Looking for a Job – The Full-Time Job from Hell

Over the past few days I’ve had multiple conversations about the job searching process. Some of them have been with myself, some have been with others. One thing me, myself, I and everyone else I’ve spoken with has agreed on is that the process sucks. It’s broken. It’s been left on the side of the road and needs to be fixed. Somebody call AAA.

Non-HR folks are usually surprised when I can commiserate about how painful this process tends to be. In their minds, I’m part of the group of evil sadists who have created the problem.

one of them

But trust me, I know your pain. I know the agony of uploading a resume and then having to complete an application with the EXACT. SAME. INFORMATION. I, too, cringe when having to answer irrelevant questions like when you graduated high school or what your last salary was. Or worse yet, the salaries for all of the jobs you’re listing, along with the name, address and current contact info for each of your former managers. If we aren’t connected on LinkedIn, chances are, I don’t have it.

rebukeLet’s not forget the cover letter requirement. Heaven forbid you just look at a resume and gather why the person is interested in the job. I absolutely suggest cover letters for career change situations. If your job history has been in sales it may not be immediately apparent why you’re applying for a job as a social worker. But if your job history is a long line of social work or social work adjacent roles, it should be pretty obvious. Cover letters should not be required to apply for a job.

We need to stop making it difficult for people to work with us. We want great people but we don’t want to value their time. I can just imagine the number of great candidates who have been lost to a tedious application process. Who wants to spend 30 minutes applying to one job?

Don’t get me wrong. I get that an application is a legally binding document whereas a resume is not. I get that cover letters are often used to assess writing skills. Some employers call themselves weeding people out by not making it too easy to apply. “If it’s too easy, everybody will apply! We only want the cream of the crop who doesn’t mind spending an entire evening applying to our jobs!” Well, that’s a place I’m dying to work at. Not.

The hiring process is a window into what it’s like to work at an organization. This includes the application. If the process is tedious, time-consuming and disjointed it reflects an organizational culture that doesn’t value people. For example,

  • Long, drawn out application process
  • Waiting several weeks to contact people to schedule an interview
  • Bringing people in for more than two interviews

If you don’t value someone’s time when they are trying to work at your organization, that already tells me you won’t value it when they work there. Hard pass. 

job-search-5The job search/application process needs to be fixed. All applications should be mobile-friendly and involve no more than three steps. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.  Sometimes I just want to apply for a job real quick during my commute. Resumes alone should be accepted. Until we come up with something better than resumes. Interviews should be scheduled in a timely manner. Communication should be consistent during the process. It’s really not that difficult to create a more person-focused process.

Value people. Value their time. Value their desire to work at your organization. Value the fact that after they’ve sifted through numerous job postings (another mission from hell) they’ve decided to take the time to apply to your job. Then don’t make them use too much of it. Looking for a job shouldn’t BE a full-time job.

If we really want to make a difference, let’s also have all job postings include salary ranges, realistic expectations and only consider requirements as things that are legitimately required to be able to do the job. What a wonderful world this could be!



Real time image of someone who’s spent the day searching and applying for jobs.

Put an End to the Secret Job Search

I recently had a conversation with a recruiter in which he told me he doesn’t advise his clients who are employed to post their resumes on job boards because their current employer may see it. I’m not a fan of indiscriminately posting ones resume online either but not for that reason. I just don’t happen to believe utilizing the major job boards is the best, most efficient method of finding a job.

Of course this conversation wasn’t the first time I’d heard someone suggest that a job seeker should keep their job search under wraps for fear of repercussions from their current employer. The irony being that an employer that would penalize an employee for job hunting i.e. wanting to find a position that utilizes his/her knowledge and skills, pays well, offers professional development opportunities, is fulfilling, etc. can probably blame itself for driving the employee to look for another job in the first place. What’s wrong with seeking a better opportunity? Why should this have to be done in secret?

Going back to my point about the major job boards, why throw your resume up and see what sticks when you can do something that makes a lot more sense and will be a lot more effective – utilize your networks. When I am looking for a job, I am not shy about letting it be known. You never know who might have just the right connection or opportunity. I also utilize social media – primarily LinkedIn and Twitter – and I would encourage any job seeker to do the same. You won’t do yourself any favors by limiting your search to posting your resume in anonymous mode on some huge job board.

As for employers, if you find out an employee is seeking employment elsewhere, don’t get mad. Employees who are dissatisfied tend to be less productive, so they may be doing you a favor. If the employee is a top performer, consider what, if anything, could be done to encourage them to stay. If there’s nothing to be done, wish them well and thank them for the service they provided to your organization when they move on to the next opportunity. Don’t behave like a petty, childish teenager and start treating the employee poorly i.e. not inviting them to meetings, keeping them off projects, etc.

We have to remember that people are not property. Employers do not own their employees. People have varying motivating factors and they don’t remain the same forever. There is absolutely no reason a person should have to sneak around simply because they seek a better or different employment opportunity. This is not a bad thing. Secrets, lies, dishonesty, lack of transparency and poor communication – those are bad things. A great place to work would not encourage those characteristics and behaviors in its employees, no matter how long they plan on staying. A not-so-great place to work shouldn’t be surprised someone is seeking other employment and should focus on retention vs. retaliation.

Twitter Transparency: I’m Gonna Be Me

Twitter is by far one of my favorite social media platforms. I use it for news, socializing, entertainment, career information and more. It really is one of the greatest things ever (in a  “provided all of your basic needs have been met already” type of way.) Continue reading

Glassdoor Introduces New Job Search Experience

I’m a huge fan of technology and working smarter not harder. I am so glad that many HR functions can now be automated or at least enhanced by technology such as by using an Applicant Tracking System. What did we ever do without them? 

While I’m always on the hunt for tools to help me do my job better, I’m also on the hunt for tools to help me find a better job. As such, I am intrigued by Glassdoor’s recent launch of a new job search experience. Continue reading

#DayInTheLife: Crazy Candidates

January 7 – I had to make a few calls to schedule interviews. Some applicants I reached immediately.  I also had to leave a few voicemail messages and have the applicants return my calls at their convenience.

This is a pretty basic HR task, but one particular applicant stands out from this exchange. She returned my call based on the voicemail which stated my name, organization and why I was calling. Typical. We go on to schedule the interview, I tell her I will send an email confirmation and prepare to say goodbye. Before I can do so, the applicant asks these questions:

  • Can you tell me the name of the organization? (Huh? I’ve said it multiple times.)
  • Can you send me the job posting? (Didn’t you see it before you applied?) Continue reading

Happy New Year! – 2016

This is the time of year where people often make resolutions, set goals, vow to become a better person in any number of ways – either personally or professionally. I’m no different. I’ve made my fair share of resolutions over the years, predominantly personal (lose weight, change apartments, drink more water,etc.) I have a few of those this year too, but I’m determined to make some real strides in my professional life in 2016.

I’ve been listening to Shonda Rhimes’ book, Year of Yes, via Audible and one of the things she said really stood out to me – Deciding is not Doing. One short sentence. Four simple words. Infinite possibilities. Deciding is not Doing.

Continue reading