Friday, August 2, 2013

Online Job Hunting and My Conspiracy Theory

So, here is how NOT to recruit online.

So I get this email from Name I Don't Recognize that reads very much like spam.  The subject line starts with FYI, for one thing.  It seems the status of my job application for TEAMsomeoddnumber is changed.  This email didn't end up in my spam folder, so I opened it to find it contained very little information, as well as an attachment and a link.  This is all looking very spammy to me.  I check the full header, and it actually appears to be from a place I applied to months ago.  I plug the name into my inbox box to be sure, and find this email looks like most of the others I have received from said establishment.  OK, fine.  So I go to find out what has changed about my application, only to find out that either I've forgotten my password or my account no longer exists even though they can still send me emails (I'm now thinking that's what this change in status was, because I was not allowed to use the lost password option).  I won't go into all the infuriating details, but in conclusion I find that obscure language, mixed signals, and general over-automation is not a great strategy for online recruitment.

Seriously, I have to wonder how well this actually works, even for big corporations in a weak job market.  It seems like an awful lot of resources to put into the process of elimination.  They must be sure that all these hoops to jump through really will narrow the field down to the ones who can do the job best.  Perhaps they've calculated it all so that only a specific type of mind can actually make it through the application process.  I've made it to the interview stage a handful of times, but I have yet to actually acquire a job that I originally applied for online.

Some would argue that comparatively few jobs are actually gained by responding to any type of advertisement, and my own job experience would seem to back that up.  Very often it's about who you know and being in the right place at the right time.  This makes this shift toward online recruitment even more mysterious.  Seems like an awful lot effort to put into something that won't do the bulk of the hiring for you.  Some places don't even give you the option of applying any other way except online!  What are you doing collecting hypothetical employees in an online database if only a fraction of a fraction of them make it to your team?

One alternative explanation occurs to me:  information.  This is the age where corporations want to know about you.  Your likes, dislikes, gender, age, beliefs, politics, and anything else they can use in order to sell their product to you.  Most privacy statements will say that they would never share your information with a third party, which is the prevailing fear.  But if the company you're applying to is a big retailer, why would they sell your information?  They're the ones who need it in order to sell you stuff!

Seriously, I've talked about this before:

Sketches and Swatches: Do I really have to sign up for everything?

I give more information to these online recruitment sites than I would give most places, unless I'm filing my taxes or renewing my passport.  What bugs me, if this theory turned out to be true and online recruitment sites are just consumer information banks for corporations, is that I could tolerate this if I actually got a paying job out of it!  That's why people sign up for Vindale Research, and other "Surveys for Cash" sites.  We all know that corporations benefit from our information - why not sell it to them directly and reap some fringe benefits?  Sadly, it doesn't work that way, because there are enough ways to get our information already, that nobody has to pay you for it.

Maybe this isn't news at all.  It certainly would explain the psych-test style questionnaires and the recruitment engines using other recruitment engines to recruit.  I have to say that my job search has gone better of late.  I've had 2 interviews this past week.  One did result from an online ad, though I delivered the actual application in person.  The other was one I'd heard about through word of mouth - in fact, a friend of a family member offered me an interview.  It was at a place where I'm kind of a regular, which is nice.  The whole "it's about who you know" thing isn't as superfluous as it sounds, really.  It's good to have a real-world idea of who you're hiring and who you're being hired by.  It's not a bad place to start, at least.

This post took a turn I hadn't anticipated.  Funny the things that will occur to you when writing/wild-goose-job chasing/venting.  Thanks for reading, Blogger world!  Until next time!

PS:  Having given no time to art-talk in this blog, I feel like I should at least include some of my recent work:

Inkblot Seraphim by ~Eseopia on deviantART

Seraphim - the highest order of angel.  Covered in wings because they can't be seen by mere human beings, though that's probably an oversimplification.  I must say, angels are more interesting and diverse than they appear in pop culture, even going by what research I've done on my own time.  I've put together a calendar containing my drawings of angels that I've done over the years.  It is available through Deviantart...

Angels and Shades Calendar by ~Eseopia on deviantART

and Cafepress:

Enough product placement?  :B  I thought so.  Later!

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