. It’s not surprising that a catch-all site like Indeed.com generated some many irrelevant applicants. The much smaller journalismjobs.com tends to bring in fewer, albeit better candidates. In fact, I obtained my current position responding to a listing on journalismjobs.com.

So, choose industry boards.

Second, make your listing as specific as possible and include all sorts of qualifications, noting that candidates that don’t include all materials requested will automatically be eliminated. You’d be surprised at how quickly that narrows your pool.

Another way to narrow your pool is to eliminate anyone who doesn’t respond quickly to any request you make. If they’re truly interested in the job (rather than just randomly casting a wide net), they should get back to you within 24 hours during the work week; you can give a little latitude if you reach out to someone at 3 p.m. on a Friday.

Yes, there may some extenuating circumstances that prohibit a candidate from responding quickly, but slow communications can be a red flag.

Also, take a careful look at the cover letter — and yes, a cover letter should be a requirement. It’s not too difficult to tell the difference between what’s basically a form letter and a letter that was specifically crafted for your utility and the job in questions. A good letter will demonstrate research and familiarity with your company, while also giving you a hint at how well the candidate communicates.

Will these measures end the headache known as the hiring process? Not exactly, but it can reduce the headache from migraine level to one a couple Advil or Tylenol can cure.

Andy Gotlieb's picture

Thank Andy for the Post!

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