. . . to which I say BS!
I’ve been thinking a lot about respect lately. Or, more specifically, the antonym of respect – disrespect. Finding yourself between jobs in your prime earning years is daunting and demoralizing, particularly with mortgage payments, kids and their incessant need for food, and whatnot.
When I was downsized a few years ago, I had a generous severance package and thought it would just be a few months before I found my dream job. Optimism can be a character flaw, too. Weeks turned to months and months turned to years. More than two years now. There have been short, contract positions in between but so far nothing permanent, full-time. Certainly no dream job.
But Still We Persist
I treat my job search like a full-time job. It is rare that I turn on the television during the day and my non-job related web searches are infrequent. I spend a minimum of four hours, usually closer to seven, searching, researching and applying for jobs most days.
And on most days it feels like shouting into a soundproof room. Fun Fact: the product-testing organization I worked for had a soundproof room. It is very disorienting to speak and not hear any ambient echoes. It could well be a torture technique.
If I find five quality job leads in a day, it takes about 45 minutes to research each company, identify the correct person to whom to address the cover letter, update and modify each cover letter and resume as required. That is before I even apply, whereby I face AST software so favoured by Human Resources, in which I am required to enter all of that information yet again. So, by my measure, on average, it takes about an hour per job.
All of the above would be fine if I had any confidence my work meant anything. But it isn’t working. Not by a longshot.
The System is Broken
“Ghost Jobs” are posted where an internal candidate has already been selected but an organization’s human resources policies state that a job must be publicly posted and qualified candidates must be interviewed. What a waste of time. What a waste of money. What a waste of everyone’s good will.
I have sat for interviews where if I had lit myself on fire, I doubt the people on the hiring committee would have noticed. I save sat for interviews where it was clear they had not taken the time to look at my cover letter, CV or submitted work samples. I have sat for interviews where I have very seriously thought about getting up, packing up my materials and walking out.
But my absolute, all-time least favourite way to be treated is when someone from the interview panel tells me that their policy is to respond to candidates not matter what. The more insistent they are in making the claim, the more my faith in this claim plummets…
Ultimately, it comes down to respect on both sides. If organizations want to hire serious people for roles, then treat the candidates seriously. If you see an applicant has 20-30 years of experience in more senior positions, perhaps asking if they think themselves to be overqualified isn’t your best move. They know their experience – and their motivations – far better than you. If the job isn’t real, then don’t post it. Lobby your organization to have your Human Resource policies changed to be something more Humane. And if you tell someone that they will hear from you, damn well do it. Show them the respect you would want in the same position. Because one day, perhaps soon, you might.