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Conditions for successful job seeking

Posted June. 03, 2013 01:27,   


As demand for employment has plunged amid protracted economic recession, the unemployment rate has risen to the 9 percent level in the U.S. Internally, a major shift has occurred in the U.S. education - job-seeking model. This is best summarized by comments by education expert Tony Wagner at Harvard University. He said, “The world no longer cares how much you know; the world cares about what you can do with what you know.”

As occupations are fast changing into new means, a bachelor’s degree is no longer considered a measure demonstrating a jobseeker’s capacity or appropriate means for his or her employment. Hence, many employers are devising their own tests to measure applicants’ capacity. It is not important whether one acquired his or her capacity through homeschooling, cyber university, online distance learning, or Yale University. Employers have only one thing that they want to know: Whether an applicant can create added value.

Co-founders of HireArt (www.hireart.com) Elli Sharef, 27, former consultant at McKinsey & Company, and Nick Sedlet, 28, former quantitative strategist at Goldman Sachs, explain changes in the labor market. “The market is broken on both sides,” said Sharef who planned to run a business project linking job-seekers and employers. “Many applicants don’t have the skills that employers are seeking, and don’t know how to get them. But employers also ... have unrealistic expectations. They don’t want to train you, and they expect you to be overqualified.”

HireArt’s clients, which range from conglomerates such as Cisco, Safeway, and Airbnb, to small family-owned businesses, provide detailed job requirements for the positions that they recruit, while HireArt conduct written tests and video tests that it developed, and recommend jobseekers who passed the tests to client firms. Each company is recommended about 500 candidates of some 50,000 jobseekers who have registered with HireArt.

“Job-seekers tell me that they apply to as many as 500 jobs in four to five months without doing almost any research. One candidate told me he had written a computer program that allowed him to auto-apply to every single job on Craigslist in a certain city," Sharef said. For this reason, employers consider useless most of the resumes. She added, “Of these, only one person gets hired — one out of 500 — so the ‘success rate’ is very low for us and for our candidates."

Sharef also said even college graduates are very poor in writing and grammar skills. She said, “HireArt sees many talented people who are just confused about what jobs they are qualified for, what jobs are out there and where they fit in.”

She takes as an example a female candidate in Detroit, who had worked as a cashier at Borders, a general book shopping mall in the U.S. Realizing that her position has no promising future, she learned Excel software. Sharef said, “We gave her a very rigorous test, and she outscored people who had gone to Stanford and Harvard. She ended up as a top applicant for a job that, on paper, she was completely unqualified for.”

Sharef cites two main reasons that jobseekers fail in job search. She says firstly, such jobseekers fail to show the employer how they can generate value, and secondly, they don’t know what they themselves want, and the reason for this is that they had no chance to learn what kind of skills they need. “The most successful job candidates are `inventors and solution-finders,` who are relentlessly `entrepreneurial,`” she said. "They understand that many employers today don’t care about your résumé, degree or how you got your knowledge, but only what you can do and what you can continuously reinvent yourself to do.”