4 Traps employers set in job descriptions
Let me tell you a little secret, some employers purposefully lay traps to trip up graduates. It is not as deceitful as it might sound, but they're a wily bunch and they have to be. When looking to attract graduates, employers have been known to lay traps for graduates as a way of craftily sifting out the best from the rest. And like all good traps they are as subtle as they are fatal.
I have experienced several of these tricks and traps laid by graduate employers with mixed levels of success. While some are more obvious than others, there is no way to consistently guard against these ensnaring techniques accept vigilance and attention to detail. So to help you warn against some of the devious and devilish traps laid by recruiters here are a few of the ones I've spotted when I was a graduate job hunter.
If you've got any of your own, tweet us at @graduatejobsUK
This is a trick usually played by jobs posted by graduate recruitment agencies, but not limited to them. Sometimes with email based applications graduate employers and HR departments leave a little sentence somewhere hidden in the job description indicating who the covering letter should be addressed to. This should always utilised.
Addressing a covering letter to the anonymous "Sir or Madam" will be met with instant dismissal if the person has been highlighted for the role. When writing your covering letter, do double check to see if someone is mentioned. While this is not only beneficial to help you make your covering letter seem more personable. Also, with a name and access to google, it is worth giving them a little bit of cyber stalking. Take a look at their LinkedIn and if there is anything about the job description that you're unsure about or would like qualifying, you can usually find an email address for that person when you have their name and company.
This taps into the overall point of guarding against traps laid by employers of being attentive when looking at job descriptions. You need to totally analyse the job description, making sure you pick up the finest details. If you sometimes struggle with this, when you find a job you think you're suitable for, print out the job description and highlight and annotate the important features and requirements. This will not only improve your covering letter by making it more focused, but also help you avoid any of these traps.
Ambiguous job titles
Some recruiters, in particular those recruiting for positions that are not usually popular, are mainly concerned with gaining the widest spread of graduate applicants. To do this they are very vague about the requirements they ask for and seem very evasive about what the role actually entails. It would be harsh to call this a dishonest trap, but it is something that job hungry graduates need to watch out for.
This is another time that you should chase up the employer to learn more. While phoning us here at graduate-jobs.com would not prove useful (and yes people do try), but looking up the company and trying to reach somebody who deals with their graduate recruitment would be a way to find out more about the role and would make you avoid applying for something you didn't want to.
Cold hard cash...
Everybody has a price, and like FIFA ExCo members, graduates are easily led astray by this . The issue of salaries and how much you can expect to be paid when they your green in your new career can quickly become a game of chess. However, graduate recruiters sometimes open their gambit with an elusive range, sometimes it can measure from £18,000 to £24,000 or even more ludicrously wide like £16,000 to £28,000 per annum.
I am sorry I have to be the one to tell you this, but there is not point looking at the higher end of the range is only going to lead to disappointment. These are a simple way of luring in graduates with the promises of riches and wealth. Like the use of competitive, it seems like a way of hiring graduate talent on the cheap. A simple trick but one that works. Unfortunately.
Other degrees accepted…
This is another tactic that graduates should watch out for. Part arse-covering to make sure they get enough applications through to pick the best candidate available, but when employers are looking for a graduate from a specific discipline, they will sometimes acknowledge that they will accept graduates from a different degree discipline.
While this is necessarily a bad thing, if you are a graduate from a different discipline to the one specified you should make sure that you show all the reasons why this does not matter. Because if you are not completely and entirely selling yourself for this position and making it seem like it was made for you, those not from the specified degree discipline will be first against the wall when it comes to cutting down numbers.
This blog post may seem like all graduate employers and recruiters are just crooks out for your application but this is not the case. Sometimes certain jobs struggle for applications and it is not their fault they have to be a little economical with the truth or a little hyperbolic with some of the aspects of the job. All it takes is a little bit of nous and common sense and you can see what's going on in certain job descriptions. The more attentive you are and conscious of these little pitfalls and traps laid by employers, the better it'll be when it comes to finally securing yourself that graduate job.
By James Howell
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