Applicant or Candidate?

We are all looking.  We may be looking for a job, looking to find new customers, or even looking to encourage our staff.

But how are we seen?

Are you an applicant or a candidate?  There is a difference you know.  A big difference.  A difference in how we are seen, how we are evaluated and whether we are even dismissed without much thought.

A business I advise recently advertised an entry-level job at a relatively low starting wage.  They advertised this job on just one free website.  Over two hundred people applied for the job.  The problem for my client was that most of the applicants were simply not qualified for this entry-level position.  They were applicants, not candidates.

It appeared that many of the applicants did not even read the job description.  Others had applied where it was obvious that their travel distance (and, thus, cost) would make the job inappropriate based on the starting wage.

These applicants essentially discredited themselves from the start.  What a waste of their effort and the business’s time.

Now, I think it is great that people want to work and are interested in working for this business.  That is not my point.

I submit that if they were really interested in improving their options, they should focus on jobs for which they could actually do the work.  Instead, many of these people are playing a numbers game much like playing the lottery “If I apply enough places, one of them may be ‘a winner!'”

What if they had, instead, made the same effort to be a viable candidate.  Look for the jobs that are a reasonable fit.  Present themselves as qualified enough to at least get an interview.  Research the job, research the company, and network to find unadvertised opportunities.  They could work to get the job as a viable candidate, not just as someone that hopes to be selected at random.

The same ideas apply to those of us that are employed.  How are we presenting ourselves to our managers, our colleagues, our customers, and even our employees?   Are we blindly applying for anything and everything?  Ignoring the need and just blindly saying, “Please take my project, please buy my product, please promote me to a job I can’t do, please give me a raise I haven’t earned!”

Or do we make the focused effort to be the “right fit?”   To do the work necessary to be “of value” to others?

This simple focus on the right perspective can be very powerful.  This drives your behaviour and is a strong way to communicate that you are a person of value to others and worthy of consideration.


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.