Why job Seekers Aren’t Getting Called for Interviews

Why job Seekers Aren’t Getting Called for Interviews

“I cannot imagine paying someone to help me re-write my CV. People who patronize resume writers are just simply unintelligent” – this was a comment I received on one of my posts on LinkedIn concerning a heated argument on why you need a professional resume writer to boost your chances.

I clearly understood the sentiments of the commenter – but what he got wrong was that it doesn’t portray unintelligence on your part should you decide to patronize the services of a professional resume writer.

Back in 2011 when I resigned from where I worked, truthfully, I gained major experiences in the non-profit sector. I participated in projects funded by Chevron, USAID, US Embassy, Exxon Mobil, UNDP, and the European Union (EU). I have worked on multimillion naira projects and clearly understood everything from strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, advocacy, proposal writing, and every single area in the field.

But after the first one month after my resignation despite sending my CV to multiple organizations and not getting called for interviews, I constantly told myself that it won’t take more than three months, I’ll be resuming with a decent multinational. Eight months down, still nothing! After 18 months I gave up. Here I was a qualified candidate but not one organization called me for an interview.

I didn’t use man-know-man connections, I simply filled forms online. After 4 years of doing this, I met a long lost friend of mine who just got a project and he wanted me to help sort out applications he got from prospective candidates he needed to employ for the project. While sorting these applications, I realized that I could not pick one application. They all looked generic and similar. Then, I understood while no one called me for an interview.

Why this story?

Just like technology, finance, engineering, communications, etc have all moved, job application and candidate selection have also moved on to a new trend. This new trend and movement were spiked by a few drastic circumstances which were bound to happen. According to Vanguard;

The number of unemployed Nigerians rose by 3.3 million to 20.9 million in the third quarter of 2018 (Q3’18), a report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has shown. Buhari The NBS in its Labour Force Statistics –volume 1: Unemployment and underemployment report for Q3’18, indicated that year-on-year (YoY) the rate of unemployment rose by 3.3 million or 19 percent to  20.9 million in Q3’18 from 17.6 million in Q3’17, while on quarterly basis, it rose by three percent from 20.3 million in Q2’18.

From a recent study, between 1980 till date, the Nigerian population rose from 73 million to 200 million – approximately 180% increase in just 40 years. This increase comes with an increase in students applying to tertiary institutions as most state governments now make primary and secondary education free. This, in turn, creates an influx of graduates which is more than what our current private and public employment sector can handle. The resultant effect? More applications for jobs.

Secondly, there is also a ‘development’ factor. With technology advancements, apps, software, robots, and co, multinational organizations have over the years, embraced these developments as an effective means to cut down operational costs and save more money. Another downside to this is layoffs. And this increases the unemployment pool.

Another salient problem arose for recruiters over the years which have hampered employment processes and most importantly, candidate selection. With each passing year, the number of applications received for any advertised vacancy keeps tripping at geometric progress. It got to a point that recruiters cannot go through every single job application. So, the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) was born.

In 2016, Tude Fowler of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) announced that the organization received over 700,000 applications for just 500 advertised positions. Also, in 2014, 125,000 applications were received for 4,500 positions advertised by the Nigerian Immigration Service. There was also the case of almost one million applications recorded for just 10,000 positions advertised by the Nigerian Police in 2016.

Getting called for an interview has gone beyond flaunting your apex expertise or a multitude of degrees and qualifications in your CV. No matter how qualified you are, if your CV does not scale through an ATS which is now the preferred automated candidate selection program used by multinationals, you will not be called for an interview.

Applicant Tracking Systems are built to parse your CV using a variety of ranking algorithms namely skills/keywords, job title, education match, section headings, date formatting, measurable results, word count, job level match, negative words (buzzwords), education boost, web brand presence (LinkedIn profile), and so on.

For you to actually get called for an interview, you must learn to write and format your CV according to the latest algorithms of an ATS. Most multinationals use in-house ATS programs, but they generally share almost the same ranking criteria. In case you are wondering what an ATS actually is, just remember that form you filled online that asked you to attach your CV at the end when you were applying for that job with Microsoft? That is an ATS.

Professional CV writers are constantly trained on how to write CVs that can scale through an ATS. There are several international certifications that make them consultants. The job of a professional CV writing company is to help you re-tell your career story and properly format your CV to scale through an ATS. Patronizing one does not make you unintelligent as I said earlier, it only helps you increase your chances. Luckily, there are a few companies in Nigeria that specialize in professional CV writing.

When I founded Procivi in 2015, I got mocked and some people told me I had no direction in life. Today, Procivi has become the largest growing and actually the first-ever company to help people understand what they need professionals to help them retell their career stories and rewrite their CVs.

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