Five Frustrations of Job Seekers
Frustrations of Finding a New Job
Note: This article is written based solely on employment and the workplace in the United States. Other countries may exhibit similar traits, but this article is written exclusively with the United States in mind.
The terrain and schematics of how a person gets a job has changed dramatically in the last few decades. In the past, getting a job meant having in-demand skills or simply approaching a company and directly asking for a job. In the year 2017, everyone has a good skill set and it’s not necessarily about what you can do and cold calling or approaching a company is likely to hinder your likelihood of getting a job.
Getting a job is harder than ever because of the internet, globalization and the changing mentality of the workplace. Getting laid off, fired or quitting a job that is toxic or due to personal reasons is awful enough, but now job seekers have to worry about how long it’ll take them to get an entry level position, let alone a higher level position.
Being a job seeker in todays world is stressful and for a number of reasons. It can also lead to a number of problems that hinder a job seekers life, especially under prolonged unemployment status. These include, but aren’t limited to, financial stress, depression, anxiety, relationship problems and a decrease in an individuals skill set.
Below are five of the biggest frustrations that job seekers have in todays society. As I’ve stated in past articles, one critically important factor to keep in the front of your mind when you’re job seeking is that there is always hope. Another one I want to toss in is not to necessarily take things personally. There’s only so much control you have in a situation, but again, you will find a job again, even if it takes time.
Some Companies Don't Care (about job seekers or employees)
A good company cares about their employees and their well-being. This doesn’t mean that they put the company ahead of the person, but they do understand that people have feelings and obligations. An employee that feels cherished and respected will perform better and is more likely to stick with a company. Sadly, some companies think of their employees as disposable. It’s a very toxic viewpoint and often results in harming the company longterm (word of mouth, never underestimate it!)
That out of the way, we can equate this to a number of other frustrations that job seekers have (since like a vine, the fact a company doesn’t care spreads). Job seekers often want a company they can care about and help build, a fact that is evident when they’re interviewing. When a company doesn’t take time to respond to emails, follow up with a job interview, respect a persons time or show that they are committed to working with an employee, it’s a huge red flag (we’ll get more in depth with this under ‘Ghosting’.
Case in point, I’ve worked for companies that had no qualms with throwing good employees under a bus to make themselves look good. It backfired years later when they struggled to find any applicants. Word of mouth spreads and when employees mention a company doesn’t care about their employees (i.e. offering a livable wage), people find out. Caring is a two way street. The company is its own entity, but they’re run by employees and without them theres no company. Not caring about a job seeker from the get go and already seeing them as disposable, not as people is a trait seen more and more often in the workplace today.
Timing Can Be Everything
A month ago I interviewed for high level position and made it to the final round of interviews. I received a voice mail asking me to come in for the final interview. I had been working and unable to answer my phone at the time, but I quickly called them as soon as I got off work. It went to voicemail and being the end of the day, I figured they were gone. I tried the next day and left a message, no response. Tried again and emailed the next day, no response. Come to find out, because I didn’t answer my phone when they called, they moved onto an honorary pick. It’s not even a timing is everything factor, it’s a matter of impatience.
The above scenario is not exactly uncommon. Some companies will skip over fantastic candidates because they don’t respond within an unrealistic amount of time. Sometimes if you don’t answer the phone when they first contact you, they skip over and go to another candidate who may be less skilled or dedicated to what they do, but they operated on company time, which is unrealistic and can be a good indicator of a bad recruiter or toxic work environment.
Speaking personally, I’ve missed out on interviews because I didn’t respond to an email or phone call within a few hours (work, personal life) or I couldn’t meet soon enough for them. It’s important for candidates to be flexible, but companies need to as well. Sometimes taking off from work during the workday is impossible due to financial reasons. Some companies do make time around an employees work schedule (green flag!) but some simply can’t or won’t.
When you apply for a role, that can have an impact on IF you get noticed. Not necessarily the day, but more so when a job is posted versus when it closes. If a job posting gets 200 applicants, the ones who apply first are more likely to be seen and noticed. If you see a job you’re interested in, don’t waste time, apply and try to schedule it earlier in the week and mid morning. Don’t stress about it, however, since there’s no telling when a specific recruiter will see you applied.
Outnumbered, Outsourced, Unseen
In the past, applying for a job meant you had far fewer applicants to compete againist. Also true, if you had specific skills, there was less chance someone else had your unique set of skills. Thanks to the internet, knowledge is more easily accessible than ever and its easier to find job postings. This of course means, a job seeker has to work harder than ever to stand out above the crowd.
Often positions receive over 100 applicants, some of whom are qualified, some are perfect fits, some would need training and others are vastly under-qualified. While timing can be a factor, tailoring your resume and writing a strong cover letter can help you stand out among the crowd. Even then, it’s often a numbers game.
Cold calling and emailing used to work more in the past, but now many employers post in the job description explicit instructions not to contact them about the job posting. This leads to our next frustration, ‘it’s who you know’.
Finding a Job is More About Who You Know Than What You Know
Often in todays job market, it’s more about who you know than how qualified or reliable you are. In a perfect world it would be about finding a great employee. Instead, Jimmy’s cousin who dropped out of school is friends with the CEOs son and automatically gets the job over the guy with a degree and a long trail of reliableness. It sucks for all involved (except Jimmy’s cousin) because a lot of great potential employees are missed.
If you don’t know anyone in a company you’re applying to, you of course still have a chance, it just might be less so because its just you, an unknown, in a pile of 150 other resumes. This frustration can be slightly remedied by networking and talking to people. Even then, however, its luck of the draw.
You went to an interview and nailed it. You followed up with an email thanking the interviewer(s) for their time and patiently wait to hear back. A week goes by and you follow up. Silence follows and your attempts to contact over the next two weeks go unanswered. You never hear back from anyone you interviewed with again. You just got ghosted.
Ghosting is becoming more prevalent in out society and companies have swooped in to take advantage. Just like that person you went on a great date with never talks to you again for no known reason, a company can refuse to talk to you and give you no reason. Some examples of ghosting include;
- Not responding to emails or phone calls
- Setting up an interview then cancelling or not showing up to the interview
- Asking for times you’re available and then never following up
- Being mid-hire and suddenly dropping communication
There are internal reasons for why a company ghosts, but ghosting is still not warranted. The echo of many job seekers is ‘why is it so hard to send a short email saying the position was cancelled or they are not interested’. There isn’t a good reason. Just be thankful you dodged a bullet.
Think about how hard you work to find a good job. The interviewing process is just as much about a company figuring out if they like you and you can do the job as you finding out if the company is a good fit and the job would be something you would enjoy. If a company ghosts you in the process of hiring, then consider it an indicator of their behavior. Speaking personally, none of the good jobs I had ghosted me in the hiring process. They were honest and kept me in the loop. Why wouldn’t a company that doesn’t care string you along, if following that philosophy?
Looking for a job is tough and often the process of finding a job is long and stressful. Thankfully, it doesn’t last forever and there are steps you can take everyday to improve your chances. That being said, it is often a game of numbers. Even the most qualified, well networked job seeker can do all the right things and find themselves looking for a job six months later. Never give up and remember you’re not alone in your frustrations.
The common frustrations job seekers experience in todays world are not going to change over night and some frustrations may only continue to grow. One thing is for certain. There are plenty of great companies looking for good people who will do all the right things. Sometimes it can be hard to find them, but they are out there. You may only be one resume, network connection or step away.
© 2017 Alexis