​Dear Job Seekers and Colleagues in Recruitment,

As we navigate the hustle and bustle of talent acquisition, every day brings forth new challenges and opportunities. In my role as a recruiter, I’ve recently encountered a common yet perplexing trend: the influx of applications from candidates who seem to overlook or misunderstand job requirements.

The Dilemma: When Job Titles Speak Louder Than Words

In a recent recruitment drive, I encountered a particularly interesting scenario. The position in question was for a Quality Assurance Engineer, and to avoid any ambiguity, I explicitly included “NOT a software quality engineer” in the job title. (Yes, the job title, not just in the job description). Despite this clear distinction, the floodgates opened, inundating me with applications from only software professionals.

I also posted jobs in Rail. Again, I posted in bold (twice) that “only candidates with rail/civil engineering sector experience will be considered.” Did anyone pay attention? Nope. Not even one in fact.

Understanding the Mismatch: Why Do Candidates Apply Anyway?

This prompts the question: Why do candidates apply for roles that are clearly not aligned with their skill set or experience? It’s a multifaceted challenge that requires a closer look at the motivations behind these seemingly misaligned applications.

​1. The Eagerness Conundrum


Some candidates express enthusiasm for roles they believe they can grow into, even if their current skills don’t precisely match the requirements.


While enthusiasm is commendable, it’s crucial to strike a balance. Aspiring candidates should carefully assess the alignment of their skills with the specified job requirements.​

2.The Unrelenting Job Market


In today’s competitive job market, individuals might cast a wide net in their applications, hoping for any opportunity.


To streamline the process, recruiters can emphasise the importance of targeted applications, ensuring that candidates understand the specific qualifications needed for success in a given role.

​3. Clarity in Communication


Clear communication is vital in job postings, yet candidates may misinterpret or overlook specific details.


Recruiters should refine job descriptions, providing explicit information about the role and qualifications required. Including additional context can (hopefully) help mitigate misunderstandings.​

4. The Pull of Company Reputation


Candidates may be drawn to companies or industries with strong reputations, applying for positions regardless of their compatibility.


While acknowledging the appeal of a reputable organisation, recruiters can underscore the importance of a mutual fit, both in terms of skills and cultural alignment.​

5. Leveraging Technology Responsibly


Automated application processes make it easy for candidates to apply in bulk, sometimes without a thorough review of job requirements.


Implementing thoughtful features, such as pre-screening questions, can prompt candidates to confirm their understanding of the role before submitting their application.

​Moving Forward: Nurturing a More Aligned Application Process

As I face this challenge, my focus is on refining my approach to attract candidates who genuinely align with the positions we’re offering. It’s an opportunity for both recruiters and applicants to engage in a more meaningful and efficient recruitment process. I have called numerous applicants (obviously not all) to explain why I will not be considering their application, rather than just not respond. This is time consuming as a recruiter but worth it if it means I can help someone to understand where they are going wrong in their application process and save them time and future disappointment.

Let’s continue the dialogue and work together to ensure that each application represents a thoughtful and informed step towards a mutually beneficial professional journey.

Best Regards,

Your dedicated recruiter(who always makes a point of respectfully and thoroughly reading through every applicant’s CV)