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.