Don’t just select cookie cutter applicants – look out for the resourceful Job Seekers

If you are a recruiter or hiring manager who adheres to strict submission guidelines, then you probably won’t read beyond the headline of this article….

However, if you struggle to attract truly new and resourceful talent, then you probably end up with an ad plastered with catchy key words such as: self starter; creative; resourceful; hungry; gutsy; etc.

Maybe you resort to punch lines like “pursue your passion”, “leverage your network”, “tailor and tidy up your resume”, “do your homework” and “dress for success” — among other things.

Many Hiring Managers here in Australia and across the Tasman apply this type of creative job ad lingo, because they truly seek and value candidates who demonstrate initiative, creativity and entrepreneurial energy. But, when you apply this type of lingo, then you need to allow room for your incoming candidates to use an alternate route for submitting their applications.  After all, they are actually doing what you have asked them to do right from the start and they will often take extra steps or do something creative to get their resume in front of human eyes. They are not cutting corners, they are not wasting time – they are being resourceful!


If you take a closer look, things like networking, research, and applying to multiple employers are fundamental ‘block and tackle’ types of activities that apply to 80% of the job seekers out there. They hinge upon casting a broad net.  They leverage the law of averages.  They adhere to the fundamentals of psychology.  They may be the ones that are actually being lazy and cutting corners as it takes a lot less effort to cast a big net than to come up with something creative and resourceful.  However, that being said, it’s no real surprise that this process still works in some way.  But, remember they tend to be average and some of their ‘doing’ will be old and overused, because job seeking is as unique and creative as an individual. When you ask any professional who has achieved some level of greatness how he or she got there, the journey is always unique, always varied, and rarely cookie cutter. So don’t focus on cookie cutter applications!


If you don’t want to be hit with another barrage of desperado job applicants flooding your inbox and if you don’t want to spend your time sifting through the serial job applicants and the jockeys who have had 10 jobs with your competitors (you know what I am talking about – I am referring to those dreaded ‘industry experts’) then I guess that you need a new approach.


I suggest that you take it all with a sense of adventure and an open mind, so you can grab yourself a very good employee. I recommend that you don’t discard ‘left field’, resourceful application submissions.


You know what I am referring to, don’t you? I’m talking about the type of candidates who made it past your personal assistant or your receptionist; those guys and gals who managed to get through to your boss; or those career seekers who ask all those intriguing questions on the phone and actually manage to get some pretty useful information out of you.


You see, this type of Job Seeker doesn’t waste their time. This type of candidate is organised and resourceful. They don’t just apply for jobs. They do their homework and they don’t like to take chances on opportunities that aren’t worth their time. They know how to sell and market themselves and how to improve their chances to be seen or heard.  And, that’s ultimately what you want from your new employee, because your ad was plastered with all those key words in the first place!


So here are some of the types of more resourceful Job Seeker submissions and how you should  interpret their submission skills. 


  • The Resume arrived via regular mail.

One way to make sure that an application stands out from other applicants vying for a position you really want is to send your resume via snail mail. Better yet, overnight it so that it shows you’re serious about having it seen by a person. I like those types of applications, as they show me that the candidate is actually prepared to invest money and time into his/her application.


The candidate applied via Fax. 

Yes – I am not joking ! fax machine are not exactly “tech savvy” ideas , but believe me , there are millions of idle fax machines out there. So that said, another “resourceful” option for switched on candidates is to consider sending the resume and additional documents via fax.  Granted, it’s very ‘old school’ but the real smart ones have done their homework and spoke with a company representative to not only find out to whom they should address the fax to but also to ensure that it will be picked up. Don’t you like that? This demonstrates initiative and real sales skill.


  • The candidate dropped the resume off with the employer.

If you’ve heard about a potential position, noticed that ‘perfect job ad’ that suits you to the tee, or simply want to inquire about opportunities, you can make cold visits to companies where you stop in, ask to see a hiring manager or recruiter and, at the very least, drop off your resume with a human being. Hungry, gutsy candidates don’t mind walking the extra mile and they are not afraid to get to the source. They are also very likely to be good cold callers because they don’t take rejection personally. They know it is just business. They’re not precious and they don’t mind getting their hands dirty.


  • The candidate created their own new position.

Resourceful candidates don’t sit around and wait for their ‘dream job’ to open. Resourceful candidates study the industry or field that they’re looking to move into, and determine a company or two that they would like to work for. They often systematically figure out their challenges through relationships or public information. With this, they can craft a solution for their prospective new employers that they can share directly or publically through communication channels like a blog, for instance. The concept here is to get noticed through offering a solution to help them with no expectation of anything in return. This is not exactly a job application but very resourceful and very ‘left field’.


  • The candidate visits you at an industry event to submit their application.

Finally one of my personal favourites and also a great way to not only put your resume in a company representative’s hands but also increase your chances of scoring an interview on the spot, is by visiting an industry event, conventions or a job fair. These events provide resourceful job seekers with an amazing opportunity to use charisma to their advantage before ever being called into an interview. I like companies who are open to this sort of contact and I admire those who actually encourage candidates to visit them at their event. Many savvy companies have dedicated areas and staff at industry events and regularly source or poach great staff via this channel.

So next time you receive one of these clever applications don’t discard them because they may have not adhered to rigorous and/or restrictive procedures (that often stifle creativity and resourcefulness).  Take an extra 30 seconds to really look at the material or you may miss the golden opportunity to hire yourself a great employee.


Hunt wisely, Uli

Ps. As always, contact me directly or leave a comment in my blog posts if you have any suggestions or ideas how to improve job seeking for candidates in Australia or New Zealand.