So, have you been there yet?
Those of you who are seeking a job probably know exactly what I’m asking. You see a position advertised. It is written to perfectly fit your background, experience, and resume. You e-mail a very classy letter to the human resources department – never directly to the person who is going to hire you – accompanied by your very professional resume, and you wait…and, you wait, and…you…wait. With any luck, you might…very iffy, but might…get a response indicating that ‘they’ have received your resume. Nah, I’ll go further than that…you probably won’t get any response that they’ve received your documentation. You have been put “in the cloud.” It’s a wonderful expression. Means absolutely nothing, but it sounds good.
Next, you look for friends, relatives, past bosses (who like you, of course), and acquaintances…you know, like the barista at Starbucks who gets you your mocha latte every morning…anyone who may have a nodding acquaintance with the company to which you sent your resume and classy letter – by e-mail, of course, and maybe, just maybe, with a little luck, you find somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who will call the somebody they know at the organization and give you a reference of some kind. Whew! And now you wait some more. You might hear directly from the company, although it’s doubtful, so you wait a week and call the HR department. They confirm or deny that they have received your resume, so, either “resend,” – they don’t even say “Please,” or they say that they have your resume on file, or…they say…”That position has been filled.” When it reaches that point, your first instinct is to crawl into the phone, through the ether, and through the phone at the other end, just to strangle the bitch – could be a bastard also – who told you the job wouldn’t be yours, even though you were the most qualified person in the world for the position.
Does any of this sound familiar…in any way, shape, or form? If you haven’t been there you haven’t lived a full and complete life. It isn’t really necessary for the average employer to post any job opening, either internally or externally (so why all the want ads in the paper). To quote the HR Daily Advisor, “…most employers are free to opt to post job openings when doing so is the best course of action for the situation and to refrain from doing so when they’re so inclined. If an organization is receiving any kind of federal monies, it is obligated, “…under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), as amended by the Jobs for Veterans Act (JVA), are required by regulation to post open positions.”
I well remember a situation in Pennsylvania. A friend of mine, working at a community college, was asked to take a candidate for lunch and an interview. When he asked, “Why?” he was told that even though they already knew who the new hire would be, they had to comply with federal regulations. “The man I took to lunch would have been ideal for the job,” he said, “but HR and the department head had already made up their minds. This guy would have been perfect. I wanted to scream that the job was gone, but, of course, I couldn’t do that. It was sinful that we should get this man’s hopes up like that.”
When I was searching for a new job, I learned very quickly to ask about internal candidates. On several occasions I was told that there were no internal candidates, only to find that was exactly who was hired to fill the position. In one case, I was told by the president of the university that he no longer wanted a woman in the slot for which I was applying. Perhaps he should have told his administrative assistant. They wound up hiring one of her lady friends!
All most job seekers want is a chance. If someone in the organization has a family member or a close friend, great, but don’t string along candidates for a position that is already closed. If it’s in the company contract that outside candidates will always be considered, be honest with those candidates who apply. They don’t have to be told that the COO’s nephew’s best friend from college’s roommate/son/grandnephew is going to fill the job but there are other ways to let the ‘we-can’t-hire-you-because’ candidate down easily.
As I write this, I have a friend who has been looking for a bit over two years. I know him to be a hard worker, a talented person with a great resume in the field of collegiate and professional athletics. His patience is remarkable, although I did mention that it took me three years to find my last job. Someone is going to realize just how great an addition he would be to their department. Until then, he’s working in several areas. After all, the rent still has to be paid, and eating is always a good thing!