As many writers do, I have a day job. I work with people all over the country who’ve been laid off and help them be more competitive in the job market. It’s a tough market out there. I see it picking up from where it was 3-4 years ago, but I’m still seeing things that concern me.
- Impersonal – What happened to the “human” part of human services? Applications even to work at the corner store have to be filed on-line, then scanned by a computer that tries to match your experience with their needs. Since computers have no discretion, this is supposed to be more fair, but a computer also can’t pick up how your skills might transfer to the job for which you’re applying. That makes it incredibly difficult if you want to do something a little different than what you were doing before.
- Competitive – The last I saw statistics, there were an average of 300 applicants for every open position in the US. Some companies get as many as 9,000 resumes A WEEK. This is why we have resorted to the computer screening systems I mentioned in #1, and I can understand that. When I was a director, I had stacks of resumes on my desk and it’s difficult to decide which of those people I should speak with.
- Rude – It’s common for a candidate to spend up to an hour filling out an on-line application, answering all the questions, doing their best to showcase why they’re the right person for the job in question. They click “submit” and get an on-screen acknowledgement that their application has been received. Then nothing. I guess I understand that, considering #2 though how hard would it be to send people a “thanks but no thanks” email? What I don’t (and will never) understand is why so many of my candidates go on-site for one or two rounds of interviews only to never hear another word from that company. That’s just plain rude. If you’ve interviewed 25 people, take the time to send each one who is not moving forward a polite email letting them know they are out of the running. If someone has made it to the finalist level and there may only be 3-4 candidates to not send each one an individually-written email letting them know they have not been selected is — or should be — unthinkable.
I’ll get off my soapbox now, but if you have any leverage in your company over the hiring process, please do what you can to put yourself into the shoes of the job seeker and insert the human back into human services.