Demanding Transparency--and a Job--in the 2013 Job Market

Credits: Walter Pardo, Managing Partner

Looking for a job in 2013 is hell.

Especially when you’re over 40.

Hoops, hoops and more hoops to jump through.

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Applying for jobs posted on company websites, job sites, LinkedIN, and Craigslist?

Do these jobs really exist?  We wonder. 

If you hear back, it’s a computer generated response that says something like this:

Due to the high volume of applicants you will only be contacted should your experience and skills match an available position.

Then, a week, a month later, same job posting.  Really?  Hundreds of applicants, no one was “it”?

Things I hate: 

Salary requirement?   Really?  How about you tell me what your budget is, what you are willing to pay, and then I tell you if that’s okay.  Don’t act like you are just trying to weed out someone who is looking for more and will quit as soon as they get it.  Really, you are trying to get someone for as low as you can get.  You are screwing me.  It is the most unethical requirement.   And, there is of course the underlying adage, "He who speaks money first....loses."   Seriously.

And, I have more to say on this topic.  It really is the package.  So I actually am “flexible” on salary.  Can I work from home one day a week?  Chop some salary for that “saving”.  Is there one week of vacation, or four?  I’d gladly trade some salary for some extra time off.  How about benefits?  If your plan doesn’t require a big chip in, then that helps too.  Heck, if you actually offer a health plan, then that is big.  What kind of hours do you all work?  10 hours?  Hmmm.  Eight hours?  Well that’s less childcare for me.  There are so many variables.   Seriously.  

Here’s another one that my fellow job seekers and I hate.  The multiple rounds of interviews.  Called in 4-5-6 times to interview for a job.  Sounds like the employer is thorough. Hey, this is a big decision to hire someone, it’s been a long time since we’ve done it, let’s get it right.   Well, you know what five interviews means?  Five nights going to bed nervous, getting your hopes up.  Five times arranging and possibly paying for childcare.  5 train tickets into the city or five gas tank fill ups. Five different outfits.   Several checks made out to the dry cleaner.  Possibly a new outfit bought.  Nails painted.  Hair dyed (seriously). Five times prepping for potential questions:

How can you help our company?
What do you recommend we do to fix our company?
What is your biggest weakness (Yes, this question is still asked)
What salary are you looking for????????????
Do you have any questions for me?

….Five times thank you emails carefully drafted.  And then, email responses that say, we’ve gone with someone else.  Or, we’re not going to hire someone right now.   Or, and this one is unconscionable, Or, no response at all.  I mean all that effort, and you can’t even let me know I didn’t get it?  Hey, this is 2013, you can send me a 6 word email, saying, “Sorry, we went with someone else.”  And then, you guessed it.  A month later, that job posting is back up.  Oh good grief.

It’s a scam. 

I also hate requests like, tell me why you are the best person for this job, why you’d fit in.

Stop making me write essays when you aren’t going to read the application anyway. 
It is all so time consuming. 

Check out some of the questions on this online job application...and this was for a temporary, 3 month-only job:

In 150 characters or fewer, tell us what makes you unique. Try to be creative and say something that will catch our eye!  
Please list 3 reasons why you're perfect for this job.  

What is your desired hourly rate (or previous salary)? Please be specific

Again with the salary requirement.  And, again with the time consuming crap.  
It’s just like the computer application where you upload your resume, and then are required to re-type the whole thing in the little boxes.  Exhausting.  Futile is more like it.

Here’s my requirement.  How about for every job posted, the company posting, is required to then post who they hire.  I get security, you don’t have to post his/her name.  Just post the person’s resume.  I want to see what that person’s experience was.  And, how old that person is.  And, what you’re paying him/her.  Prove to me that you found someone who is all of those things and more.  Heck, just prove to me you actually hire someone, and didn’t just lump all that work on the poor guy in the office who keeps taking on more, with no extra pay, and is “lucky to have a job”.  And, tell me how you found that person.  Was that person selected from the “volume of applicants” you received, or did you ask around, “hey do you know anyone...” so that person came through “who you know”.

I want transparency.

Transparency will help me.  Maybe I should have a better opening line in my cover letter.   Maybe that person really is an expert at multi-tasking, and can prove it.  Watch as I apply to your job posting, and 17 more at the same time.  

Now that I think about it.  How about a common application like with college applications.  Just one application you send in to company postings, Monster, Career Builders, Idealist, you get the drill. 

This could save time.  Why do I need time?  Well, when people ask me, are you at least enjoying your time off?  NO NO NO, I’m not, because I’m writing zillions of cover letters and tailoring my resume to match the job description.  I will match the words so your computer program picks me out of the zillion of resumes.  And, I’m writing sample press releases for you, and sample marketing proposals.  This takes time.  There is no time to enjoy the beautiful day I see out my window.  And, remember, I’m there is no money to take in a play, or go to a movie, or go shopping.  (no tennis lessons either).

And, I’m networking. Network Network. Everyone tells you to network.  So, I’m meeting people I know at their jobs.  Riding the elevator to their floor with people that just seem so blah.  They don’t look so spectacular.  That’s because they got their job before you had to stand out, and make yourself spectacular.  Ah, to have found a job prior to 2008.  When all you had to do was apply, interview once, have some similar skills required, and maybe pass a drug test.

Meantime, the networking ends up being a big time suck, an expense...think train commute, a sandwich, childcare....and then usually ends up with the same conclusion and these comments from your friend or former co-worker:
  “You are so great, I wish we were hiring”
  “I’ll totally keep my ears open”
  “Gotta get back to my desk, I have so much to do.  Ya know they never hired someone to fill the job of someone who quit last month, and now I’m doing double my work load.  And, I didn’t get any pay increase.  Guess, I’m lucky to have a job.  Just look at what you’re going through”

I digress....Back to the online job search.  I see 15 paragraphs of experience required.  So many skills.  And then I see the salary (yes you are kind enough to post it) of $40k/year.  In New York City.   This says entry level to me.  But wow, that’s a lot of experience this person needs.
I also like the proven track record in social media.  10 years of experience.  Hmmm..where was Twitter 10 year ago.  Even Facebook.  They weren’t used as a marketing tool.     #confusing

By now you are definitely saying, boy is this woman/man angry.  Bitter is more like it.  Well yes, I’m bitter.  I was laid off from a high paying job, where I was fiercely loyal.  Sure, it wasn’t perfect near the end, but lots of things weren’t perfect there, but we all put together a good product.  80-percent of my group was laid off.   We got a great package, but it was in early 2009.  We were set free into a world of no jobs.  The worst time ever to find a job. 

I myself have gotten a job.  I knew someone.  Exactly.
The job isn’t perfect.  It’s freelance.  But I’m grateful to have it. As people tell me, it keeps my resume alive, current. The job doesn’t pay much, but I didn’t have to tell them how much I needed to earn when I applied.  Finding childcare is still difficult since the work is sporadic. And, when I get a job interview for a full-time job, I have to take myself off the schedule, which means I don’t get paid. There is no sick or vacation pay for a freelancer. And, as you’ve read above, interviewing for a job costs me money...yes, I will be getting my grays covered up before I go for my next meeting.

Anyway...In the hiring process for this job, I had to apply, to make it “official”, on the company’s website.  I’d already been hired.  So, to all those people who spotted this plum job on the company’s website....sorry, you guessed it.....the job doesn’t really exist.  But it is posted for legal reasons.  (I am not a lawyer, but wonder if this breaks its own law...Fraud...there really is no job even though we’re posting one to not break another law.) But go ahead, apply to the job posting, “because you never know”.  Write an awesome cover letter, upload and re-type your resume.  Attach some great writing samples.   Hit send.  And then watch your email box.  And watch.  And watch. And wait.  Ah, forget it.

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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