What happens to your resume after you apply online? The answer should shock and anger you. I authored this article to help you understand how the online job application job process works in real life.

It’s a game as Michael Douglass quotes in Wall Street, “The illusion has become real, and the more real it becomes, the more desperately they want it. Capitalism at its finest.”

In this article, we will discuss:

  • Stats to prove our point
  • Whether job postings are for real jobs
  • The step-by-step online application process-corporate perspective
  • A better way to control your job search

The Numbers

Just check out the statistics below that prove what happens to your resume after you apply online:

  • 75% chance the job never existed for those applying online
  • Of the 25% authentic job postings remaining, 99% of applications are never read by a human
  • Of the 1% of the 25%, 90% chance it is read by a junior HR member

Let’s do the math: 25% x 1% x 90% = 0.255 or 0.225% chance your resume is seen by a junior HR person. With these odds, do you now understand why you get ghosted?

Does The Job Even Exist to Begin With?

For mid to senior-level positions, my experience with well over 500+ clients demonstrates that there is a high probability the job is a ghost. In reality, companies identify candidates through recruiters, personal connections of the C-suite, or internal referrals to the hiring manager.

There are exceptions for the 22–25-year-old entry-level jobs.

However, for you, job postings are for show and tell, a bait and switch.

Why? Employers must show government regulators that they have conducted a fair job search.

What better way to satisfy the government than throw the posting onto a job board or company website, select a few candidates, interview, and then ignore them. It’s better than paying fines, a public embarrassment.

1st Step: Company Programs Its Algo

When HR receives the job description from the business unit, it takes this paperwork, along with all other prior ones, and enter 10-30 keywords into the HR platform search algo. Which keywords? Only HR knows.

Think you can fool the algo by simply copying the most frequent words in the job description and pasting into a word counter?

Surely you jest. And don’t call me Surely. (Free LinkedIn review for that movie reference.)

Trying to fool an algo that changes constantly is like trying to predict the price of Bitcoin or Tesla next Thursday.

2nd Step: Company Puts Job on Job Board or Their Own Website

The first thing you would think would happen to your resume when you apply online is the company takes down job postings for positions that have been filled.

Unfortunately, no. Companies leave older job descriptions posted to appear more active in the hiring process than they really are.

It’s free advertising because if you see scores of jobs posted, you might think, “Hm, wow, ABC is growing really quickly. I must be missing out.”

The press picks up on the postings also.  Company employees get in on the action- posting on LinkedIn, etc. not even realizing what’s going on.

3rd Step: Company Receives 200-500 Resumes

I think we all can agree that very few companies sort through all 200-500 resumes by hand. How could they? Most people who apply are not qualified. Bad ROI to spend human time.

The company’s algo spits out the top 20-40 candidates. Then, HR, generally the most junior person doing the grunt work, selects 5-10 from the pile for an HR round.

Do you think the junior HR person understands the role and the best candidates? However, let’s suppose you are so lucky to appear in the top 5-10.

4th Step: Company Interviews Some of Top 10 Along with Their Pre-Chosen Favorites

Why would management interview bogus candidates? Because management wants to learn competitor secrets and keep their pulse on future available talent.

Have you ever been through the interview process only to learn in the last round that you were not the most qualified? Did you get a sense you and they knew it all along?

Yes, you have been used by the system.

5th Step: Do It All Over Again

Rinse repeat. You Then become disgruntled, angry, or unsure of yourself and the process. Until you break out of this cycle, it will consume you.

Get off the Treadmill and Network

Networking works:

  • Know how to communicate with your close contacts and follow up frequency
  • Download your 1st connections and reach out – check out Leveraging 1st Connections
  • Connect with your target company employees with whom you share a commonality – You Have a Huge Network!

Bottom Line

Applying online is like going to the circus, only to learn when you get there, you’re the main act!

If you’re frustrated with your job, please click below.

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