Top 7 Reasons Why Looking For Work is God Awful

Four simultaneous interviewers can’t be enough. How can we make this even more uncomfortable?

Is there anything worse in this world than looking for a new job? I know there are real tragedies to consider, but the insanity that one deals with while trying to find a new job is truly soul-rending. Here are the top reasons why looking for a job is the absolute worst:

7.) Information asymmetry – First of all, the entire process is tilted in the employer’s favor. You, the applicant, have no idea if the job you’re applying for is even really available. Ever apply for a job so perfect for you that it looks like your name should be written at the bottom of it, but still couldn’t get an interview? Welcome to the world of health care, where hospitals post jobs to their websites with no intention of actually filling it.  Actually, according to an article in the New York Times, that’s the world everywhere:

Research from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that “recruiting intensity” — that is, business efforts to fill job openings — has been low in this recovery. Employers may be posting openings, but they are not trying all that hard to fill them, say, by increasing job ads or offering better pay packages.

Or maybe they do want to fill it, and already have the person that they want to hire lined up. Unfortunately, hospital policy states multiple applicants must be seen to avoid the appearance of favoritism. This despite the fact that nepotism reigns supreme, so even when you score an interview, you’ll always be second choice to an internal candidate who’s probably someone’s nephew.  That reminds me, I need to go and yell at my uncles.

6.) Salary discussions – So an employer budgets for a new position. They know exactly how much they’re willing to pay within a specified range. But do they publish this information? Of course not! On the off-chance that the job seeker was truly getting screwed on salary by their previous employer, they reserve the right to pay they least amount possible even if that is well below what they budgeted for the position. Notice how they always ask what you’re making first?  Yup, let the screwing begin.  Things are so twisted that it’s considered a faux pas to mention money too early in the interview process. That makes total sense. Why would I want to know how much money I’ll be paid? I’ve had interviews that have required a litany of work experience, multiple certifications, and even graduate-level degrees. But when we finally got down to brass tacks, the salary was definitely *not* commensurate with their stated expectations. As I’m not a social worker, I expect to be paid! We’d save everyone a whole lot of time if you greedy bastards would just post the salary ranges online.

5.) Recruiters – Recruiters can actually be very useful provided they have a basic understanding of the businesses and positions they’re recruiting for. However, it seems like 70% of these people have no idea what they’re talking about. I’ve had to explain to several why I wouldn’t be right for some specific position or other. They seemed surprised. It’s so ass-backwards. The so-called experts are headhunting me for positions that aren’t right at all. Or the positions are fine, but the locations are off. Clearly they aren’t from NYC where most people don’t drive. You people aren’t going to pay me enough to work in Connecticut. Yesterday I actually had to explain to a recruiter that I wasn’t willing to take a cab to and from Westchester everyday. The job was so far from any transportation it literally says Here, There Be Dragons on the Metro North Map. And incidentally, I’m not helping you with your search unless I’m getting a cut of the money. So stop asking me to forward my colleagues to you.

4.) Discrimination Against the Unemployed – Basically you need to have a job to find a job. Even though today it’s technically illegal in NYC to discriminate against a person for not being currently employed, it’s an open secret that employers don’t like people without a job. Quite ironic, I know. Advertisments for jobs “must be currently employed” are commonplace. Failing that, you need to be able to explain why you’ve been out of work for longer than six months. Luckily, I’ve worked steadily as an adult but that bring us to the next point.

3.) The Inconvenience – Despite the fact that employers don’t like people who’ve been unemployed for any length of time, they certainly aren’t helpful in terms of scheduling. At my current career level, the positions I’m going for require multiple levels of interviews. So between meeting the entire C-suite plus the human resources representative, we’re talking a minimum of four people. That means I have to take multiple days off my current job. How is it remotely fair to shun people without jobs but also make it very difficult for those with jobs to actually try to get better ones?

2.) Lack of Professionalism – I can’t tell you how many of these interviewers expect perfection from interviewees, yet can’t seem to be ready for the interview themselves. I can’t count the number of interviews I’ve had that started on time on one hand. And why are you asking me for my resume? I’ve already been online, filled out the application, attached my resume to said application, and talked to HR. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a copy already. Not only should you have a copy, you should have already read it and have specific questions about my experiences. You know, the same way I’m expected to research this company. I always get the feeling that the first time they look at my resume is right as I sit down for the interview. Get it together people!

1.) Oh God, The Questions – I am now convinced that interviews aren’t meant to elicit any useful information whatsoever. The questions come in two flavors:

  • a.) Annoyingly Stupid Questions – A little while ago I spoke with a surgeon regarding a position. Since she’s a surgeon she believes that she isn’t making nearly enough money on the procedures she performs. If you’ve never dealt with surgeons before, you should know that even though their average salary is substantially higher than “normal” doctors, they all believe that they should make even more money. Anyway, she describes this innovative procedure that very few surgeons even know about but doesn’t think the reimbursement is nearly high enough. And I just want to scream: Dude, you’ve been doing this for 15 years. When has innovation in health care ever lead to more money for doctors? The answer is NEVER.
  • b.) Uselessly Broad Questions: Where do you plan to be in five years? How do you handle stressful situations? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? The answer to those questions are all the same: DRINKING!

But my favorite useless question is the one where they ask why are you looking for a new job. At this point I break out a few researched factoids about the specific position for which I’m interviewing. Maybe even throw in the old my current job doesn’t have much potential in terms of promotions. If I’m really feeling generous I’ll talk about how much more exciting this position is than my current job. But none of that is actually true.

I’ve mostly work for academic medical centers. The benefits packages at my level are all pretty similar no matter the hospital. I hate to disillusion folks who believe that this job (any job really) is so exciting, so full of interesting people, so brimming with societal resonance, that it doesn’t matter what my salary is. Like if I hit the Powerball Jackpot, I’d still want to work here. But it’s not and I wouldn’t. I do have a mortgage to pay though. So the reason why I’m looking for a new job is money. Anyone who tells you it isn’t about money is lying or deluded. They should also listen to Dave Chappelle. His bit on Coke and Pepsi is good interview primer.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to play the Powerball.

Categories: Random Rant

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