The 12 Pains of a Job Search
In the spirit of “The 12 Days of Christmas”, we take a look at 12 of the most painful things about job searches, and how to make them a little less agonizing.
12. Finding Time to Search
Job hunting is time-consuming if you’re going about it the right way. Finding the right position with the right company can be daunting. The more crucial your need is to find a job, the more apt you are to apply for jobs that are not right for you. Think about how far you want to commute and what your ideal job involves. Targeting the companies you really want to work for, and the positions you really want is a better use of your time. If you’re working in a position you don’t like, you may be tempted to search for and apply to jobs while you’re at work. This is not recommended for a few reasons. For starters, a Proofpoint survey found that 32% of large companies read employee email. Using your lunch breaks to search is acceptable, but you should consider going to a coffee shop or library, and only use your personal computer, phone and email for any correspondence. To be discreet and respectful, your job search should take place after work and on weekends.
11. Updating Your Resume
While it seems like a lot of work, you really do need to tailor your resume so that it will be noticed by hiring managers. Monster.com recommends developing one general resume, and then tweaking it for each particular job opportunity. Before you respond to a job posting, review the job description to see what requirements are important and adjust the language of your resume to match. To be clear, you should never falsify any information in your resume. Using similar terminology to what is used in the job description wherever possible will result in your resume coming up in more online searches. Research the company on LinkedIn and through their website to find ways the organization would benefit from bringing you on board. Make sure that your resume title and objective states your goal position, along with one or two of your skills that best suit the needs of your prospective employer. Rather than applying to more jobs, you’re spending your valuable time creating a more focused approach that is likely to get you more attention from the companies where you really want to work.
10. Taking time off for Interviews
If you are searching for a new position while you are currently employed, it can be very difficult to come up with reasons for why you need some personal time out of the office. In the current market, employers are becoming more acquainted with a reality in which most people are employed, and might not have the flexibility to meet in the middle of a weekday. In the event that your prospective employer is not willing to meet after standard working hours, or on a weekend, you may be able to suggest a phone interview, or a Skype meeting first. If you have to take time off from work for an interview, consider doing it early in the morning, at the end of the day, or at lunch, since requesting a little bit of flexibility at these times is more common. If you can schedule multiple interviews in one day, you can request a vacation or sick day. This will enable you to take care of follow-up and send thank you emails on your own time. Having a few excuses at the ready may be a good idea as well. For example, a car or home repair issue, a parent-teacher meeting, or veterinary appointments are good excuses that employers are not likely to question.
9. Cumbersome Job Applications
Because some organizations use their job applications as a means of screening candidates, just taking the time to apply can be very time consuming. Many organizations will utilize personality tests and games as part of their application to qualify candidates. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can add to the time it takes you to actually submit your resume and apply. This is another good reason to target your search. The last thing you need is to spend a great deal of time on an application for a job that may not even be the best fit for you. Those companies that have streamlined their application process, and optimized it for mobile use are good targets. They have the candidate experience in mind. They are more likely to have adopted other practices within their organization that take into consideration the needs of their employees.
8. The Annoying Interview Questions
As you start going on interviews, you may notice similarities in the types of questions that your interviews ask. For example, “where do you see yourself in five years?” is one of the most common questions interviews use to gauge a candidate’s level of commitment and interest in an organization. Even though you may be hearing these questions on repeat, you still need to rehearse your responses to concisely explain what you bring to the organization. Bradley published two blogs about the interview questions that make jobseekers cringe and the best way to answer them. You can read about them here and here. Interviews will take time and planning, but your preparation will bring you one step closer to landing the job you really want.
7. Poor Interviewers
The unfortunate reality is that not all hiring managers are adept at interviewing. You may find yourself face to face with an inexperienced interviewer, and a need to showcase your talents and fit for the position. Preparation is the key here. You can’t possibly be ready for every situation, especially a bad interviewer. Reviewing some common interview questions and preparing some real-world examples of ways you made a difference in your current and past roles will help you get the interview back on track.
6. Scrambling for References
There are actually several things that every candidate should do before they even begin a job search. One of those is alerting those in your network that you are thinking of beginning a job search. You can request contact information, letters of recommendation and permission to use them as references. As an additional bonus, you will be on their radar for any possible jobs they know about for which they think you might be a good fit. Having this reference information ready in advance will keep you from scurrying around when a potential employer requests it. You’ll be able to channel your energy into preparing for the interview instead. It is also a good idea to save your references and recommendation letters wherever you save your resume and cover letters on your PC or laptop so you don’t have to searching through emails.
5. Employer-Centric Job Ads
You’ve probably read more than one job ad that goes into excessive detail about what the position requires and what skills are mandatory for the job, but says nothing about what a candidate can enjoy if they take a position with the company. In many cases, this is just because the employer is reposting a job description that they have used for years. They may not understand the need to appeal to a candidate’s needs as well as their own to secure the right fit for the job. If a position looks like a great fit for your skills and salary requirements, you can probably overlook an employer-centric job ad. This is especially true if everything else about the company’s culture is appealing to you.
4. Slow Response Times
A common complaint among jobseekers is that employers and hiring managers don’t respond to them in a timely fashion after resumes are submitted, interview times are proposed, or an interview has taken place. This is definitely a valid grievance. If the job is worth the wait, you may wish to take a few things into account before you get too upset with an unresponsive hiring manager. Many people in this position are juggling their regular responsibilities in addition to reviewing resumes and conducting interviews. Don’t assume the worst. They may be legitimately overwhelmed with other tasks. Your best course of action is to keep your own responses as timely as possible, and propose ways that you can preemptively follow up to find out about next steps. Reserve your follow up only for those instances when the timeframe given by the hiring manager for a response has come and gone. You don’t want to become a bother. If you’re not getting responses to your correspondence and you’re on the fence about the job, your time may be better spent looking elsewhere to find something you’re passionate about.
3. Bait and Switch
Bait and Switch takes place when you apply for a job and means that you are hired for a particular position but end up performing unrelated duties that either fail to utilize your skills, or are just not appealing to you. Sometimes the bait and switch happens before you even take the job. You apply based on the job description and then discover during the course of the interview process that there are other critical aspects of the job you are not crazy about. Sometimes this discrepancy occurs when different people within the organization aren’t in agreement about what the job entails. Unfortunately this type of disorganization is common in a lot of businesses, especially as they continue to grow. If you realize this before you take the job, you can ask questions and express your concerns. If the hiring manager is willing to listen and work with you, the salary is right, and you genuinely like the organization, you can decide if you want to take the job, despite the uncertainty in your duties. If the switch takes place after you are in your new role, your best course of action is to compare your current duties to those listed in the job posting. Determine if your skills are being undervalued or if you’re learning new ones that could enhance your resume and career. If you have considered the situation and you are not happy, you can try discussing it with your boss. Avoid being accusatory, but let them know the job isn’t what you expected. You shouldn’t stay in a job that is not a good fit, but you also shouldn’t leave before finding something else.
2. The Lengthy Hiring Process
Even in this near zero unemployment job market, some organizations are still infamous for having a slow hiring process. Most of the unfavorable reviews of businesses on Glassdoor are directly related to a long and cumbersome hiring process. Sometimes it’s due to an organization’s underutilization of available technology that can help streamline the process. Sometimes it’s just habitual action on the part of an organization and its managers. No matter what the cause, it can be very frustrating. You can combat some of this frustration by always asking about next steps, or when you can expect to receive a decision. This way you are setting the stage for you to follow up if you don’t hear back within the proposed time. You have the option to take yourself out of the running for a role if you feel the employer isn’t serious about filling the position. If the job is a good fit to your skills, and you can check all the other boxes related to salary, benefits, commute and work-life balance, you may want to stick with it.
1. The Resume Black Hole
Another all-too-common complaint among jobseekers is when you send your resume to a prospective employer or hiring manager and don’t receive so much as a confirmation that it was received. This is another bad habit that many employers often don’t even realize costs them top talent. While you don’t have any control in how this is handled at an organization, there are things you can do to help you avoid the resume black hole. For example, having someone proofread your resume for typos is important because sometimes that is all it takes for an employer to pass on a candidate. You should also keep your resume formatting simplistic and include key words in the title and objective so employers can find out quickly if you have the right experience. Companies with interactive career pages will sometimes post updates and give you status about the hiring process. Just having insight about a company’s hiring process will keep you from feeling too defeated about not hearing back right away.
The process of finding the right job with the right organization can be a job in itself; it takes planning and a positive attitude. Control the things you can with research and preparation. Take some time for yourself throughout the process. Giving yourself breaks will ensure that you approach your search with enthusiasm that will be evident in all of your interactions with potential employers. If you happen to be applying for jobs now during the holiday season, you may have to employ even more patience. In the midst of holiday parties and the usual end of year activities, you may not get as quick a response as you would like. Don’t stress, as it is typical for organizations to save interviews and hiring decisions for the New Year. Use this time to research companies, develop a strategy and get mentally prepared to do great things in 2018.
Bradley Staffing Group is a full-service staffing firm based in Wayne, PA. We are committed to matching A-level talent with best-in-class businesses. Our knowledgeable and well-trained staff brings a combined 70+ years of staffing experience to our clients and candidates alike. http://useful-sock.flywheelsites.com/contact-us/