An Open Letter to Talent Acquisition: What Job Seeking Professionals Wish You Knew

Dear Talent Acquisition Professional,

I’ve talked with so many of you over the last 10 months of my job search that you’re all starting to run together. You probably feel the same way … you talk to so many people seeking jobs that we all start to sound alike to you too.

But that’s the first thing I want you to understand: I’m unique. No one else out there has the exact same set of skills and experiences I do. Others’ backgrounds might be similar to mine, but it’s not the same.

Sometimes I can almost hear the boredom in your voice. Or the distractedness while we’re talking, like you’re multitasking. I assure you that I’m NOT multitasking. This job search is my #1 priority.

Quite often, the interview process takes several weeks. During that time, you get to know me, my skills, my experiences and my priorities pretty well. Then, when for <fill in the blank> reason I am not extended an offer for X position at your company, it’s like I don’t exist anymore. You drop me like a hot rock.

After you and your organization have invested the time and effort to get to know me, and seriously considered me for X position, why wouldn’t you leverage that knowledge by looking for other, similar roles where I might be a good fit? Where I could add value? Maybe X position was a 90% skill match, but now Y position is open and a 75% skill match. Or Z position comes open three months later. Doesn’t it make more sense for you to consider me for those jobs (or at least reach out and see if I’m still available three months later), when you already know me? Otherwise, you start trying to fill your candidate pipeline from scratch. How is that efficient? Aren’t you measured on time-to-fill?

And lastly, I’ve worked hard to translate my military experience into your civilian world and jargon. Accomplishing that and getting past your applicant tracking system to actually talk to you is almost a Herculean task. Technology is helpful, but only to a point.

I fear it screens out too much. It misses how adaptable I have had to be my entire military career to accomplish the mission. My adaptability will be the key to my success in any organization. I am looking for a company that can evaluate me holistically – what I’ve done, my experience, my training, my leadership – and see how that could be applied for the benefit of the organization. It’s not just about maximizing the key word match.

Thank you for listening.

A retired military officer still seeking the next opportunity in his professional career

Betsy Winkler is a Partner at PeopleResults. She was inspired to write this blog post based on a dinner conversation with a neighbor. She can be reached on Twitter @BetsyWinkler1. Sign up to receive the PeopleResults blog at Current.