Confessions From a Job Seeker
For the last three and a half months, I have juggled my current job, a wide reaching job search, sleeping on a couch and moving 1,000 miles away all while planning a wedding. I’m going to go out on a limb and say it has been the most stressful time of my life.
In November I learned that my fiance had an opportunity to take on a new job for a great company, but it would require us to move. Knowing that I worked for a rather large company, I didn’t think it would be too difficult to find another position with similar pay in a bigger city. (For reference, my employer has 1,100 managed locations around the world and over nine similar locations just in the Dallas Fort Worth area).
Needless to say, the job search has been the most difficult part of my current situation. No, it’s not hard to find job listings and the qualifications are usually clearly communicated. I haven’t applied for anything that was way out of reach or too many things that I didn’t 100% qualify for. I used discretion with every opportunity that I found. However, I was met with what was quite possibly the worst series of experiences you could imagine.
According to a spreadsheet that I use to track my job applications, I have now applied for over 100 jobs. You might think that is excessive, but based on the rate of return or any sort of communication from the prospective employers, I felt that I needed to apply for everything I could find (almost a job a day) until I could find the perfect fit.
The lack of communication that I experienced from most of the companies was consistent. I would apply, hear absolutely nothing. Ever. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Once in a blue moon I would get a response stating that the company had either removed the posting after reconsidering their hiring needs or moved forward with another candidate. In the off chance that the employer was interested, communications would lapse for weeks or months at a time. E-mail was never returned within a timely manner and phone calls rarely answered and never quickly returned.
For some of these positions, I am sure that employers were overwhelmed with candidates and that a personal response for each application wouldn’t be possible. I understand that. However, what’s the trouble in having the computer system e-mail the applicant to let them know that they have been kicked out of the queue for that particular posting? Why not provide a computer-generated reason as to why the applicant wasn’t chosen to move forward?
As a job seeker, the job application and recruiting processes are broken. They need to be rethought and executed in an entirely different manner that makes sense with the quick pace of the 21st century. There is no reason that employers shouldn’t be diligent in quickly turning away unqualified applicants so they can focus on the ones that are likely to better fit the mold.
The joke in a lot of companies is that “HR” takes the “human” out of human resources, and I imagine it isn’t fun being the butt of that joke. I think as an industry and an integral part of all businesses, it’s time for HR leaders and recruiters to take the reins on their practices and make sure that they are putting talented individuals first and showing them how much they want them to work for their company.
If you are trying to attract talent in the digital age, you should be proactive, not reactive. Communication is key to helping applicants find their way. If it’s not with your company, let them know they might be better off moving on. If it is with your company, be diligent about getting them interviewed and on board. The more aggressive employers show applicants that as a company, they are more engaged. As a young leader, I can promise you that I am more attracted to businesses and leaders that are quick to respond and willing to show their interest in having me on their team.
Communication is key and timing is everything.