One of my friends who now holds a senior position in the mutual fund industry of Pakistan had a job crisis some ten years back. He once told me that he responded to more than 400 job ads in 7-8 months but got only 3-4 interview calls from second-rated companies. And this guy was Business Graduate from the Institute of Business Administration, Pakistan’s finest business school.

During my fifteen years of experience of corporate world, I’ve worked for six companies. None of the six jobs came my way through responding to press ads. Networking and Big Bang Letters always proved effective. During my career, I do admit, that I must have been tempted to respond to more than 100 press ads.
Sometime back, when I was General Manager Sales & Distribution with WorldCall Group, we placed an advertisement for Area Sales Managers for all major cities. We received thousands of emails and job applications but the guys we hired weren’t the ones who applied in response to our press ad. They were the ones whom we already knew.
When I was Corporate Manager Marketing & Communications with Hashoo Group Hotels of Pakistan, we needed Marcom Managers for all of our hotels. We placed an advertisement in daily Dawn of Pakistan; received thousands of job applications; my senior, Michael Fuchs—-an Austrian national and I did interview candidates for whole day in Marriott Hotel, Karachi, but none of the Marcom Managers were hired from that pool.
I’ve never understood the logic behind this dilemma as to why companies insert press ads when they recruit candidates coming from other channels.
I firmly hold this opinion that responding to press ads is the most impotent and enervated channel of promoting yourself.  But that doesn’t mean to close it. You must read the press ads to understand the emerging needs and requirements of the corporate world. And I don’t see any harm to responding to press ads as long as you don’t take ‘rejections’ personally.
Why job advertisements don’t work? I’ve fathomed up the following three reasons.
  • In response to press advertisement, you witness a torrent of job applications. Companies have neither time nor stamina to differentiate between chaff and grain and between asses and assets. Let say, a company places an advertisement for the position of Brand Manager in the Sunday edition of Dawn, it’s normal to receive 500 emails. If each email consists of two pages CV, We’re not talking about Cover Letters yet, you need 1000 pages to handle. How many times your printer will hang up? So, the deluge of job applications really scares the HR staff.
  • When your employees and friends come to know about job openings in the company, the networking phenomenon emerges automatically. Companies feel safe to hire people from known sources rather than unfamiliar channels.
  • I may annoy the HR community but this is fact of corporate life that HR guys willingly or unwillingly delegate the job of recruiting new staff to functional heads who’re the real buyers of the services of employees. So HR’s role shrinks to issuing appointment letters and complying with the usual procedural rigmarole. 

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