22. You Believing Hiring Should Be Fair is the Problem

Unless you’re getting job offers, you probably perceive how employers hire to be unfair. 

Every job seeker has a list of why they’re the most deserving over all the other job seekers—they’re:

  • qualified, skilled, educated…
  • beautiful, charismatic, authentic…
  • a cum laude graduate.

You’d benefit greatly by changing what you tell yourself when your application to the “perfect job” doesn’t get a response or you weren’t hired after multiple interviews. Reframing your concept of “fairness” will prevent you from playing the most unproductive game there is: “I’m a victim!”

Accepting the following two hiring realities is key to stacking the odds of getting hired in your favour, which is really all you can control. You’ll also be creating some semblance of hiring fairness for your psyche, which is a mental state that’ll give you a competitive advantage.

First hiring reality: Employers own their hiring process. 

Employers design their hiring process to serve their self-interest, not the job seeker’s. This is why those with a sense of entitlement, when not hired, feel employers hiring processes to be unfair—their self-interest wasn’t served. (The person hired serves the employer’s self-interest.) On the other hand, when our self-interest is served, then we feel we’ve been treated fairly. 

TIP: Through every step of the hiring process, clearly communicate how you can serve the employer’s self-interests. 

Second hiring reality: Applying online is the equivalent of playing the lottery. (You’re hoping a stranger will hire you.

I hear this all the time: “I applied to 100 jobs online and haven’t heard back from one employer.”

When you purchase a lottery ticket, you accept the fact lottery odds favour the ticket seller. The same principle applies to when you apply to an online job posting. This is why those who network land the plumb jobs. Those connected have access to the hidden job market, which has much less competition and thus better odds of landing a job. 

Say 350 people answer an online job posting. (In today’s job market, this is on the low side.) Only one person will be hired. To soothe themselves why they weren’t chosen, the 349 rejected candidates will lean on an ‘ism’ (e.g., ageism, racism, nepotism), or my favourite; they were “overqualified.” Okay, maybe 217 rejected candidates will lean on a false narrative; the other 132 will quickly move on. Your odds were 1 in 350! (0.28%) Was the hiring process unfair to the 349 applicants not selected? Would you bet on a horse with 1 to 350 odds?

Why would you expect the outcome to be fair when you choose to play a game where the odds are stacked against you? Now suppose you view rejection (READ: not winning) as altering your path but not blocking it. With such an outlook, you’ll eventually realize you arrive at most of your endpoints by sheer luck. I believe luck (for the most part) can be created.

Believing you can create “job search luck” is a huge step to achieving the frame of mind you need to succeed in your job search. 

Four ways (there are many more) you can create job search luck:

  • Make networking a priority. Go out and meet with people who can help you in your job search. 
  • Have a results-oriented resume and LinkedIn profile. The majority of resumes and LinkedIn profiles are a list of opinions. For your resume and LinkedIn profile to be competitive, you need to clearly communicate how you created value for your employers, not that you just put in time.
  • Be in constant professional development mode. Know what skills are in demand within your industry/field and learn them.
  • Be flexible. Be open-minded to all opportunities which come on your radar, not just those that fit your wish list. You can surprise yourself by taking a less than ideal job, making the best of it, and finding you enjoy your new employment. 

Of course, life being what it is, you can do all the above and more and still get rejected. Move on! Don’t dwell on “Why nots.” Instead, focus on creating luck throughout your job search by stacking the odds of getting a “Yes!” in your favour. Such focus will create job search luck, and you’ll feel how employers hire to be a bit fairer.