What to do when the resume you post to a resume database/job board does not result in calls

Gerry Crispin always gives good advice. He lays out a plan for the active job seekers to get the attention of the companies they want to work for after they have tried the whole job board thing. I could not have said it better!

Comments (7)

  1. Andrew says:

    If I have understood Gerry correctly he is basically suggesting that job seekers should try to subvert the employee referral process? I thought the whole idea about the referral process was that employees refer people they feel can do the job based on some real knowledge of that person. Employees referring people that they haven’t seen for years and may never have known personally in the first place just to get a bonus seems wrong, to me at least.

    If that type of skullduggery is what it takes to get a job in a particular company then I wouldn’t want to work there. And I’d argue that the employee referral scheme at that company is totally borked and needs to be redesigned.

    I’m presuming that you, in your recruiter role, are not suggesting that we try to game Microsoft’s referral program but are simply saying that we should recognise the power of an internal referral on hiring managers and try to make ethical use of that fact in an otherwise stalled job search?


  2. Heather says:

    Andrew…no skullduggery here(?). Gerry will correct me if I am wrong, but in a roundabout way, I think what he’s encouraging people to do is network. Let me give you an example. If I go to a recruiting conference and have a good conversation with someone that I think could be a recruiter here, I am definitely referring them to the person filling recruiting roles,despite the fact that I don’t know the name of their children and have not had dinner at their house. This means, I am sending that person’s info directly to the appropriate recruiter. And that recruiter THANKS ME for doing so, because I am helping them identify strong people in the industry. Same deal if the person is someone I talk to on the phone or someone I met in school. Of course I will refer them. (We don’t pay money for referrals here)

    It’s simple networking. If you have met someone at Microsoft and have some kind of relationship with them or had a good conversation with them at a conference or something, I would absolutely encourage you to reach out to that person. Even that brief interaction with that person can allow them to offer some insight into your background more than a resume would.

    Absolutely nothing unethical about that…just smart networking! Other recruiters might want to weigh in on this as well.

  3. Sean Kent says:

    Ditto what Heather said. Good advice!

  4. Abhi says:

    I was just wondering how your internal referral system works for such a position. One of my friends posted my resume on the internal referral system at Microsoft. I have the kind of background you were talking about in the last article, i.e., a tech background moving progressively towards the marketing role, and in addition I am pursuing my MBA at INSEAD, France right now, graduating in December. I did get a confirmation mail saying that my resume has been posted, and I am aware that there are a few openings which suit my profile in the Mobility and Embedded division at Microsoft (I have a lot of work experience in the embedded domain and have worked on everything from intelligent watches in my last job at Swatch to broadband over powerline modems). But somehow I haven’t really received any intimation that someone actually even looked at my resume for such a job. So I had two questions:

    (1) How does the internal referral system works?

    (2) Would it be better if I apply directly rather than hoping to be called via the internal system?

  5. Heather says:

    Abhi-if you send me an e-mail, I’d be happy to get back to you on the status of your application. You bring up some questions that I think a lot of people have so I am going to blog on how employee referrals work. In short though, I can tell you a few things. First of all, we cannot get back in touch with every candidate individually based on the volume of resumes that we receive. If your friend submitted your resume through the referral website, we have it and it is available for recruiters to search on. In general, you would only hear back from a recruiter if they had a potential role that could be a match for your background. (See my previous blog post on "recruiting black hole".

    You are in a bit of a unique situation though because you are graduating with an MBA. At Microsoft, we have a separate recruiting team that works with MBAs. So that is the team that would be looking at our resume. You can contact them directly via our MBA recruiting website (www.microsoft.com/mba). It probably wouldn’t hurt to send them your resume via that site as well, but just know that ultimately the resume ends up in the same place. But using the site might bring it to their attention so I’d give that a shot. Also check and see if they are going to be on your campus for upcoming interview days. The MBA (and college) recruiting team(s) have a different process than us industry recruiters. Their priocess is very much focused on recruiting "on campus". So try to engage with them through your university if a t all possible as well.

    Good luck!

  6. Abhi says:

    Wow, didn’t expect that my questions will trigger a whole blog entry 🙂

    Anyway, as I mentioned in my last post, I do know that there are potential job openings. INSEAD has an arrangement with Stanford, Wharton and Harvard that the job postings from these schools are available to INSEAD students and viceversa. I found the job openings in all three listings. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t come for campus recruitment to Europe which makes the task og getting a job at Microsoft that much harder. Besides, the positions that interest me are anyway based mostly in Redmond.

    As for the referral system, I believe that it is based on some keywords in resume probably, which makes the task all the more harder for me, because I have a rather unconventional background, though throughout in the tech industry. I mean Swatch is hardly likely to be the search phrase of someone looking for someone for mobility and embedded systems. Besides, I don’t know what are the additional keywords that my friend specified, as he simply asked for my resume. So in my personal case, my best bet would be if someone actually looks at my resume. Anyway, thanks a lot for your suggestions, and I will definitely try the MBA website.

  7. Heather says:

    Hey Abhi-I answered your other questions on the employee referral post. Just want to make sure I’m getting all your questions answered ; )

    So send me your resume so I can get it to the MBA recruiting team. Maybe they have something in the mobility group….I’m happy to help out and highlight the types of groups/roles to them that are of most interest to you.

    With regard to the referral system, the tool that employees use to submit referrals is not based on keywords per se. We ask the employee to identify the area of expertise of the candidate. It’s pretty high level (marketing versus tech, for example). So you’d want to communicate that to the person referring you, Once a resume goes into our database, keywords are used to search. Recruiters generally match keywords from the job description to the resumes (that’s over-simplifying it a bit, but I’m sure you get my point).

    Hope that helps

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