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Trend: Desperate Employers Contacting Job Applicants They Passed Over Years Ago

Dive In
  • Writer's picturePeter Harris

Things are changing. There was more evidence of that this week as a news headline proved the career advisor team here at CareerBeacon to be wrong about one of our long-held beliefs.

A while back I wrote in our article “The four lies that employers commonly tell job seekers” that when a potential employer tells you that although they aren’t going to hire you now, they will keep your resume on file for future positions, this is generally not true.

Usually, employers tell you this to soften the blow of rejection; it isn’t easy to let someone down. When it actually comes time to hire for a new role, they’re not going to start looking through old rejected applications. They’re going to solicit new ones.

In that article, I went so far as to write: “When was the last time an employer called you a year after you submitted an application and said, “Hey, remember me? I interviewed you for a job last year and you didn’t get it. Well, a new job has just come up that I think you’re perfect for. You want it?” Never? I thought so.”

That brings us to now. It finally happened. The post-covid recovery has turned the labour market upside down and is creating areas of labour shortage conditions. This week, the Wall Street Journal reported on a new trend: desperate for workers, employers are contacting applicants they passed over years ago, to see if they still want the job.

Apparently digging through the archive of dusty applications actually pays off. Fast-food chain White Castle was so hard up for workers that they contacted 550,000 former job applicants, some of whose original applications dated all the way back to 2017. As many as 32,000 of them (roughly 6 percent) said that they were potentially still interested in current jobs at White Castle.

Other companies are getting in touch with former applicants as well. The WSJ quotes a young woman who was recently contacted by the Cheesecake Factory five years after she initially applied to work there. “I thought it was hilarious,” said the college student. “I guess it took them a while to get back to me.”

So, not only are employers truly keeping resumes on file for years, but sometimes they actually do crack open that file for future positions. I stand corrected. You can check out the other common lies you are likely to hear during the recruitment process.

The labour market is tightening here in Canada too as many sectors are starting to experience labour shortage conditions. Check out the thousands of jobs available right now on CareerBeacon.

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