It’s time for employers to rethink their hiring process and what they consider to be an ideal candidate.
Throughout the entire phone interview, I physically cringed at myself— over and over. I heard a voice in my head scolding me,
“You are so unprofessional!”
I can’t help it, you see. If I’m not able to be myself during interviews, I end up with panic attacks, and most likely without a job. Regardless, I know that a potential employer expects that the ideal candidate will act a certain way.
I remember, after graduating from college, I’d spend hours memorizing the “right” things to say in an interview. I would anticipate all of the interviewer’s questions by researching the internet for interview preparation advice.
My mom would help me practice, and of course, I practiced in front of mirrors.
Enter montage scene of a well-dressed woman talking into a brush, flipping her hair in front of a mirror, while testing different vocal tones and facial expressions.
I would work myself up so much that, from time to time, I never even made it to the interview. It was just too difficult to act; I was never one for the theater. I had been told for many years what to “expect” during an interview, and I was afraid of letting my true self seep through the interview facade I had created.
Most entering the workforce, or those who have been struggling to enter it during the past 20 years, know that an interviewer has specific expectations. Furthermore, we know a resume better not have any blemishes (even though this term is subjective, we all know what they are — employment gaps for example).
Applying for jobs is extremely painful.
If I hear my dad say, “Boy when I was young, I just walked up to a sign in the window, told the boss I wanted the job, and the sign was gone when I left” one more time, I am going to scream.
Nowadays, the expectations of potential employers are outrageously time-consuming and, at times, belittling. To be fair, I guess it depends on the company. But if you are like me, you are at your witts end with the application process.
It truly only takes a handful of rejection emails before becoming fed up. Instead of continuing to create thoughtful resumes, I would start pumping out canned resumes rather than the almighty, and very time-consuming, targeted resume AND customized cover letter.
Staffing Agencies (Puke)
After a few months of this, I got so burnt out that I decided to try out staffing agencies. Good lord, what a disgusting, and diminishing, experience.
The agency makes you come in to meet with them. Pretty normal, until they begin to pick apart your employment history, and go through an antiquated interrogation about employment gaps while drilling you about “atypical” situations, such as self-employment.
Then, they send you home to an inbox full of assessments, most likely called Prove-It. Oh, so the drilling, my master’s degree, and references don’t already do that? Now, I have to spend an entire day taking your primitive assessments just to prove that I can use a word processor only to find out the jobs listed online aren’t real, were filled months ago, or I’m not qualified for them based on my Prove-It scores?
What do They Want From Me?
So, as you can see, I’ve had it. What are employers looking for? Well, I think it’s something that is quite rare and probably won’t exist in a couple of years.
They are looking for the perfect employment history, the perfect attendance record, employee loyalty, and years of experience.
The workforce is changing
The baby boomers are retiring and the generation x’ers and millennials are applying for their jobs. Those of us who have been working for minimal pay, at the bottom of the ladder, and eyeing-up senior workers’ positions, have a much different background than what companies are used to:
- We have advanced degrees, which may have taken us years to get, and therefore, our work experience may be limited because we’ve spent our time in the education system.
- We have employment gaps because we have most likely been stuck at the bottom of the hierarchy and when layoffs or “restructures” occur, many times those with less seniority are given the boot.
- We have job-hopped, unapologetically, because we have HAD to settle for jobs lesser than we are best suited for because we have not been able to get our foot in the door where we truly want to be.
- We may not have the experience you require because we HAVE sold ourselves short in positions we are overqualified for because finding a job with our degree is not as easy as we were originally promised, as 18-year-olds.
It’s OK to Hire Us
- Because we have proven that we can commit and work hard (many of us have degrees to prove it).
- We have humbled ourselves by working jobs that we are overqualified for.
- We bring a LOT to the table. Instead of looking down on us for having more than one job in the past three years, give us some credit for taking on different experiences.
- We will value the job we are applying for. We’ve come a long way to get here, so we will not take it for granted.
- Well…to be frank, pretty soon you won’t have much of a choice.
Change is Coming
As the baby boomers begin retiring, they take with them the standard that had previously been set as the “ideal candidate.” There will be a more diverse applicant pool with not-so-perfect backgrounds. The job-seekers that had previously been discarded immediately due to situations like an employment gap, or lack of references in their chosen field, will need to be considered.
It’s time to update the application process and give millennials a fighting chance by looking at job applicants through a fresh lens. They’ve earned it.
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