Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How the last 6 months of job searching has left me IN-FU-RI-ATED

Since May 2008, I've been actively seeking employment. Often I'd apply for positions and spend months interviewing for positions that would get pulled. Other blocks of times, companies didn't post new listings. I applied for hourly wage positions (I'm not knocking these positions), but was told I was overqualified or lacked retail experience, but became hopeful at the start of 2011.

I don't know why, and I'm not going to complain about the surge of new jobs I saw posted. However, in the midst of applying for positions, I came across a whole new wave of frustration that has left me FUMING. I've decided to break down my frustrations for easier reading.

1. Recruiters. I really haven't used recruiters up until 2011. Maybe it was because they never posted positions I was qualified for, or it could be I had and they never reached out to me.

Since January, I've had 5 interactions with recruiters. Only 1 has been upfront, direct, responsive and honest. One got me an interview, but I had to track him down for 3 months to find out I wasn't hired. I'm really angry because I wanted feedback from him. Constructive criticism is always welcome if it helps me land a job.

Another calls with positions I'm not really qualified for, low-balls me on hourly wage and when I ask for advice on how to answer a preliminary email from his client (meaning I don't even know what company the job is for) to position my inexperience at handling something (thinking he'd rather do this to gain the commission), he threw it back in my court. Hello? It's one thing for me to answer if this were a direct hire, but don't you want to ensure you present the best candidates you can for further business? I guess not.

One recruiter told me I'm not the type of candidate they like to represent because I'm unemployed (I posted about this in April, but guess what, the position is still unfilled). I met with another recruiter who was more interested in my references to gain new business and never talked about the position he called me in for. When asked about the position, he told me they required a candidate with a MBA (not posted on job listing), but he complemented me on my resume and wondered who wrote it for me. I think he was a little shocked it was me.

Another recruiter left me with an impression of being a tad shady. I'm a pretty trusting person, but when he ended our conversation with "I'm going to email you an application to complete and we can meet at a local Starbucks to discuss your career", I was intrigued about the application. I opened my email and the application didn't ask for references, but wanted my social security #, driver's license, more questions for additional information on my background than I'd seen on other applications. Needless to say, I never responded. Sometimes, it's always best to listen to your gut and a man who wanted to meet me in a Starbucks, not his office, requesting too much personal information on me didn't sound legit.

2. Corporations. I admit, I've had some positive experiences with some company HR reps, but last week I had 2 experiences that have pushed my frustration level over the top that I want to share.

Company 1: I applied for an open position and sent my resume to someone I knew within the company. I got a call from HR asking me questions about another position I didn't apply to. He tells me to apply and how the hiring manager was anxious to call me and should expect a call shortly. Five business days later I check their career's section and see the position has been filled. No offense, but I don't need a pity HR call, I need a job. If you convince me to apply for the position in which I'm willing to take a HUGE paycut and go back to a 1999 salary, assure me to expect a call from the hiring manager, but fill the position within days of our conversation, I have to wonder WTH? Needless to say, I sent him a very polite email following up on the status of our conversation and asking for clarity of the information I found online. I played it off that I was confused from what I read and maybe he could clear it up. I sent the email last week. I wonder if I'll hear back.

Company 2. Imagine huge company overwhelmed by number of applicants and recently hires outsourcer to handle some hr issues. Imagine applying for position on 5/10 and hearing back from large company's outsourcer on 5/16 asking for times to talk with you. Imagine getting hopes up because the position is pretty much tailor made for you (trust me, these positions far and few between). You respond with available times on 5/16, again on 5/18 and eventually on 5/31 you shoot off third email to recruiter letting them know you're willing to work around their schedule. Recruiter finally responds on 6/3 and praises your skill set, but wants to know your salary requirement. I am negotiator so I inform her of my last salary, but emphasize in email I am open. Nothing. I hear crickets. I send emails on 6/7, 6/13 and 6/21. On July 1, I go to large corporation's career center and find out the position has been filled. Based upon my experience, I am still waiting for an interview. I want to point out that when large corporation handled their own job submissions they did a far better job then this person.

I'm in the process of writing the VP of this large corporation because I wonder in the age of social media, they really want the world to know how the first impression potential qualified candidates are left with is shit. They may want to insist on training the recruiters to use their standards or hold them accountable. At some point, I believe the economy will turn around and they will need qualified candidates, but if there are others who have experienced what I have, they may have problems finding the right candidate.

Unfortunately, I've started the letter, but am too furious to constructively write it effectively.


Brian Miller said...

ugh what a head ache...the HR antics, for as much as they want to police everyone else, does not surprise me...

syeds said...

If you are not willing to apply for job..Then what you would do.


BeckEye said...

I've been looking for a new job lately and it's beyond frustrating. The thing that pisses me off the most is when you apply for a job, hear nothing back and then two months later, the same exact job is being advertised. So, either the company is terrible to work for or they're really bad at assessing potential employees.

I also hate recruiters and employment agencies. The only agency I ever had luck with was OfficeTeam, who were always extremely helpful and honest, and always called me when they said they would. Every other agency I ever went to did nothing but lie and avoid me. And I hate when they advertise a relatively well paying job and then when you answer the ad and go in to register with them, they tell you that job has already been filled or that you don't meet the minimum requirements. Do they think that even after the first couple times of getting this bait and switch that we're all too stupid to realize that those jobs don't even exist??

ModernMom said...

Oh I can feel your frustration! Imagine the companies that have missed out on you! I wish you luck in your search.

blueviolet said...

I'm terrified of reentering the workforce, and you've just confirmed why! Your situations were horrid!

Luna said...

i can relate. hr and recruiters are such a pain. some time ago i went to a recruiter hoping to find a job. they had nothing for me and i was will to take just about anything they offered. about a year later, after i had already moved from the area-20 miles away, i get a call from them saying they might have a job interview for me. a year later! unbelievable. i told them to forget it, that i lived too far away to make it. that just added annoyance to my already frustrated feelings about not having work at the time.

Little Ms Blogger said...

Brian - totally agree.

syeds - ummm...I do apply for jobs - ALL THE TIME

BeckEye - It is frustrating and it's worse when the gatekeeper is the recruiter who really hasn't a clue what the employer is looking for.

ModernMom - thanks.

BV - I am hopeful things will get better or I'll land in a fabulous new career because I was forced to take a risk.

Luna - oh, that is truly frustrating.

Dan said...

The treatment of all applicants by HR groups has become appalling to the nth degree. Coupled with the aging of the bulk of the work force, it is becoming really ugly out there.

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