When is a Barber a Retail Manager?

When is a Barber a Retail Manager?

Does an experienced fishmonger make the grade as a qualified HR manager? Can a deep-sea diver rise to the top as a games developer? Trying to work out why people apply for certain roles can often be time consuming, sometimes bordering on funny.

As a recruiter I regularly have to notify candidates that their application has been unsuccessful, I always try and do this quickly so they can move on and not be left wondering for weeks or even months if they will ever hear from me.

However, this prompt action can often result in a negative response from unsuccessful candidates who take being told quickly as a sign they were not given a fair chance. This raises two important issues, firstly for recruiters, what are appropriate responses and response times and secondly for candidates, what leap in transferable skills are you asking recruiters to make from your CV in the little time they have to choose the best matching candidates for the role.


We regret to inform you…

The hardest part of any recruiter’s job is advising candidates that they have been unsuccessful in their application. The most common feedback we hear about recruiters is that a response came too quickly, or took too long or that they didn’t hear back at all.

If I’m recruiting for the position of HR manager needing at least 3 years’ experience in a complex ER environment and I receive a CV from a newly qualified candidate looking for an HR assistant role, it takes only a few seconds to know this is not the right position for that candidate. So, do I wait a few days/weeks and remember to go back and advise or do I send an immediate response (a polite email advising they are not suitable).

If I wait a few weeks until I fill the role, then advise every unsuccessful applicant at the same time, do I risk building their hopes up as they await a response? If I ignore the unsuitable people, can I just assume they will realise eventually they were not right for the role?

The truth of the matter is that it takes an experienced recruiter just a few seconds to scan a CV and determine if an initial fit exists, if there is a clear mismatch then it is better for everyone to be told quickly so they can move on. Automated responses at the click of a button can make this process very quick and seem impersonal or even automated, however at the preliminary stages of recruiting for a popular role the number of applications can easily be in the hundreds, making it impossible to reply with individual feedback to every applicant.


Square peg, round hole

We know people have career aspirations and will apply for a role regardless of whether they have the skills, experience or qualifications or are even currently living in a different country. However, hopefully as we have expressed above you must help the recruiter to understand quickly your reasons for applying and you stand a far greater chance of success.

I recently received an email and a call from a rejected candidate who was able to explain why and how his skills were appropriate for the role much better than his CV did, and was then put forward for the interview process. With other recruiters he may not have had this opportunity and it would still have been a firm no from them.

An experienced fishmonger may have many years of managing deliveries and dealing with suppliers and could easily slot into a similar role within retail, but they will never make it past the first stage of the application process if they can’t communicate this.


Here are some Rainbow top tips to help you along in your application process, and make sure you let recruiters know you are the right fit for the role   –

  • Check you are qualified to do the job
    • If you have transferable skills make sure you highlight them
  • Is your CV up to date, finished in your last role? – check the dates
  • Do you have the experience and qualifications being asked for?
  • Have you been asked for a cover letter?
    • If so supply one, this is where you can highlight why you are a fit, where your prior experience is relevant, the fact you are open to relocation can be added in a covering letter to explain why your address is in North Scotland but the role you are applying for is in London


Start your journey today.

Call Tom Waddell on +44(0)7960 354441 or Fiona Irvine on +44(0)7739 447369 or email [email protected]