Things That Job Hunters Hate – #myjobhunt
Last week was my first week of availability; I’d forgotten how exciting job hunting can be. Yet, despite really enjoying meeting new people, the conversations that result and the relationships that evolve, job hunting is not easy. I find it both fun and fascinating and very hard work all at the same time. That’s when it’s going okay. In fact even when it is going okay it saps the energy, both physically and mentally. The concentration required is very taxing to say the least. I know I am not alone in admitting it can be very stressful and intimidating at times. But let’s face it unless you want to give everything up, you have to keep going. But can you imagine what it must be like for those who have been out of work for so long that they can’t say it’s going okay?. How stressful and confidence sapping must that be?
I had three months’ notice that my contract was definitely coming to an end and therefore I had plenty of time to get the #myjobhunt process started. I thought I had the time, but in reality when still getting stuff done in the day-job, job hunting was very very difficult, almost impossible to do aggressively yet the pace did pick up in the last two weeks. The number of contacts, referrals and interviews I had lined up was a real surprise to me. In the last week, my first week of availability I’ve had a couple of days where there were two interviews each day, each with companies new to me and in markets alien to me. All with the same challenges but with their own unique requirements to be met. I will I hope have done a good job in all, but likely as not I won’t be the preferred candidate in all of them. But I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunities to sell myself. The refreshing and mature aspect of these companies is that their HRDs are not misguided into believing that market or industry sector experience is crucial at this level. It frustrates the hell out of me when I get told “sorry you don’t have retail (or similar) experience” or “you haven’t been an HR Generalist” or as one person said to me this week “we may decide to take someone from a general HR background because they have better communication skills”. I’ll let you judge and feel free to comment.
I suspect there are many job hunters out there in the same position and not having a good time of it at the moment and it certainly doesn’t help when short-sighted hiring managers ask for irrelevancies or focus too much on what someone has done in the past, rather than looking harder at the knowledge and attributes they can bring and what they are able to do. Sadly this is all too common, the vast majority of interviewers and hiring managers simply do not know how to interview and assess someone properly. They lack the skills themselves to explore candidates’ abilities and potential. They therefore let themselves down by missing out on good people for the future development of their department and company and they let the candidate down too. And we all know the impact a bad interviewer or bad interview experience can have. Getting a consistent approach to interviews, questions and evaluations should be a top priority for every Resourcing leader and business leader – it’s not that hard to do either and depending on the size of your organisation can be rolled out very quickly too.
Ok so questionable job requirements, over ambitious wish lists and crap interviewers are some of the frustrations that we can all relate to, but there is one that I think we would all agree just isn’t acceptable yet still happens all too often. Post-interview feedback. Or the lack of feedback to be precise.
During the last three months of my contract I was pursuing a position with one particular company. A job I really liked the sound of and was very excited about. I had 5 interviews with this particular company; one with their most senior global resourcing person and another with their most senior HRD in EMEA. They were very pleasant and professional and gave me a good sense of what their plans were and what many of their company and personal business values were. Sadly I was to be disappointed on two fronts with this company. Firstly I didn’t get the job but knowing the chap that did helped me accept it with a smile. Secondly and what I was more disappointed about was the lack of feedback. I received none whatsoever. All I got was that they chose someone else. In my case I gave over 8 hours of my time (inc. travel) to attend these interviews.
It was over a month from the last interview to being told I didn’t get it, so I wasn’t surprised but given the values and the conversations I’d had I was surprised when the search firm still wasn’t able to get me any feedback. We all know this happens; it’s talked about and complained about by candidates all over the world. I would suspect that this it is the biggest complaint that candidates have.
Now I don’t write this to have a pop at that particular company. As many of you know if I was that bothered personally I’d not hesitate in naming them would I? But really you/we should all do better than this. It is not only lazy, wrong and rude it damages your personal reputation and that of your company.
In my position as recruiter looking to be recruited I am probably more relaxed about this most candidates. From a Resourcing Manager’s perspective I am appalled.
As a candidate I do have in insiders understanding of the processes involved, the expectations and the acceptance that things aren’t perfect and therefore don’t take it too personally. I could bitch and moan and complain how unfair it all is, actually I do that quite a bit, but I knew what it would be like at the outset. Job hunting is all about motivation, not getting too disappointed and being tenacious. Much of the motivation comes from being able to identify where you went wrong and be encouraged that you can improve. Not that many people are self-aware enough to know where they screwed up, so they really on the feedback of others. Receiving post-interview feedback really does help and it should matter too. From a candidates point of view it is required for learning purposes or just plain closure. From the company’s perspective it is essential to give a real and valid reason to ensure that you live up to the promises and value you spoke about in the interview.
From the other side of the fence, the Resourcing Managers’, don’t you realise the damage you are doing to you own personal reputation let alone the feelings a candidate might have towards your company as a result of not taking 15 mins to provide feedback to someone? If you don’t I am sure your CEO would like to have a word. If you don’t then I’d gladly spend time explaining why and help you improve your approach and processes.
In the last month or so countless people have ask me how my quest has been going. On every occasion I reply “it’s going okay”. Never good, never great and never poorly, just okay. And it will always be just okay until I sign on the dotted line; then it will be great. There could come a time when I want to describe it as poor, maybe if I’ve been turned down or had bad feedback. But until any of those times actually happen, it will be okay. This is good.
So, job hunters, but strong and keep going, think about how you can improve as you go through the experience.
Employers be honest and fair and respect the candidates – you have to be better because as with last year many of you are not as good at hiring as you think you are.
thanks for reading