This morning’s job applicant appeared on the Abel Personnel recruiter’s screen three minutes before the scheduled interview start time. Always a good sign of a serious candidate! However, her response to the recruiter’s “Good Morning!” was a surprise:
“Wow, an actual person on the other screen!”
Today’s Job Hunting Frustrations
An unusual way to start an interview, but the recruiter elected to encourage her to explain. The interviewee then related how lately she had experienced virtual interviews that consisted of her being recorded answering questions that appeared on the screen. No human contact, no visual clues to set her at ease, to encourage her to be more specific or give examples, or to drill down on a particular job challenge.
“I am then left wondering afterwards whether the video is even watched by a person or goes through some AI filtering program. Sometimes I receive a thanks-but-no-thanks note within two hours of the interview, or even after submitting a resume on-line or one of those complicated, confusing and time consuming applications; I’m pretty sure no human was ever part of the screening process.
One-way Interviews and being Screened Out by an Artificial Intelligence Algorithm were only two of the frustrations that the applicant had endured in her three month search. The recruiter pursued this saga of the job search, both as a way to gauge how the applicant communicates information, and as a cautionary tale of how not to treat applicants. The other sources of job search annoyances:
- Ghosting: No response to submitted resumes, or then no response to detailed applications, or no response after interviews. This practice can include participating in several interviews and then never hearing back from the employer, even after reaching out to follow up.
- Unrealistic Pay for Required Qualifications: Sometimes there is a disconnect between the job qualifications and responsibilities with the job pay, or the job responsibilities and pay align but the qualifications far exceed what doing the job will require. This can include gaslighting – trying to convince the candidate that their qualifications are not worthy of a higher level job and/or salary. Generally, the low pay offered is not in line with skills and experience. In other cases, the pay advertised in the posting is downgraded during the interview process.
- There is No Job: Companies post jobs (“ghost jobs”) in order to look like they’re growing to both stockholders and concerned employees. They might be gathering resumes now for an opening that might occur in a few months in order to later reduce the recruitment period. Sometimes there is a favored internal candidate but policy requires looking outside of the company, too. This going-through-the-motions can include a long, drawn-out interview process only to hear that the company decided to hire within or there was a sudden hiring freeze.
- Job Posting Scam: Scammers are seeking personal information to use or sell. They play on the desperation of the job seekers for regular or better employment. This can include fake one-way interviews and hire letters. The tipoff is when they ask for social security numbers or bank account numbers for direct deposit of paychecks.
Reducing Job Search Stress
The Abel recruiter had previously heard of most of these job search experiences. Before discussing the opening that prompted this interview, the recruiter assured the applicant of Abel’s approach:
- There is a Job: Abel works with known client companies to verify that there is an opening now. If the opening is dependent on a contract award or renewal, the recruiter will seek to determine this and advise the applicant.
- The Job Qualifications and Pay are Realistic: The recruiter will want to first understand what the job responsibilities entail, why certain skills and experience are being sought in the new hire, and what the pay range will be. Many companies have not had to fill certain positions for several years, and are often unaware of how a tight labor market and inflation have increased salary expectations.
- Resume Refinement and Interview Prep: The recruiter will make general recommendations on how to make a resume more attractive to the companies with the type of position that is sought, including what keywords to include that hiring managers (and AI) might be seeking to attract consideration. Similarly, the recruiter can suggest what interview questions to expect and give advice about how to phrase the answers to be clear and concise.
- No Ghosting:The applicant will receive updates on progress directly from the recruiter. This will include the feedback received from applications and interviews.
What the recruiter could not ease was the length of the process from the first response to her application to the start date. Efforts to involve more of the work team in the interview and selection process is adding weeks until an offer decision is made. With the ease of one- way interviews, more interviews can occur which take more time. Ironically, this decision delay is due in part to the applicants’ “spray and pray” approach, resulting in twice as many resume submissions to review for some job openings than occurred just 18 months ago. Many HR departments also dropped their staffing functions when they had to cut back during the pandemic, which now requires department managers to oversee recruitment for their openings. These managers usually do not have the training to do that, or the time in addition to their usual responsibilities. When Abel recruiters are brought in to do the staff recruiting, they have become adept in developing a sense of urgency, a fear in losing the top candidate by not producing an offer fast enough.
The recruiter finished these assurances and caveats with a bottom line, “We only get paid by the hiring company if you get the job. So, we’re highly motivated to find qualified applicants that fit attractive openings. We can’t afford to waste our time any more than you can.”
This personal approach from the Abel recruiter convinced the applicant that she, at last, had found the right approach to finding a new position in today’s job market. She’d rather spend her time refining her resume, as the recruiter suggested, or practicing answers to the types of interview questions she was advised to expect. That was definitely smarter than trying to respond to 20+ job postings a week.
- Sourced from : Time Magazine, “You’re Not Imagining It—Job Hunting Is Getting Worse, “ Alana Semuels, June 14, 2023. https://time.com/6287012/why-finding-job-is-difficult/