When did job seekers and employers become mortal enemies?

How does all the over-detailed, invasive micromanaging of a potential candidate’s lifestyle show abilities?


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I recently shared with readers the perspective of a long-term job-seeker who had engaged in the job search process, and the employment success she eventually found. Of course, for many others who ultimately get hired, "success" can often mean being underemployed or taking a pay cut from their previous position. It's a difficult pill for too many to swallow.

For this piece, a very different job-seeker viewpoint, that of Linda Norris. As you will see, the arduous hunt for employment can leave the searcher questioning what has gone wrong with the selection process. For many trying to obtain employment today, it has become an agonizingly slow, frustrating and demoralizing slog. These are the comments of an actual job-seeker with a professional background and what she has found to be the new normal, albeit daunting and often frightening, of searching for work:

In years past, a job-seeker would create a clear, concise resume, purchase a few local and city newspapers and apply for new jobs. The process would continue with a few phone calls, one to two interviews, a salary discussion with dual-party agreement and a few distributed benefits brochures. The candidate would agree to the new job description with all its trimmings, dress professionally and start their new job.

Then the Internet arrived and the race for every company to get their job postings online. This worked for several years, until the arrival of Big Data, job coaches, job recruiters, job boards and concierges, job consultants, online job applicant profiles, pre-pre-employment online testing, candidate profiling and other assorted job-seeker tools that employers now use to weed out, but not hire candidates.

Job-seekers today must sort through a maze of confusing, conflicting, often out-of-date job boards and misleading employer Web pages. There are lengthy job applications, which consume hours and hours of job seekers’ online time and resources.

We are expected to willingly participate in online pre-employment testing, pre-candidate quizzes, candidate profiling, multiple resume and document uploads, software testing downloads, Skype interviews, video conferencing from home, and multiple, time-wasting phone screens.

Many job application interviews run into five-hour stretches. These multiplex, invasive candidate selection processes are similar to the torture methods used in the Middle Ages. While the job-seeker is not actually tortured physically, they often are intellectually.

Once the online job-seeker profile is completed, and if it actually submits, then there is the candidate’s application, EEO statement, resumes/documents to upload, the pre-employment tests, applicant’s job scorecard and the applicant’s dashboard to be reviewed. After that, there are ongoing, Internet searches of the applicant to gain insight to their inner thoughts and deeds. If they have a Facebook page, a Google page, etc., this too is evaluated before the candidate can be hired. If the candidate rejects social media, then that rejection is also interpreted.

Educational GPAs are evaluated, from grade school to college. The amount and fluency of foreign languages spoken or not spoken, is a criteria for hiring a job-seeker. The candidate’s neighborhood, city and state are also used as criteria for hiring. Driver’s license numbers are requested on applications, so that driving records can be interpreted. Even library cards, overdue books, and fees paid are subject to interpretation by a future employer.

What does all this invasion of a candidate’s privacy have to do with a new job? How does all of this over-detailed, invasive micromanaging of a potential candidate’s lifestyle prove abilities to an employer?

Why has the job-seeker been placed in the position of being a mortal enemy, all for want of a job?

Bill Ryan, founder of Ryan Career Services LLC, Concord, can be reached at 603-724-2289 or bill@ryancareerservices.com.

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