Candidates: Don’t Turn Yourself Into Spam!

September 9, 2014

Here’s a practical tip from recruiters, both within companies and in agencies: when applying for jobs, don’t apply for more than one job at a time.

Once in a while, we’ll hear from a very eager candidate who decides to submit online applications for a variety of our active jobs. Sometimes they’ll apply for jobs with varying levels of seniority (an analyst position, a manager position and a director position), and sometimes they’ll apply for jobs across a wide spectrum of functions (a procurement position, a distribution position, a warehousing position).

There are a few reasons why a candidate might decide to do this. They might be indicating that they’re eager to work and willing to do a variety of jobs. They might be trying to communicate that seniority and a place within a hierarchy isn’t important to them. Or they might be trying to maximize their visibility, thinking that applying for multiple jobs gets their application in front of as many eyes within an organization as possible.

The fact is, blanketing a recruiter or hiring manager with applications for very different jobs is a big red flag and almost always costs you consideration for any of the advertised jobs. That’s because it sends a different message than the one you’ve intended. So what does a candidate who sends multiple resumes for unrelated roles imply by doing so?

  • That they don’t have a good grasp on their own expertise.
  • That they’re unsure about their own career goals and just want a job.
  • That they won’t be able to speak to their skills and experience in a coherent, linear way.

And, most unfortunately:

  • That they don’t have an understanding of the jobs they’re applying for.

None of which are messages you want to implicitly send as a candidate, even if they’re not true. But these things all enter a hiring manager or recruiter’s mind when they see a flood of submissions from the same candidate.

Of course, there are situations where you actually do want to apply for multiple jobs within an organization or with the same recruiter. Jobs have overlap and people have diverse skills. But there’s a more tactful way of doing this: Apply for one job, and attach a note to the recruiter or hiring manager indicating that you’re also interested in exploring other posted opportunities. Mention your interest and background at that point and let the recruiter slot you in. This approach shows that you have your career priorities and goals set, but that you’re flexible and interested in multiple roles. Handle your application this way, and you open yourself up to a constructive discussion with the recruiter or hiring manager about where you might fit into an organization.

But whatever you do, don’t throw everything at the wall up front just to see what sticks.




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