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The hidden pitfalls of using job boards

Job Boards! Despite what certain online and TV adverts suggest; finding the perfect job is not as simple as just hitting the job boards.

 Now that’s clearly a controversial statement about job boards and I’m sure to be hit with the “yes you would say that wouldn’t you” from sceptical readers but bear with me.  It’s something that we have  witnessed for some time now and feel job hunters should have a greater awareness of the impact job boards and the route they choose to find a new job can have on their long term prospects.
The problem that can happen when using job boards is ultimately a lack of control if you don’t do it right, which is one of the worst things that can happen when you are changing role and here’s why.
1. A Credibility Killer
Many candidates nowadays seem to start the thought process of changing jobs by hitting the job boards and “seeing what’s out there”.  Now as a general exercise there’s nothing wrong with this, however it’s all too easy to simply click a button and bam! you’ve applied for a job that you’d give no more than a few seconds thought to.  Would you do that if you had to telephone them or apply in writing?
The person receiving your speculative application will assume you have read about the role you have applied for, researched it and decided to apply because you have a clear idea as to what you are looking for and have made a calculated decision to apply.  If you haven’t this will become apparent either from your lack of skills actually matching the requirements of the role or if you do get to interview you may come across as indecisive, lacking commerciality and unprofessional.  The interviewer wants you to have thought this through and actually be interested in their company and the opportunity they are recruiting for.
The reason this effects your long-term career? Well certainly in the world of accountancy where we specialise, it is wise to remember it is a VERY small world employers and agencies will remember you. Your application is your first impression.
2. The Gold Rush
The moment you decide to apply for a role on a job board you will be asked/told you have to upload your CV, set up an account, log all your details, provide inside leg measurements etc. Great that makes things easier doesn’t it?  Kind of yes, however what you are actually consenting to is for your CV and personal data being SOLD to anyone who subscribes to the CV download service, resulting in all your personal data being distributed to 100’s of recruitment agencies and employers (including your own if they are a subscriber).
3. Losing the Race
About an hour or so later you should start receiving the first of many phone calls from agencies contacting you or simply sending your CV out without consultation or your permission to any of their clients you may be vaguely suited to.  At this point you have lost control and you are no longer able to have a discreet, discerning search for your ideal role.
You have now lost control of the search for the job you want, your time will be absorbed fielding calls and emails from competing agents “selling you their jobs”.
4. The Interview Marathon
With agencies doing what they do, you will most likely be receiving calls along the lines of “I have a client that would like to meet you!” “How exciting” you think, “I have an interview! “but hang on how did they know what I am looking for and that my personality and career aspirations are exactly what the employer wants?!  That’s incredible as we havent even spoken before!”  Unless you really put the brakes on firmly here this is the point you start attending very frustrating and stressful interviews that given the right amount of advice and consultation you probably would have chosen to reject.

Job boards do of course have their place

They help to demonstrate available roles, provide industry benchmarks, salaries etc.  So use them to research and narrow down what you think you are looking for but keep your CV on your hard drive and your finger well away from the apply now button!
When you see a role you think you are interested in do some more research and then contact the employer in an email or telephone call, send your CV direct when you are ready and only in relation to a specific role.  If it is a recruitment agency, again contact them directly and send your CV only if they have answered all your questions and they appear to be the best agency to source the type of role you are looking for and provide you with professional, credible advice to enable them to find the role you want.
Keep your valuable data to yourself until you are ready to share it.
In doing so you stand a much better chance of finding the perfect role and minimise the heartache finding it!

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