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I am looking for a job and my main requirements can be summarized in a couple of words. I imagine that the more job applications I submit, the more offers I will get.

Writing a spider to visit a dozen websites per day and apply to all positions mentioning those keywords sounds like the way to go. After I get an interview invitation I can always check on the company and simply decline it. No loss for me besides 10 minutes.

Why is not everyone doing this?

This is to address some of the concerns in published answers. I am not editing the above questions as the answers are a response to it, not to an edited version of it.

(1) CV - I believe the CV should be constant, instead of tailored to each employer. Let's not flamewar on this. (2) motivational letter - AI is quite handy here, the trivial solution being sending a constant letter in the lines of "great company, I am fit because ..."

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    "I believe the CV should be constant, instead of tailored to each employer." You can believe that if you like. The majority of employers don't believe it though. Nov 23, 2021 at 8:51

9 Answers 9

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It's simply not a good strategy for finding any kind of skilled work.

The most likely scenario here is that you spend a day or two creating your crawler bot, it fills application forms out with nonsense or wrong answers (remember that most of them have at least one custom question), and then you get blacklisted from the very companies you want to apply to (they'll probably assume you're an inexperienced recruiter trying to make a quick buck.)

The alternative is to spend a day or two finding perhaps half a dozen jobs you genuinely want to apply to, and then sending decent applications for those positions that are much more likely to land you interviews. If you can't get interviews with any of those companies manually, then you need to rethink your CV & the roles you're applying for. Applying to hundreds more automatically is not the answer.

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    From a logistical point perspective: the custom questions/requests are usually quite varied and are usually in the body of the job ad. "Please include a link to your portfolio on your resume." "Use this subject line when emailing your resume." "Please complete a personality assessment." This isn't a trivial task to program.
    – zmike
    Nov 24, 2021 at 22:24
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This is exactly what recruiters do.

Now, think back to the last time you got a message from a recruiter and thought "Wow, this is a thoughtful message, by someone who carefully considered my profile, and is really reaching out to me personally, because I am a good match for a position."

I can guarantee you that if you have an example in your head, it's one of the rare few who don't do this, and it's exactly why smart people don't do this when applying for jobs either.

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  • Once I got hired like this and both me and the company were happy "Q: hey, I'm a new HR and saw your phonenumber in a notebook, do you want to work for us? A: no. R: awesome cooperation for years".
    – Vorac
    Nov 23, 2021 at 8:10
  • Lots of people get hired by recruiters like that, because recruiters poisoned the well so much that it's pretty common. But at the end of the day it's either pure luck or the company and/or applicant are forced to put in extra work to make sure there's an actual match after the soulless email.
    – Erik
    Nov 23, 2021 at 8:14
  • Just because it is generally bad doesn't mean it must be bad 100% of the time. I would say my good/bad experience ratio is about 10 to 1 though. Most of them are terrible, have no idea what they're doing, and are simply pumping out numbers.
    – Nelson
    Nov 23, 2021 at 12:20
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Why is not everyone doing this?

Because, job hunting is a process that needs to be carefully crafted. Just like you won't want someone to waste your time with random job offer/ opportunities, organizations also like to see relevant job applications, where the applicant is actually interested in taking up that role, given that they are chosen.

Moreover, every job application should be customized to the job description / requirements, it's not just sending a blanket resume to every job opportunity that matches some of the keywords - if you want to have a job that you'll love, you need to match more than only keywords in the job advertisement / opening - you need to know the roles/ responsibilities, company culture, work environment and much more.

That is why, people who actually want to save their time and effort, and actually want to appear as a candidate who would want that job - do careful homework before applying for any open position.

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Because smart employers can weed you out

Have you ever gotten any automated messages from companies? Do they remotely read like they're designed for you? It doesn't even need to be an automated message, but just lazy mass mailing.

You bulk mail employers, and the only ones that'll interview you will be the bottom of the barrel. Better you get all those jobs so we don't have to.

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I don't think that programming such a spider, if it has to correctly parse every page on the internet containing a job description and respond to it if necessary, is that simple at all. However don't let that withhold you from trying. Don't actually send any generated applications. Just test first if you actually manage to write a program that generates correct applications for the majority of the cases over a wide range of data. Sounds far from trivial to me.

You also mentioned that you are convinced that your CV should always be the same and that you are not willing to budge on this point. However this is a really strange, unusual and counter-intuitive idea. How can you possibly think that tailoring your CV to the job is a bad practice? For example most employers will be totally uninterested in your extensive knowledge and experience about/with obscure programming language X or obscure library Y. However if an job advertisement specifically mentions those, why not adding those to that particular CV?

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This is a quality vs quantity situation, do you want lots of interview offers or do you want really good interview offers?

If you need a job, any job and don't care what it is, how much it pays or any of that stuff then this can work. It's effectively the time-tested way of getting retail or wait-staff jobs after all. Because if the employer's perspective is that they need a warm body that can do the the job and pre-interview the candidates (aside from the obvious complete trainwrecks) are interchangeable then once you've optimised your CV for the general type of role yes it's a numbers game.

Even in "skilled" professions it can work - sort of. If your skill set is fairly niche and there aren't many candidates on the market you'll probably get an interview just by having the skills on your CV and a pulse.

The problem is when there's a fair amount of competition, then it does't work very well. This is because (for the most part) you're going to get the employers who are looking for skilled candidates with much the same mindset as the retail industry. They just need someone who can more or less do the job and for whatever reason can't seem to get one of the "better" opportunities.

This leads to a great proportion of the potential employers who respond to this approach being the sort you wouldn't really want to work for unless you're desperate. Low pay, rubbish working conditions, poor treatment of staff, drudge work, or any combination thereof.

Of course you're doing a bit of filtering on those who respond to weed out those you don't want:

After I get an interview invitation I can always check on the company and simply decline it. No loss for me besides 10 minutes.

Which is sensible and suggests that you aren't particularly desperate and want a high-quality position. The thing is high-quality positions are in more demand, and as a result they can afford to be more discerning in who they invite to interview. Since you're already giving other candidates a head start (since they are going to be tailoring their CV and application to the company and role) you're probably going to get less of those invites, and carry that penalty with you through the process even if you do.

There's another danger here - by automating the application process and effectively only looking at the ones you've had positive outcomes from (i.e. an interview invite) from you're crippling your feedback loop and that's going to make it very hard for you to improve.

Say for example there's 100 job openings that match your keywords, and your crawler does it's thing and dutifully applies to all 100. You get 30 interview invites back and 2 of them are at companies you're happy with and you accept. Hurrah! You're clever strategy is clearly working and you can pat yourself on the back. Except can you? How many of those 100 openings would you have accepted? You don't know. And that's a problem, if the answer was 2 your system was amazing, if it is 3 or even 5 it's probably doing pretty well. But what if it's 20, or 30? How many of those could you have converted to interviews with direct attention?

If this isn't your first job hunt you probably have a rough idea in your mind of what your hit-rate is like on converting applications to interview on the good ones but without even knowing how many "good ones" there were in the first place you don't know. Even if you stick to the philosophy that one-CV-fits-all is the way and that generic cover letters are fine you would still want to be able to make those generics the best they could be.

Finally you're somewhat re-inventing the wheel with a hexagon here - many job sites these days have extremely streamlined search-apply flows. You can typically save your keyword-based search with the appropriate parameters (wage, location etc) and can apply and send your saved CV with a click. For applying to roles where you're happy to send one of your standard CVs the process takes seconds, and in my experience they typically allow multiple CVs to be saved so you can still benefit from at least broad-stroke tailoring. And of course because you're engaged in the process before the CV is sent if you see a role you really want and are prepared to invest the time polishing the application until it gleams you can do.

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  • Good answer. And even if they are just looking for a warm body, why not choose one that appears to want to work for them? If there were generally only a couple of applicants per job opening, this might work to the advantage. When there is competition, it is mostly useless. Nov 23, 2021 at 17:38
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The difference is the hiring person passively waiting for resumes to come in and looking for the best fit. Or the hiring person actively going through a recruiters list.

Those passively waiting expect a bit of customization, to the narrow field or job description they are advertising about (you can even pander to the company if you want).

Those going through a more generalized list, expect more generalized resume's, extra bonus points for catering to the field. Double extra points if it fits the job they are hiring for, because you can't apply directly for the job.

You want to make an use a general and bland CV for jobs that require direct applications? Expect call backs for cashiers, call centers, QA, bland drone like jobs.

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How about a two-phase system? Hand-select a dozen to approach by hand, and use the spider to 'approach' a hundred others.

Put your energy into the dozen, while seeing what happens with the others.

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One of the problems with this approach is that jobhunting is a time-delayed dynamic process instead of a linear one. You apply for a dozen of jobs and ... nothing happens. A couple of days later you get interview invitations. Imagine if you apply to thousands of jobs - you must enjoy reading emails.

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  • Oh, use a different email address for the spider. Nov 27, 2021 at 1:07

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