The Online Job Search: From 2004 to Current, Nothing’s Changed

I have not been enthralled with the job search since 2014, but I’ve recently encountered some rather dubious tweets from recruiters (or so they claim) that leads me to believe many of their questionable practices are still in place. From 2004 to 2014, I have never experienced the authenticity of hiring practices that existed before the digital era.

From 1996 to 2000, I worked for an IT consulting firm, doing business as a glorified staffing agency who caters exclusively to computer professionals. On rare occasions, the firm would have permanent positions available, but recruiters of the time didn’t focus on them as there was no money to be made. All the money was generated from fulfilling contract gigs; jobs with 6-month to a year contracts with highly recognizable clients, such as Motorola. Motorola would send a list of temporary job openings along with an estimated “end date” depending on the project, to the employment agency. Each recruiter worked off their own clientele with pending projects, and worked tirelessly to fill as many job openings as possible. These recruiters worked under a quota, which left little room to familiarize themselves about the job they’re trying to fill. This is a recipe for disaster.

The typical workday went this like: a recruiter will check their client’s list of job openings first thing in the morning. They plop themselves in front of the computer and enter whatever relevant keywords the client has listed in the job description. From there, their search populates hundreds of searches and select winning names either by familiarity (the contractor worked for the company before) or they close their eyes and point.

(I wish I was kidding about the latter.)

When it came to interviewing candidates, there have been numerous occasions where the recruiter was downright dismissive for not taking the time to study the details of a particular job. Too often, the candidates will often ask for intricate information about the job. If I had a nickel for every time I heard, “Sorry sir, I don’t know that much about the job, let me give you to the regional manager,” I’d be rich as Jeff Bezos.

Ok, not that rich, but pretty damn close.

When I was under the employ of the IT employment agency, it was an uncanny foreshadow to the counterproductive nature of these databases and the job search. If you are, or were, a job seeker who submitted a résumé online, but immediately had doubts as you suspected it goes into a black cyberhole, you guessed correct. So when I entered the job market in 2004, I knew I was fighting a long, lost battle.

The only advantage I had was my acquired knowledge of these databases, so I could save myself the stress by not applying online in the first place. I searched for fax numbers and personal email addresses instead, and submitted my résumé the old-fashioned way. And I got responses, albeit not in every instance, because the application process of faxing résumés was so few and far between. I’m willing to bet I got more responses using antiquated methods than applying online. I just fucking knew better.

From there, the job search became progressively worse. There were unsettling tactics everywhere. My job search encountered online job boards contain mountains of fake job postings. I’ve heard testimonials from candidates who applied for a job online, but no longer available, even though it’s still posted on the company web site. LinkedIn, the social media site that’s supposed to be catered to the business professional, is really nothing but a cesspool of marketing scum and scammers, also a site commemorated by online recruiters. And the Human Resources of today; well, they see fit to preach you about maintaining proper business etiquette, but they are terribly misguided when it comes to matching the candidate with the job. They’re more concerned with finding just the right amount of superficiality to “fit in” with the hipster environment than they are credentials. This is where age discrimination occurs, and the shit recruiters are getting away with it.

When my husband was looking for work, he contacted about ten recruiters who sporadically reached out to him with job openings in the past. This time, though, not a single recruiter demonstrated any interest to work alongside him, and many of them didn’t bother to return my husband’s phone calls. His experience further confirmed my belief that recruiters are best described as used car salesmen: they talk a good game just to get your money. Their strategy is confined to the monetary evils of the promised land.

Alas, the scum practices of recruiters have evolved into scummier practices in 2019. I empathize with today’s job seeker who has to endure this kind of bullshit in their job search. Recruiters somehow upped their game and now resort to manufactured outrage.

Although I am no longer looking for employment, I couldn’t help but notice an idiotic tweet from someone who claims to be a recruiter. I shall refer to her as “No Thank You.” Miss “No Thank You” tweets, to paraphrase: “I won’t even consider a candidate who can’t be bothered to send a ‘thank you’ note after an interview.”

I realize recruiters have their own set of rules and criteria when matching candidates with the right job, and yes, manners are important. Contrary, there’s no doubt in my mind that recruiters are so emotionally needy and narcissistic that authoritarian rules need to be implemented and enforced. But then I looked at the number of retweets, likes, and replies. Each category numbered in the millions. I thought this was weird. Miss “No Thank You” is not a celebribot, or anyone considered remotely high-profile.

In that same tweet, she attached a link to her page to expound the importance of good business etiquette and manners. With all of my ad and cookie-blocking mechanisms enabled, I clicked on the link to give her the (unlikely) benefit of the doubt.

With the page opened, I checked the trackers, there were 13 (that I was aware of) advertising trackers blocked, which means she is making money off of the outrage of others.

I read about 20 (out of a million) responses to her discriminatory tweet. Some tweets took her side, but most of them expressed disapproval. Not me. I plainly asked her how much money she’s making from her manufactured outrage. Of late, no response, but I did get blocked from a lot of users whose buttons I pressed and egos pummeled. If only they can soothe my heartbroken soul to explain why they resorted to such drastic measures. I’ll make up my own excuses in italics:


  • This tweet is not available. (This person took offense that you ratted out a fellow colleague.)
  • This tweet is not available (it’s probably one of her advertisers)
  • This tweet is not available (most likely a recruiter that knows you won’t reach out to her for a job)
  • This tweet is not available (a bot who auto-blocked me for using keywords of cynical nature)
  • This tweet is not available (someone who read my bio on Twitter: “I enjoy observing the rest of you make an ass of yourselves.”)

 

It was then I realized that recruiters have evolved in the digital age from bad to shit. After all, how many online articles does a job seeker really need that contain the same, robotic advice such as the interview dress code, body language, research the company prior to the interview, don’t wear perfume, don’t insult previous employers during the interview, watch your spelling in cover letters, keep your résumé  resume* limited to one page, don’t be late for an interview, don’t wear too much makeup, avoid the following during the interview: pauses, “um’s” rapid blinking, constant fidgeting, playing with yourself, fingering yourself, on and on and on……..

Recruiter maggots, please. In the end, it’s all subjective anyway. Just allow the candidate to be themselves. They will either make a fool of themselves on their own or they won’t.  Your narcissistic discretion will make the final call. Stop with the redundant online “advice,” otherwise I might think you are profiting from manufactured outrage, like my friend, little Miss “No Thank You.”

Today’s job search still contain the many shady tactics I encountered during my job search from years ago, but it has also evolved. As a job seeker, I took notice of an innumerable amount of bait-and-switch practices. When I saw the tweet from “No Thank You,” I connected the dots. Manufactured outrage is the new bait-and-switch. What’s alarming are the amount of people that took this tweet seriously. But this is the sign of the times. Recruiters rely on the dumb job seeker so they can keep those paychecks coming.

Manufactured outrage is a proven and reliable method to create infuriated sentiments en masse. And now, this is a marketing stunt that found its way to the recruiting world. Should I really be surprised?

A message for those of you still looking for work: AVOID applying online AT ALL COSTS. The only surefire way to get a decent job is to name-drop. I’m NOT wrong.

 


*resume: The perfect example of indolence in the digital age; the careless omission of applicable accent marks. Nowadays, recruiters are making shoddy defenses for excusing this careless display of punctuation. Somewhere, there’s a Wiki page that insist such rules no longer apply. On the internet. Wikipedia. Connect the dots.

 

 

 

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