Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why is job hunting nightmerish?

Job hunting is not a pleasant experience by any means. It may become extremely frustrating and boring, sometimes even painful, and from time to time the job hunter can reach the point in which it appears that their hunt will never end. It's not something to be glad of, and it doesn't look that the evolution of the labor market is really easing that.

From my experience, I believe that I found the reason for which job hunting is such a nightmare sometimes. It is not always related to the applicants and their skills set. There are quite a few factors that make the job hunting process a very unpleasant time for people looking to get a job (not necessarily the job of their dreams, but any job). They are related to the poor commitment of potential employers to ease the conditions for job seekers. Here are a few examples of that:

  • When looking for jobs, one of the most annoying phrases to read at the end of the job descriptions is: “We would like to thank all applicants, however only those under consideration will be contacted”. If I had to rank that from the scale from 0 to 10, 0 being not annoying at all and 10 being the most annoying level, I would place it right in the most extreme point of 10. Would it be too much hassle to at least notify applicants that their application was received successfully? Instead of that, employers do not notify anything, and they are giving the clue that “if we don't like your resume and cover letter, we will throw them to our garbage bin without further notification”. Nice.

  • As if the point above was not annoying enough, there are quite a few employers out there who add the following instruction: “No phone calls please”. This means that applicants will not only not be notified whether their application is being reviewed by the company or it went straight to the organization's recycle bins, but they also won't have the opportunity to follow up their case. In other words, they are giving the following message: “send your application and wait forever to find out whether our company is interested in your services or not. Don't phone us to ask directly, because we won't tell you”. Phew.

  • It is very understandable that companies are trying to pick the best people to work for them. But there is a difference between setting requirements to hire the best of the best, and setting requirements that are beyond all reality. It doesn't make much sense that companies ask applicants to have “3-5 years of experience, proven success in doing certain tasks, a master's degree, and a combined technical and business background” for entry-level positions that will pay low wages, and for which mainly new graduates will apply. How do they think that new grads will gain the years of work experience that they ask for, when all the companies out there want experienced people as well? There are very few companies that are really giving new grads a chance to gain experience, the one that all of the companies require applicants to have. At the end of the day, an applicant should better have some years of experience after graduation in order to have any aspirations to find a job afterwards... who knows how will they achieve that.

Normally employers make their best to let people know that applicants are the only cause for which they cannot place themselves, but they don't consider that they don't do a lot to make the process easier either. But well, that's the world of job hunting, everywhere. It is not a nice experience, but it appears that we all have to visit that dark chapter of life from time to time. To people who are out there looking for jobs, keep working on that, and have my best wishes.


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