Thursday, August 2, 2012

Job search 2012 -- what a pain in the ass!

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?


raydenzel1 said...

Yep me too this time . I quit my job on 7-19-12, I jumped before being pushed. I am writing about my adventures

I Hate to Weight said...

that's completely out of control!

it makes me CRAZY when companies want so much up front.

hang in there.

p.s. when you start your own company, can i come work for you?!

lightning36 said...

The laws of supply and demand as related to the job market apply here. Low demand + big supply = treat applicants like crap. They do it 'cause they can.

Even fast food restaurants have gotten picky. Used to be that anyone with a pulse could get hired. My daughter had some trouble trying to get a part-time job in Texas 18 months ago. She was excited to tell me that she had a second interview scheduled with one store. Whaaaaaaaat? Second interview for a fast food place?

Taradharma said...

sounds like hell on earth. i'd rather pump gas, to tell the truth. But perhaps they would ask me to give a 45-minute history on the oil & gas resources world wide....

Vegas Linda Lou said...

@ Ray: I caught up on your blog--I hope that by quitting you didn't miss out on collecting unemployment or any severance, if they offer it. Good luck to you!

@ Weight: OF COURSE you can work for me! I wish I had the balls to actually start a business, instead of just doing freelance work on the side.

@lightning36: Rolling my eyes... I hope it worked out for your daughter.

@ Tara: No shit, sister.

Gina D. said...

"...which only confirms my suspicion that online applications go into a friggin' black hole, never to surface again." Undoubtedly, and I hate to say it, but the same is true for Albany too, trust me. I truly believe that most jobs are filled by knowing someone or making a human connection (like you calling that sales department), and that the online systems are just for the companies to absorb the applications without having to do anything with them (other than send an automated email saying they received it...). There really is nothing quite like the job search--it's a pain that only people who have experienced it for more than a couple months can truly understand... good luck, Linda! I'll let you know if I see anything that might work for you here. :)

Lisa Gioia-Acres said...

I know your frustration. You would think online applying would be so much more efficient, but it isn't. I remember the days when I could walk into a company, ask for the manager, say I'm looking for a job and get hired right then and there (of course it was usually as a waitress and I was way cuter then!). I'm looking for Oregon jobs for me and John, but the process is excruciating!

What you just had to go through does not give me any positive feelings. To top it off, my guy has another company in town that wants to hire him, pay him much more than he is making but he can't go because his contract isn't up until Feb. The only way he can leave is to get fired, which is just wrong. He should be able to go to a more lucrative and challenging position but they have him locked in.

The Vegas Flea said...

Job hunting in Las Vegas is the worst, especially when looking for a professional position.

I think it's a combination of lack of education and vanity, of which both are very prevalent in Las Vegas.

It's like a dick sucking contest just to get in the door. Your 45 minute presentation is great example of that.

I've experienced the same kind of thing. I once went for an interview for an IT position and was handed a ten page test. Basically, a college exam. I made it through about 2 questions and went back into the manager's office and asked,

"What's the salary for this position?"

I put the exam on his desk and left.

I've since tried to nip this bullshit in the butt, by forcing someone from the company to answer some questions before the interview process even starts.

I don't want to sound elitist or anything, as I know there are a lot of people out of work right now. But most of these places in Las Vegas wanting you to get on your knees are generally crappy, low paying jobs.

I feel your pain Linda!

grrouchie said...

I had never had an issue getting a job until after the economy crashed hard out here.
Now it's amazing what places want you to do in order to get hired or whatever.

I was looking for a part time work just for some extra income and filling out a ton of those shitty online applications and submitting resume's then I would get a few calls back from places that were demanding I give them things I couldn't.
One said I had to be available Thurs-Sunday - 100% open availability.
I asked if she read my resume and everything else submitted. she said yes, why?
I said "Because you would have noticed where it said I work full time and only want to be in your shitty company a couple days a week around my other job. I never said I'd be willing to fuck myself over to make less money doing bull shit work" and she promptly hung up on me.

Debbie said...

Welcome to my world. This is the new norm for any job search. Tests, submitting your resume, then filling out an application wherein you repeat everything on your resume. Everything is done on-line. You never meet anyone and no one wants to see you, talk to you or deal with you. Oh, and being proactive with say, a follow up phone call is received as being desperate and pathetic with a "don't call us, we'll call you ... NEVER." I've had four interviews. Three with Disney. Each time heard "you're the top candidate, they LOVE you!" Then, the email "...despite your experience and expertise, we have decided to go with another candidate." *SIGH* This is why people go postal and/or give up. It is the most humiliating, depressing, anxiety producing process anyone will ever go through. I wonder all the time WHAT THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE LOOKING FOR?!?!

And yes. These frickin' employers are missing out on plenty of great people because of their ridiculous protocols. UGH. Like I've said a million and one times, I SHOULD RUN THE WORLD.

OK. I'm done. Thank you Linda. And good luck. I feel ya sister.


Vegas Linda Lou said...

@ Gina: I still think the companies--or, I should say, the people running the companies--in Albany are much more with it. Nonetheless, what a pain in the ass!

@ Lisa: Selfishly, I can't bear the thought of you moving! Especially since I'm sure we won't be going anywhere for a few years, at least.

@ Vegas Flea: Third paragraph--so right on. Sadly. And good for you for saying "Fuck you" to the exam.

@ grrouchie: I swear, even if you're lucky (?) enough to get called for an interview, you have to wonder if they've even read your resume. Nothing like going on an interview for nothing. I hate that.

@ Debbie: I wish you would run the world! It would be such a better place, and with only about a tenth of the population. Love you!

Mimi said...

Same story over here Linda.
I think it's a supply and demand thing, but that's no excuse and unless people tell them to get lost and get real (which admittedly not everyone can) it will get worse. Who wants to work for a company that treats its greatest asset in this way?
Think to "The Grapes of Wrath" to see how it ends if nobody stops it.
Good on you for standing up for yourself!