Category Archives: Job Search News

The longer you’re out…

The less likely you’ll be in. At least in Georgia.

Behold the depressing details in the AJC.

The writer, who no doubt has seen colleagues and friends disappear from a newspaper with a proud history, gets a quick jab at Congress (get in line) noting members “left town without extending benefits to the nation’s 15 million unemployed.”

It hasn’t been this bad since WWII, though Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks haven’t started a shooting an epic HBO series on “The Jobless Aftermath.” Yet. Georgia’s unemployment records only go back to 1976, when a certain local peanut farmer won the Presidency, and Karl Rove was but a young lad figuring out how he could blame the newly elected, but not yet inaugurated Georgia Governor for his epic fail.

…and this is why…

Because the unemployed are explicitly DISCOURAGED from applying. WTF? is an appropriate response. As is WTF!!!!!

Let’s use a bigger ladle for that bad news, because this is going on all over the nation. Think of the companies, smug recruiters, overworked, confused HR departments and anyone else that leaves the conference room thinking, “this is a great idea. It’ll save us lots of time and money wading through all the resumes we’ll get for this job.” We all know this is a fallacy, because most companies never see, acknowledge, admit to receiving, or care about a vast majority of resumes, applications and cover letters they get from desperate, often without-hope job seekers. It’s like the whole nation has turned into unionized autoworkers in Detroit, easy to blame scapegoats for a system that discards blue, white and pink collar workers, the “unskilled” and MBA’s with equal vigor. It’s downright democratic! There’s a special place in hell for boneheads who not only punish people who are out of work but blame them for their circumstances. (It’s starting to sound like a GOP talking point.) It’s a non-automated, always on the clock, windowless cube that has a phone with 100 lines ablaze all wanting to know if you received their application and cover letter.

The public awareness of this policy is a double edged sword. Sure, it’s great that the Huff Post did this story, to the brief embarrassment, perhaps, of the companies and firms involved. Will the policy change? Aw hell no. It’ll just be pushed underground, because the unemployed are a not a “protected class” that has to be accounted for in the hiring process. No EEOC help for you chump! Take solace in the fact they’ll still have to wade through your paperwork. Does that salve the burn?

Democratic warhorse John Dingell, who has served in Congress since the 1st Grant Administration is still good for a money quote. “Being unemployed is not a choice many workers choose to make. I would hope that companies that are discriminating against the unemployed will take into consideration that this choice is only further contributing to long-term unemployment in our country.”

You can hope John, but make sure there’s a large stockpile of government cheese at the ready, because we can’t do a census every year.

A candid headhunter

One paragraph says it all.

“The one real issue with overqualified candidates is whether they will stay. When a person steps down a level, and takes less pay, there is a real risk they will be vulnerable to recruiters, or will even seek another opportunity, seeing your position as only a stop-gap, or a way station on the path to something better. We ask candidates directly, “Why wouldn’t you make a move next year if a higher paying more responsible position became available?” If a candidate doesn’t have a really solid answer to this question – they are overqualified, and then I wouldn’t recommend the hire.”

Two issues with the above statement. First and completely obvious, is this really a market that favorable to job seekers that the threat of recruiters “stealing” them away is a valid concern? If its an industry that is requires specific skills or talent, then being overqualified is not an issue. No one is overqualified. The second is blatantly unfair. Let’s ask the question from the other side of the desk:

“Why wouldn’t the company make a move and eliminate my job if they could replace me next year with a lower paid, but still viable employee with a different, but similar, job title?” They would, they will, and they do. All the time. The recruiter/hiring manager fear of an “overqualified” candidate jumping to the next, higher paying job is a total canard. Few people are switching companies these days. Most are thrilled to have a job (not necessarily the work or the company, just the employment) and few people have the the ability to take on the risk. The honest response is “overqualified” applicants come with too much potential baggage. Their own ideas, experience or a work style that may clash with the hiring manager. Fresh blood is cheaper and easier to mold. They’re also far less loyal, since they have no connection with the pension culture of our parents and grandparents, and the Gen Y work ethic can also be a challenge. Not that it matters in the end. The assumptions about workers that spend years building a career are usually too great to overcome. And that is truly a shame.

Overqualified. So what?

The NY Times catches on to the “underemployed but happy to have a gig” phenomenon. A double-digit unemployment sign of the times, but to savvy employers, it’s a timely benefit.

Job site trolls and make believe people

I had long avoided the big job sites like Monster and Career Builder because of their sheer size and needle in a haystack odds of success. In hindsight, that was an excellent reason to opt out of anti-targeted sites. The real reason you, or anyone else, should treat them like raw chicken on your kitchen counter is the sheer amount of garbage that will pollute your Inbox, lots more, and always unwanted spam, and because of that spam, relevant emails getting unnecessarily trapped and unseen.

The speed of which these scams opportunities present themselves is breathtaking. Mere minutes, and when you’ve been out of work for awhile, it can cruelly lift your spirits. Then as always, reality takes over.

If you take the offers at face value, your long slog against the tide of joblessness has turned a corner. You are now WANTED, by official sounding, honest-to-goodness American companies. Liberty Mutual, American Income Life Insurance, and the oh-so-official sounding First Command Financial Planning. (Sir yes sir!)

Ever heard of First Command Financial Planning? Nah, me neither. So being the tech savvy bunch we are, first stop is the Google, and before we can even finish typing First Command Financial Planning, the autofill feature adds “scam.” Not a good sign. On the first results page is a review from Yelp, giving it one star. It’s not a pretty story…

“I was nickle and dimed for everything under the sun. The cost of the planning was 300 per year which was very good to me. BUt then I was forced to do my taxes with them and then home mortgage, and more and more, but I finally realized they did nothing…it was all outsourced to other companies. They do not have their own funds either. They use the same thing for everyone.” The writer of this post also says they primarily sell to members of the military. Nice. Thanks for your service.

But you’re skeptical. It’s Yelp for crying out loud, how do you know it’s not just one unhappy customer? Because three results down is the headline “Class Action Lawsuit Against First Command Financial Planning.” Oops. Further down still though, the BBB in Charlotte gives them an “A” though. Confused? Don’t be. CEO’s do not write personal emails in response to unrelated job applications via Career Builder. Good CEO’s of reputable companies do not allow their name to be used as spam either.

As Billy Mays would say, “wait there’s more!” Another email from one “Theresa Roberson” put my Gmail account on high alert: “Warning: This message may not be from whom it claims to be. Beware of following any links in it or of providing the sender with any personal information.” The Google has your back.

“Jonathan Prince” says… “if you are still seeking a rewarding opportunity with a highly-reputable company, please give me a call at your earliest convenience at 7709333897 to schedule an interview.” He’s allegedly with Liberty National. The Google on this number connects to “United American Insurance,” and wow it’s right by my house! As Pee Wee Herman would say “Am am I lucky or what!” Mr. Prince gets points for patriot titles. Liberty, American, United, National. Oliver North might even approve of this operation. For multiple reasons.

Cheryl Ann Dagata is another CareerBuilder.com troll. She might actually exist though, because the Google shows her as winning a $200 bonus and being among the “top performers” on selling pre-paid legal services. (#17, with 431 “memberships” sold) I feel bad for her victims customers, though they probably sleep better knowing they covered in case of future legal entanglements. But really. How much can you trust an organization that spells success, SUCCE$$? http://www.mooresuccessteam.com/about/

Melinda Wickham is also a persistent email suitor of mine. She sends me so many emails it might make my wife angry. This “relationship” began after I made the mistake of putting my resume on JobFox, which opened the floodgates to a tsunami of spam, some of it flat out mean spirited. Apparently my resume sucks. Bad. And they were not afraid to tell me so directly. Let’s hear it for tough love! The good folks at JobFox, and Ms. Wickham in particular, can HELP ME! All I had to do was call this toll free number and I would be on the road to employment bliss. Unlike the CareerBuilder trolls, I don’t think Ms. Wickham exists, unless there everyone in the JobFox call center answers to her name. She doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile, unless you count this one from an Australian lobbyist in Queensland. Sorry Aussie Melinda, your virtual namesake is a bloodsucking leech on the backs of already vulnerable and confidence shaken unemployed people.

That’s not ME you say. I have marketable skills. I don’t need the megasites, I’m a premium seeker of paid employment. Are they really better though? Premium job sites have the same recruiting techniques and sign-up policies as health clubs. “Come in for a FREE 7-day trial.” Just leave a credit card, sign this document that commits you to a subscription unless you cancel within a short period of time, and we’ll put the full court press on you to become a member. Good luck canceling.

The Ladders differentiates themselves as being ONLY for 100k jobs, and of course, the kind of quality people that qualify for them. Like you and anyone else that comes up with the $15 or so a month to subscribe. The Ladders was my first sign-up mistake. The Free Trial hooked me. Canceling was not too onerous, but the daily emails from Marc Cendella can be. They do have useful information, but clicking on them through the emails are a road to nowhere. (Or sign-up, take your pick.) Use the Google and search the title and author’s name. Voila. You now have the information, without the subscription. Marc writes (or his PR staff does anyway) in a folksy, friendly style. Just me and you bud. So what happens when you email back? This. But hey, someone actually reads, and responds. Just not the guy sending the email.

All is not lost however. You don’t have to dig deep in recesses of your mind for that power for positive thinking session your previous company made you attend for a silver lining. Just read, or practice some of the techniques on this site.

Fun for the unemployed.

Yeah, they should

But most, as we all know, do not.

Companies should send candidates thank you notes too.

From Advertising Age.

Job search tune-up

You have to take your car in for an oil change every 3 to 5,000 miles, this article from the NY Times advises job seekers to do the same on elements of your search.

One good paragraph:
“SUPPORT SYSTEMS Finally, recognize that looking for a job — especially in a market like this — can take a psychological toll. Don’t take it personally if your job hunt is taking a long time. Many excellent job candidates, victims of the economic downturn, are in the same boat now.

Even in the best of times, a job hunt is often about rejection — and that can be hard to endure. Staying in touch with family, friends, professional networks and fellow job seekers can help you maintain a positive attitude and a sense of perspective.

Read it now before the NY Times becomes a paid-only site.