Job application processes are gruelling. The CV tweaking, the personalised cover letters, the searching of roles, the lines of questions and then the interview process when those questions are likely to be repeated, and, after all that, you’re still not guaranteed a job. Taking short-cuts can be tempting but when considering your options it’s always best to chew over the moral implications of your actions and in some cases, the legal ones. There are business-social sites that will connect you on social media in a professional capacity and it is these which are being misused more and more often of late.
I’m talking, of course, about Linkedin and speculative applications, the process by which you (the would-be employee) contacts companies ‘out of the blue’ asking about jobs. Perhaps you’re even more gung-ho and you’re messaging directly to offer to take those spotted on the platform, out for a coffee. All of this being with the ulterior motive of employment down the line.
Going straight to the organ grinder can seem like a more direct route to employment, the belief that if you’re sat face-to-face or ear-to-ear with the person who can make your wishes come true, they just will, is actually a myth. More often than not they don’t because they can’t.
I’m not knocking Linkedin; it’s an exceptional site that connects thousands of professionals looking to make sense of their careers, offering access to opportunities they wouldn’t normally get. If there are jobs, the process of application that stands is law abiding. Here’s how…
The legal side of proceedings could get trickier than the casual chat over a coffee might suggest. Companies in the UK and many countries abroad are required, by law to practice due diligence which should weed out any unfair application processes that disadvantage any of their applicants. This, obviously includes favouritism and the disregard for the traditional process altogether.
Numerous companies have built a reputation on fairness and integrity. It is not in their best interests to hand out jobs simply to those who contact them directly or ‘through the back door’. The rules in place are there to protect all people and so anyone speculatively applying for their jobs is likely not to be considered.
The legal ramifications are what stops most companies from taking these sorts of application seriously but before you even start on the route of speculative applications consider the following. How would you feel if you missed out on a job you were perfectly suited for because someone took a shortcut? Because someone knew someone or had an unfair advantage?
Employers know this contravenes both employment law and that of equality laws.
‘The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination in employment or in the provision of training and education on the grounds of any of the following protected characteristics…’
So employers are unlikely to be forthcoming with the job offers after meeting for a coffee because they know it’s immoral. Any actions that could be argued to be akin to favouritism or nepotism create gross inequalities and undermine the rule of law and the traditional job hunting process.
Even if you find yourself sat in front of ‘that friend’ from ‘Firm X’ in HR, when there is a vacancy, a company will have to ‘make it public’ (advertise the role) and their due diligence directives will state that they have to interview at least ‘X number’ of people before they can make a decision. Long gone are the days, where someone knew someone who would hire them on such a basis.
Employees should be hired on their professional virtues and suitability for a role. The culture of Linkedin has created assertive professionals but breaking the mould, ironically enough, is looking more and more like customary applications. Get back to basics. Get on The Job Auction.