The “Shotgun” Approach to Applying for Jobs

by Michael Haberman on July 19, 2011 · 1 comment


When I was a fulltime recruiting manager, responsible for receiving every résumé sent to the company, I typically had a negative reaction to anyone using the “shotgun” approach of applying for jobs. I would receive multiple résumés from individuals from multiple sources based on any ad that had the company name attached to it. They would be signed up with a slew of “headhunters”  that faxed me résumés as quickly as they got them. It was never a favorite tactic of mine and anytime I give anyone job hunting advice I steer them clear of that tactic.

But perhaps times are chaning. The Tuesday, July 12th issue of The Wall Street Journal had an article entitled The Unemployed Worker’s New Friend: Outsourcers. Writer Joe Light tells of job hunters using outsourcers to run résumé blitz on their behalf. There are a number of firms out there that for a monthly fee will send out a job hunter’s résumé, to just about anyone. These outsourcers are typically based in India and utilize workers whose spoken language skills are not good enough to allow them to work in call centers. The outsourcer takes the job hunter’s search parameters, gets on the computer and starts sending résumés based on the established parameters. As an example according to Mr. Light “In a span of 240 hours over three months last summer … staff applied to 711 jobs on behalf of IT Manager…” The candidate did say he got dozens of responses. He however, found the job he took through networking. Other job hunters have gone hog wild and have applied for as many as 20,000 jobs, 10,000 in a week.

According to the article it does appear to work. Afterall, job hunting, like some sales jobs becomes a numbers game in some cases. And the more résumés you send out the more likely you are to get some hits. But there are downsides as well. You may receive a call for a job that you have no interest in. You may receive a call from a company that you had no idea you had applied to and getting over that intial stumbling block may start off things on the wrong foot. And be warned… it has a tendency to piss recruiters off.

The article, however, has gotten me curious. Who out there has dealt with this? I would like to hear from both recruiters and job seekers and want to know both the upside and downside of this approach.

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