How well do you read a job ad?  That is a good question.  And that is exactly what the online job-matching service, TheLadders, discovered.  In its recent study using sophisticated eye-tracking technology, researchers identified how people read a job ad versus how they claim they read a job ad.  The results are quite interesting:

Despite job seekers self-reporting that they spend up to 10 minutes reviewing a job description to determine whether they are a fit, the results revealed that they devote only 10 percent of that time assessing an opportunity.

It appears we may overestimate how much time we scrutinize a job ad.  It carries over to our self-assessments in determining job-fit.  Ah, yes—the human tendency to exaggerate!  We know it well.  Nevertheless, when faced with some hard cold facts, our self-assessments tend to become more accurate.  For example, when job hunters are allowed to view anonymous collective data about their competition, they come back to reality:

[when] job seekers [are given] an anonymous overview of who else applied for that same role, job seekers were significantly better at determining if they were a good ‘fit.’

Focusing on your talent alone can lead to overconfidence.  Understanding your talent against the larger backdrop of the talent field tempers your self-assessment, thereby helping you make more accurate job-fit determinations.  This is an important task because too many recruiters and too many job hunters are frustrated as TheLadders CEO, Alex Douzet explains:

There is so much finger-pointing in the job search, mostly by job seekers who think that overwhelmed recruiters and faulty application software are the factors behind them never hearing back.  However, our eye-tracking study shows that job seekers simply need to take a better look in the mirror—and better understand their competition—before they even think of applying to that next job.

If we would all take Douzet’s advice to heart, I suspect the recruitment process and the job-hunt process would both become a more palatable and useful experience for everyone.


About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

Leave a Reply