I met my good friend, Michael for lunch the other day for input on the analytical approach I had adopted for my job search. Both Michael and I are actively pursuing new opportunities and both of us are looking for something in the Director/VP space. I asked Michael how many resumes He sends out on a weekly basis (over 75) and asked what kind of measurements he applies. Michael and I spoke about the application funnel, KPI measurements, and Quality assessments. In the end, I have drafted the following methodology – which I hope will assist you with your search.
To anyone familiar with Marketing: there is a funnel to conversion. The funnel starts with the resume submission and ends with an offer letter. I have defined the following steps/stages in the funnel:
- Resume Submission – This is you submitting your resume in response to an active posting. Now, I want to caution that this is the most critical stage in the process as Volume of QUALITY postings is key. We will talk about Quality of posting here and how to measure this a little later in the article. Fall-out from this stage (80%+) is due to a myriad of factors which I will cover in the next section
- Recruiter Response – This is an email response or a messaage to setup the phone screen. The purpose is to validate any gating factors in advance of the next step. Fall-out (25%) may also arise if they have an offer out but want to keep your resume around for other potential opportunities.
- Recruiter Screen – This is a scheduled phone call (usually under 30 mins) with the recruiting firm or the companies recruiter. Its is primarily to discuss the opportunity, the team, the company dynamic, and to have you share or elaborate on your background. Fall-out (33%) at this point is usually a result of a filled position, the hiring manager declining your resume, their determination you are a poor cultural fit, or lack the necessary skills for the position.
- 2nd Round Interview – Alas, you are meeting with your prospective Manager and her/his team. This round is 60% proving your job skills/value and 40% interpersonal skills (how you will work/fit with the team). Fall-out (70%) here is a result of fit issues with the team and your inability to demonstrate a working knowledge to the direct team.
- Final Round – Following success with the 2nd round, you will most likely be asked back to meet with Senior Leadership (Your prospective Managers leadership). They will be assessing your fit with the corporate culture as well as validating your “ROI” on the position. Fall-out (75%) here is a result of not being able to succinctly wow or respond to questions in a succinct and clear manner.
- Background Check – If the team decides you are the candidate (or are on the very short list), they will let you know and perform a background check. Criminal History, Employment, Education, References. Make sure you have a brief conversation with your references and give them some coaching pointers relevant to the position. Fall-out (10%) here is somewhat rare, but is usually a result of falsification of details, retraction of the opening (it happens), or them deciding on another candidate.
- Offer Letter – This is where the company will present you with a verbal/formal offer letter.
The Truth in Numbers
As you may have noticed, the success rate, full-funnel, is 0.7%. In a nutshell; this means you need to submit roughly 143 resumes to yield one successful Offer letter. This result is all derivative from the Resume Submission step performance and there are several steps in reducing that effort. By sorting the wheat from the chaff you can improve your end conversion rate by almost 50% to 1.4%. Doesn’t seem like much, but it reduces your resume submission input down to 72 resumes!
- Empty Postings – At Michael’s input – I carefully reviewed months of postings and was amazed how many companies keep cycling the same postings. There are many companies (usually agencies) that I noticed the same positions popping-back-up. I have removed these from the search process as they never seem to yield any responses. Furthermore, they only dilute the effectiveness of the funnel. My recommendation is to submit your resume once and then let it go. After all, they will have your info on file if they really are serious about someone with your qualifications.
- Dead Postings – In analyzing most legitimate postings, they seem to have a shelf life of 30 days. That is: a good recruiter can source talent and complete the posting fill in 30 days. Anything over 30 days in age should be considered a low probability.
Legitimate Postings (ACTIVE) – Legitimate postings have a shelf life as well and Michael rated them in 3 categories, based on shelf-life (<5 days,5-15 days, and
15-30 days). By focusing on acting quickly when a new posting arises and not in wasting time on old postings, you can streamline your success.
- In our experience, even postings over 15 days are either a tough fit or are being held open in-case everything else falls apart. These should have a poor quality rating.
- Postings between 0-15 days should be applied for, but you may be coming in late in the interview process (when the hiring managers may have already considered another candidate). A such, your chances diminish daily on these. As such, I assign these a fair quality rating.
- Postings under 5 days are the most fertile ground. The recruiter is fresh and the hiring manager is eager to interview. To these, I assign an excellent quality rating.
Conclusions – Creating Monitoring and Executing
The job search process can be scary and deterring one. You will experience silence, rejection, and get discouraged. There are many useful articles on maintaining a daily schedule (working out, networking, working on skills, and setting aside time for the search). However, maintaining a dashboard will help you visualize your progress and identify opportunities for enhancement. I use an Excel sheet and log each submission, its age, its relative rating. I track each step on the conversion funnel for each submission. On a second sheet in the workbook, I maintain metrics about the success rates from step to step. It allows me to understand any changes in performance and to adjust. Here are the points I recommend and have used to success:
- Create a repository (Excel works well) to log all the positions you apply for. Make sure to note the following points:
- When the job was originally posted
- Date fields for the Seven Steps (application_dt, response_dt…… etc)
- Company, Position Title, URL to the posting, Your honest eligibility self-assessment (1-5) for the position (e.g. 1 would be you have a marginal clue and 5 being you are a SME for all of the required and optional points).
- Add date fields for rejection (them saying no), declination (you opting out), and expiration (most just expire)
- Version of your resume submitted
- Feel free to add any addition, pertinent data points (e.g. working with a recruiter, working through an internal referral, they called you first, etc)
- If you have historical data, add it to the repository. But you need to have a high confidence or it will skew the results.
- Diligently feed your funnel new postings. You should be adding AT LEAST 5 a day if you’re unemployed. Seriously.
- Track your open applications every day or two.
- Once they close, note (date) them as expired. If they call you afterward (they won’t), you can always update.
- If the posting goes over 30 days since you applied, note (date) it as expired.
- If the posting ages over 45 days since it was posted, note (date) it as expired.
- Pay close attention to companies that keep reposting the same position. Apply at your risk – you’ve been warned.
- Avoid applying to any posting over 30days in age
- Track you performance – but let your current applications age for 15 days before determining results. Note changes in funnel exit as it relates to posting age, degree of confidence, and resume version
- Feel free to use my Job Funnel Workbook as a starting point and customize your own.