I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that as far as my day job experience goes, in the past 20 years since I got out of grad school I've worked primarily as a contractor, doing either technical writing or corporate training. I love contract jobs--you work for a specified length of time, and when it's over, it's over and you do the unemployment thing for a while until you find the next job. As a result, I'm pretty much constantly conducting a job search, looking for the next opportunity. No complaints.
Until now. My last gig ended in early May, which means I've now been trying to line something else up for three months now. And I'm telling you, looking for a job has never been more of a pain in the ass.
First, let's talk about online applications. I'm getting mighty sick of having to cut and paste every position and bit of education into each field--after I just uploaded my resume. Recently I found a posting for a technical trainer with "Company A" that I thought looked interesting--and therefore worthy of the 20 minutes I spent cutting and pasting and looking up street addresses of former employers. But I did it.
Then I saw another position with the same company and guess what? There was no way to access all the crap I just entered; there was no way to apply for more than one opening without going through the whole goddamn process again. So you know what I did? I sent an email directly to the sales department, with my resume attached. And guess what? Two days later a recruiter called me to come in for an interview. I have yet to hear anything about the first position, which only confirms my suspicion that online applications go into a friggin' black hole, never to surface again.
Unfortunately, I'm not quite a match for the job I interviewed for. I could say, Why the hell did I get all dolled up for nothing then? but I loved the guys who interviewed me and at least I know that Company A is a place I'd actually like to work in case they have something better suited to my background. Everyone I interacted with seemed happy. Good sign.
Okay, so the bottom line with the online applications is, I'm getting to the point now where unless the job looks super appealing, I'm not even bothering. Oh, one of the major casinos here expects you to enter your social security number. AS IF!
Here's another thorn in my side. I apply for a job with Company B and get a reply saying they're interested in my background and that I should go to this website to take an assessment test. And I should put aside 2-2 1/2 hours of uninterrupted time to complete it. F-U!!! I don't even know what the job pays! Nexxxxxxt!
Let me tell you two more things. (You don't have to keep reading; it just feels good to let this rip.) I responded to Company C's posting on Craig's List for a trainer--no online application, just a return email. The next day, I hear from the hiring manager; the job is with a major casino. Yay--I bypassed the online app bullshit! As part of the selection process, I'd have to conduct a mock training session so they could get a sense of my style. Fair enough--I've done that many times before where I just had to present 10 minutes of content on any topic I wanted. No problem; I have plenty of stuff in my archives to choose from.
But noooooo. Company C sends me an email saying they want me to conduct a 45-minute session using their curriculum. FML, it takes a lot of work to internalize someone else's curriculum to the point where you can present it well. But I did it... and never heard anything. Weeks later, I got a rejection form letter.
It gets worse. Yesterday I did a 45-minute mock training session for Company D. The topic was "How to sell an iPad." And guess what? In addition to presenting the content, I had to design the curriculum! And the job is not even an instructional designer job--it's strictly training presentation. So I spent friggin' hours writing up an agenda, identifying training objectives, preparing a competitive analysis and a features/benefits matrix... in addition to creating a couple of exercises to measure training effectiveness. Believe me, it was much more involved than simply demo-ing an iPad.
I think I did an okay job, especially considering the topic is HUGE, but whatever--it's pissing me off the way these goddamn employers are making candidates jump through hoops. I came home and told Mike, "Never again." Period.
I have a feeling it's mostly companies here in Las Vegas that are expecting this bullshit. When I was in Albany two summers ago, a half hour after my phone interview they called back with a solid offer--they never even saw me in real life! (Though they would have been quite pleased, if I do say so myself--ha!) Then last week, I had another fantastic phone interview for a different job in Albany, but as it turned out, the gig is for a year. I would love to be around my kids and grandchildren, but a year would be too long to be away from Mike and the step kids. (Plus we'd be getting into the winter months in NY--yikes.) My point is, they have a simple hiring process.
I figure I either need to work for a small company that doesn't have layers of bullshit or work for myself. I'm the only one I can stand, anyway.
But I am good at what I do. That I know. Employers are going to miss out on experienced people who are just not going to be bothered. Their loss.
Are you conducting a job search? What's your experience with the selection process?