Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Banana Experiment

100+ applications per job... I receive on average over 100 applications for each job that I advertise online, and the majority of those applications come with a cover letter. Some cover letters show original thought, but over half of them are generic. A generic cover letter starts with a some variation of "To Whom It May Concern:", includes descriptions of traits like being a hard worker and problem solver, and fails to mention anything specific about the job being advertised. I began to wonder if people were bothering to read my job ads, so I ran The Banana Experiment.

The Banana Experiment went like this... I advertised a job and guaranteed a personal, handwritten response within 24 hours to every job seeker's application. The response was to include just a few words,"Yup - Let's Talk" or "Nope", to indicate if the applicant was being considered for the job or not. To get the guarantee, all one had to do was write the word 'banana' in the subject line of the email application. The results surprised me. Out of 82 applications for one ad (that's a lot for one ad), 71 people wrote 'banana', and then most proceeded to include a generic cover letter. I, to the best of my knowledge, responded to every 'banana' within 24 hours.

My little experiment tells me that job seekers are paying attention, but they don't know how to connect with employers. Job Seekers not knowing how to connect with employers is understandable. MOST online applications will go unanswered, and a system that provides no feedback is hard to improve upon. If I get 100 applications per job, at least 99 people aren't going to get the position. A recent Fortune Magazine article (The New Jobless) mentions a man named a Adam Schulz who sent out over 200 online applications and received 0 responses. 200 applications and no responses? Yikes!

No comments:

Post a Comment