Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wish List for Job Postings

Recently, I've found out that "entry level" jobs can require more than three years of relevant experience. This baffles me, so I hopped on the Internet to learn more. I follow the Ask A Manager blog in an attempt to keep a sense of perspective and learn more about professional conduct, and in this post, Ms. Green recommends a book called Why Good People Can't Get Jobs by Peter Cappelli. The Kindle version was under six dollars, so I decided to pick it up. It made me feel a great deal better about my job search and helped me articulate some things that hurt both employers and candidates.

Based on this and some of my more recent job-search failures, I have developed a wish list for employers-- stuff that would make my life easier and might help out HR at the companies to which I've applied, too.
  1. If you're going to kick out my resume based on a hard-coded binary decision, do so before I spend 45 minutes filling out your application.

    Ms. Green suggests that Dr. Cappelli overstates how often this happens, but I know that it's happened to me at least once after filling out a particularly odious application. Most vexing, and super easy to fix.

    Look, you can even copy and paste the following phrase: "We will not consider applicants without ___________."  Just fill in the blank, and I will automatically think better of your company (unless the requirement is ridiculous).
  2. When you post "entry level" jobs or positions "for new graduates", make sure you clarify how much experience you require.

    I keep running into jobs "for new graduates" that require more than three years of experience. I realize there are a few people out there who worked between high school and college in professional roles and a few more who have gone back to school to change careers, but the pool of people in this boat can't be THAT big. Still, over the past week, I have started applying to at least three different "entry-level" jobs that list minimum experience levels ranging from three to seven years before cottoning on and either (a) abandoning application (for the one that required 5-10 years) or (b) applying anyway (for the one that specified a 3-year minimum).
  3. The more searchable you make the job listings, the better I can determine which positions fit me well.

    Right now, as a recent graduate, I don't really live anywhere and I'm somewhat open to relocation. While "four hours away from anywhere else" doesn't work for me*, there are a lot of places I will move to at my own expense. I'm more interested in finding a position where I can make an impact and build value-- but I can't search positions based on skills and qualifications.
  4. Similarly, the more detail you include in a job listing, the more productively everyone can use time.

    If you're looking for a mechanical engineer whose core responsibilities will be determining price and dimensions for gas furnaces, please say so-- I won't apply, mistakenly thinking that you're looking for a mathematician with some business sense, and you won't waste your time interviewing me. Meanwhile, bonus points to employers who list core requirements and then rank nice-to-have qualifications based on how important they find them.
  5. Don't store passwords in plaintext.

    Just don't.
If anyone has any good workarounds for any of these, I'd love to hear them.
*Where will K find a job if you are the only employer in a two-hour radius? Alternately, will you pay me enough to make up for his lost income?

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