Musings on Employment, #1

So I find myself looking for work in what is claimed to be the recovery time of the worst recession since the Great Depression (although Nevada is still at record unemployment – 13.7% at last report), and some thoughts come to me.

  1. Despite the clear need for businesses to attract and retain experience and talent, few seem willing to actually do so, to the long-term detriment of their businesses, regardless of any short-term quarterly gains. Maybe it really is the case that in Northern Nevada, all the companies that succeed here already have all the talented execs they need, that there are no opportunities to bring in new ideas, new blood to tackle the challenges of this market and this economy. No doubt there are going to be fewer positions open higher in the structure than at the entry-level (and there seem to be precious few of those too). If this really is the case though, then I question the basis for reporting an econimic “recovery” in hte country beyond the funny-money financial trading of the megabanks.

  2. The dis-intermediation of the internet has made the job hunt incredibly difficult by allowing those who are overwhelmed with applicant queries to simply say, “This automated response may be the only contact you receive. If we don’t call you, we don’t want you.” At least there was an automated response, I suppose. (By the way, that was a paraphrasing, but not too strongly, of an actual response I’ve received.) It’s nothing new for applicants to complain about a lack of relevant response (I’ve been on both sides of the equation, both the complainer and someone who made a geniune effort to respond, if only briefly). Hiring managers (and recruiters, and HR departments), I know you’re overwhelmed (particularly now with on-going employment issues), but if ignoring the labor pool truly is going to be the norm, it’s just another step away from the personal connection so many people and companies profess to consider important. The whole employer/employee loyalty issue is one of some debate and is quickly migrating away from what could be considered “cultural norms” in the US; the new norm going to be a complete disassociation of interpersonal connection from the act of “business”? If so, companies are going to need to account for this in operating expenses, time-to-market, and unit costs, because turnover, even in bad times, will force the cost of doing business up. Not every company or person is like this, of course, but the trend is disturbing, based on what I’ve seen personally and heard from other job seekers.

  3. Why is it that employers will (in many cases, rightfully) ignore applications that show no indication of appropriateness or even having looked to see what the target company does, but various companies/recruiters will do exactly the same thing when grabbing publicly available resumés on job search sites in order to send out solicitations? “Hey! You’re looking for work! Come sell stuff for me!” I’m not going to name names, but really, is it too much to ask for something more than a form letter and a “you could earn big money if you join my team!” pitch? If you want me to do something that is clearly outside the scope of the work I have listed on the resumé that apparently was so attractive to you for you to email me, at least give me a clue that you really do want me on your team and not just whoever is in the 1% respondents of the hundreds of email messages you probably sent out?

I’m sure some positive thoughts will come along too, because I’ve already had a couple of positive interactions (though nothing that’s resulted in work, of course). I’ll need to ponder how to present those, and other thoughts in another installment.

Until then, it’s back to the salted mimes.