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Why You No Longer Find Good Jobs On Newspaper Ads

Don’t bother picking up the newspaper to search for good job opportunities.

In the past, the classified space on newspapers used to be where people could turn to for useful information. If they needed to buy a used car, they could flip to classified. If they wanted to buy a house, they could run through the classified ads.

And, if they were looking for a new job, they could turn to classified ads as well.

But should we really still be doing that if we are looking for a fulfilling career in today’s context?

Here are some reasons why we think you are much better off dumping the classified section in your search for a good job, and to look elsewhere instead.

1. Companies Prefer Hiring Internally, Or Ex-Employees

It’s an open fact that most big companies would prefer internal hires. The clear advantage with an internal hire, or an internal promotion in some cases, is that the company already know the employee’s ability and the quality of his or her work.

According to some studies, between 40 to 60% of external hires are “unsuccessful” compared to 25% of people who are hired internally. This makes a lot of sense, since there more uncertainties involved with an external hire. More so, the cost of hiring someone externally is also much higher for the company (e.g. headhunting fee, advertisement fee) leading to a greater net lost for the company.

Alternatively, hiring managers or HR executives may also turn to recruiting ex-employees who have previously done well at the company. These could include ex-interns whom they already know, or ex-colleagues whom they used to work with.

If a great job at a great company becomes available, you can bet there is an equally great chance the position would be filled internally before it even becomes available to people outside of the company, unless there is some inherent problem with the job, such as a terrible boss or painful working hours.

2. Through Internal Reference

If the job cannot be filled by someone who is already working at the company or who the company has had past interactions with, the company’s HR would still be able to tap upon the existing network of its current employees.

Renowned businessman Jim Rohn once said, You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.” This holds true for a lot of things in life. We believe it applies as well when it comes to hiring of an employee.

If a good employee of your company recommends a friend for a position, there is a good chance that the employee would have vetted through his or her friend’s suitability for the role, and his character fit for the company. As the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together. And also, there’s that small fact that the employee would not risk his or her reputation at the company by recommending someone who is incapable of performing.

This is one of the reasons why many companies reward their employees for successful job referrals. HR managers know that the strength of internal referrals cannot be ignored. A good employee is more likely to have friends who could become equally good employees.

3. Companies That Have Strong Ties To Their Alumni Network

There are some top companies around the globe that have very strong ties with certain universities. Some of these ties could be formal collaboration, such as an internship programmes or a scholarship programmes. Others could be less formal (yet no less stronger) such as people in the company being alumni themselves and knowing the staff and management of the universities.

For example, many of Google’s employees are graduates from Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Google also likes to hire a lot of ex-Microsoft employees. Microsoft in turn hires a lot of graduates from the University of Washington and other top universities in Washington. Other companies such as Apple (San Jose, Stanford) and Facebook (Stanford, UC Berkeley) have their own universities whom they hire a lot from.

There is no denying the level of talent these universities produced. Yet at the same time, it would be naïve to not believe that some of these companies simply have stronger ties with these universities that lesser companies can only dream of having. And it is through these ties that these companies are able to hire the best, fresh and young talents.

4. The Headhunter Route

The headhunter route is where companies pay top dollars to engage headhunters who would then help them seek out the right talent, regardless of whether these talents are actively seeking for job opportunities.

The simple logic in this scenario is that top talents that companies are looking for are unlikely to be active jobseekers. As such, the onus is on headhunters to source for these talents and to facilitate the hiring or poaching of these talents once they have been found.

More often than not, headhunters who are searching for talents are discreet in ensuring that their clients (the hiring company) are kept anonymous until they have ascertain that the talent they are looking at is interested in the role. That’s why you would hardly ever see them advertising out in the open on newspaper or any other form of media.

5. Job Portals

Job portals are where companies or recruitment agencies (on behalf of companies) will advertise roles that they are looking to fill. Job seekers who are looking for roles in certain industries can easily screen out irrelevant job opportunities and focus on what they are interested in. Typically, application and CV are sent and received online, with no manual process involved.

Who Uses Classified Ads?

That is not to say that classified ads are totally useless in today’s context. Rather, classified ads have been reduced to roles in which applicants are not hired for white-collar jobs and may not require a CV prior to interview (e.g. walk-in interviews) or mass recruitment exercises and part-time or temp job positions.

So before moaning about the lack of good job opportunities in the newspaper ads next time you flip through it, perhaps it is first worth asking if you might be searching in the wrong place to begin with.


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