The Job Search Culture; Yes, Santa Claus Is Real

For many years, I maintained a blog that was designed to document the intricate details of my job search. Having experienced the job search in both the antiquated and the digital realm provided stark differences in recruiting practices. It’s interesting how we have evolved from the good old days of the classified section of the newspaper, where jobs in dominating industries were plentiful. It’s interesting how we have evolved from interviewing direct with the supervisor to a snooty millennial recruiter who knows nothing about the job—or even skill sets—they are trying to fill.

That blog is no longer in operation because I have since found a job, thus there’s nothing left to record. But that won’t stop me from reminiscing from time to time. Remember the 99’ers? Yes, they were all the rage, and my blog is filled with 99er-related anecdotes. Where are they today? No longer making headline news, that’s for sure. Because of the low unemployment rate, I suspect all is right with the world. Or is the job search bullshit and finger pointing being twisted in a different way?

Ah, good times. Right 99ers?

The recent news of Facebook and Verizon’s blatant age discriminating practices have re-opened the doors for harsh critique of hiring and recruiting practices. These anomalies include:

Online job boards: there’s absolute no way to distinguish if they are real jobs or the ‘ol bait and switch. For example, have you ever come across a posting where all the criteria and education requirements have been met, only to be turned down by saying that job is no longer available. That’s a good way for a company to collect your information, and spam you with products and services for later use. In 2009, these ads were rampant. Today, they’re not even posted by humans. Recruiters resort to software and program bots to do the dirty work for them. These same bots maintain their blogs as well. The wording of many job postings today is mundane and robotic:

Get yourself out there!

Get your job search back on track!

10 Tips To Dominate That Interview!

We’re On the Hunt for Amazing Talent!

Why Companies Give You the Post-Interview Silent Treatment

Why It’s Always Best To Send a Thank You Card After the Interview

….etc.

Just go away, already.

Job coaches, or anyone who thinks their advice is persuasive enough to allude the jobseeker the job of their dreams: Job “coaches” do not offer “advice,” they spew clichés. Yes, they do. I have many of them documented in my previous blog…..from 2009 on.

Boost Your Resume with Robust Keywords!

Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck! (I wish I had a nickel every time I heard this).

Clean Up Your Online Presence

….etc.

All clichés. Don’t listen. Do your own thing. But do spellcheck. And, for the love of God…..it’s résumé——>noun. Not a verb! As far as cleaning up your “online presence,” NO, fuck that.

When my husband was looking for work, I couldn’t wait for him to stumble throughout the job market as I have. During my reign of unemployment, he had no concept of the challenges I faced on a routine basis. I’m not only referring to the rejection. I’m referring to the constant scrutiny of perusing through a barrage of fictitious job postings so I can find that one email address that was addressed to an individual instead of a generic, i.e. recruiting@brokenpimphands.com email kind. I have never applied for a job online unless I was promised an interview.

Yes, that’s right. In the age of constant security breaches and digital hacking, why in the holy mother of shit devils would I volunteer to send my private credentials to the far off land of the dark cyberhole? Don’t treat your information like a used piece of toilet paper. Protect it!

In the late ‘90’s, I was employed as an Administrative Assistant with an IT recruiting firm. For five years, I worked diligently with Lotus Notes. In it, there was a database of job applicants, and there were hundreds of them. The majority of recruiters at that time were recent college graduates (millennials). They were provided daily notifications of contract assignments from whichever client they were recruiting for, which consisted of Motorola and Lucent Technologies. These assignments included information such as: length of contract, and key skill attributes. The recruiters plugged whatever key words the client listed, and boom, numerous résumés would populate. So then, how did the recruiter prefer one résumé over another? It’s an enigma. I guess you have to make a wish on a shooting star that your résumé gets picked. To summarize: as soon as the online job application became prevalent in the job search culture, I already knew. So no, I’m not going to have my information linger and waste away in the land of hacks and vulnerabilities.

I’ve warned my husband about this practice for many years, and he would look at me as if I’m speaking a different language. One day, he was venting his frustration over the lack of response.

“Did you apply online?” I’d ask.

“Yeah!”

“Mm hmm.” I gave him the side eye and went about my business. Nothing more needed to be said at that point.

Time again, I encounter similar frustrations from job seekers over the lack of response from online applications. I can’t say I fathom any empathy. Why would you ever expect anything from a machine? Then, consider you have humans working behind the machines. That’s double trouble. You’re depending your livelihood on humans incapable of distinguishing the difference between you’re and your:img_2746

You see, a job coach/recruiter will never disclose this information. They’re in the business to make money, and the more money they can make off you with the likes of  résumé writing services, or generate revenue from ads for following their mechanical blogs, the better. You’re more likely to get a job holding a sandwich board on the street than recruiter you found on the internet.

Speaking of Linkedin, my account is long gone. DELETED. It’s digital history. A worthless, piece of shit scammy, spammy digital platform that was a glorified Facebook. I recall spending an entire day on that noise, trying to “network.” All it ever produced were plentiful invites from shady recruiters, and a message from a former co-worker looking to “reconnect.” My intent was to reply to her, but I genuinely forgot. A month went by and I realized I haven’t responded yet. Eventually, I thought it’d be best to let sleeping dogs lie. She and I didn’t have the greatest moments together anyway. Why she was reaching out to me remains a mystery.

At this point, with rampant digital indiscretions afflicting the internet, you might be wondering how in the holy hell can one get a job in the digital age?

Well, if you are a college student, you’re in luck. Employers love cheap labor. However, I would make it a point to ask a recruiter at a job fair how the company they are representing treat their long-standing employees. Better yet, ask for an employee who has the longest reign? Is it 20 years? 50 years? One year? Their responses reveal a lot more information than you think. Put them under the microscope the same way they put you under theirs.

Contrary, job fairs at universities always give me a good laugh because it’s an illusion. With the quick turnaround of millennials in the work force, employers are obviously not looking for one of those valuable employees looking to stay long enough into retirement. Yet, the big corps send recruiters to universities to recruit the best and the brightest, only for the “best” leave the company two years after the hire date. Because they got “bored.” (You’d be quite right if you assumed I eyerolled the shit over what I just typed.)

If you’re middle-age, good luck. You are seasoned, full of wisdom, and have an okay-ish work ethic. You probably want your salary to commensurate with your experience. Employers don’t like that, but you’re not willing to work bottom dollar, either. That is why some companies demand a salary history. NO. Instead, indicate that this information is withheld for privacy reasons, and/or put your negotiating skills to the test. You can always inquire what their starting pay is and work your way up. After all, any hiring authority that displays even a hint of disapproval over your request for privacy says more about the company than they realize. If your salary history is asked during the interview process, watch and observe. And more than likely, get the hell out.

If you’re middle-age who landed an interview, don’t be afraid to ask: what is your company culture like? (Am I too old to hang with the millennials post-business hours? Do I thrive on office gossip? Am I a hipster?). Facebook and Verizon bypassed these questions altogether when they targeted to a specific age group, rather than make these opportunities available to ALL.

If you’re an introvert, you’re in big trouble. I got fired at a landscape company because I was “too quiet” and didn’t mingle with my co-workers. They didn’t phrase it that way for legal reasons, but it was leaked later that’s exactly what it was. The Americans shun away from the “quiet” types as if they’re plotting some sort of demonic ritual at their workspace. Americans seem to think that because you spend more time in the workplace than at home, they become acquaintances by default, ergo, they reserve the right to be nosey and get up in your business. NO. The sooner the workforce respects your personal boundaries, the better (and possibly more productive) we introverts become. We might even bid you a good morning and good riddance night.

By the way, that landscape company is no longer in business. And some people thought there’s no Santa Claus. Pfft.

To conclude, network with a close confidante. That is the ONLY promising way to get a gig. For those on the job hunt, I bid you much success. Never stop believing in Santa Claus. 🙂

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