Can a process become any more monumentally fucked up?
It used to be a straightforward thing; you needed a job, someone had one to offer, you got together and hammered out the details, if you were qualified. There were firms that facilitated the process, so-called Personnel Agencies, and their Job Placement Specialists, who were plugged in to your industry, and knew who to talk to. They had personal relationships with hiring managers and Human Resources folk, and that went a very long way towards making the whole thing run that much more smoothly.
Nowadays, your so-called Placement Specialist is little more than a just-barely-intelligent-enough-to-remember-to-breathe moron who seemingly does little more than occupy a seat and occasionally answer a telephone. They certainly are not knowledgeable about the industry they're supposedly screening candidates for, and their great asset seems to be the ability to scan a resume for acronyms they remember seeing on the request form they got from the employer. They do not know the differences/similarities between one software package and another, one system and another, and most give the impression that they still wouldn't know if you pumped the data into them via high-pressure, 24-hour-enema.
All of them will tell you the same thing when you call them on their shocking lack of knowledge:
"I'm not required to know that...I only have to make sure that what's on your resume is the same as what the customer is asking for on this form..."
And it seems the majority of that vital task isn't even done by them personally. Instead, the information on your resume is entered into a database, and a computer searches for matches, and then spits you out. So, not only don;t the Placement Specialists know the difference between, say, CA-7 and OPCA (or what they are used for!) -- neither does the computer.
Which brings us to the buzzword. I hate buzzwords. Buzzwords are for people who can't remember a concept in entire sentences. The buzzword for this situation is "networking".
In other words, you'd better be in touch with people in your industry, and not just the hiring managers and Human Resource types, and the Job Placement Specialists, but the people on the floor doing the actual work. Because you have a better chance of landing a job by talking to someone who knows someone else then you do by the tried and traditional means of retaining the services of a Job Placement Specialist.
Which begs the question:
"How do the Job Placement Specialists continue to stay in business?"
Anyways, here's some of the really ridiculously-stupid questions I have been asked in the last week by so-called professionals (and the answers I would have really loved to have give, but had to think twice about):
Q: Would you be willing to relocate?
A: If there's a paycheck, then yes. Why do you think I'm here?
Q: Would you be willing to relocate to Nebraska?
A: If there's a paycheck, then yes. Why do you think I'm here, and besides, didn't I check the box that read "Would you be willing to relocate?" on the form? What kind of a douche are you?
Q: Do you have any hobbies that might make you a more attractive candidate?
A: Am I applying for a job, or a new best friend? I'm absolutely certain that no one will hire me because of my rabid passion for coin collecting, interest in tropical fish or near-religious hockey fanaticism. Why, when I was a boss, I know I certainly spent many a sleepless night concerned about what my worker bees did in their off hours....not! Think we can work around that one, Sparky?
Q: Do you belong to any organizations that might make you a more attractive candidate, or perhaps, make it more difficult to place you?
A:I didn't go to college, so I wasn't in any dopey fraternities, I'm not a Freemason, Knight Templar, member of the Raccoon Lodge, or Mafioso. I was kicked out of the Klan several years ago because I dated an Asian girl (she could cook and liked doing laundry!), and i let my Nazi Party membership expire. I'm not even a registered republican, so I guess that means I can't be on the Board of Directors, huh? And besides, didn't I write "none" on the form? Can't you read, Skippy? Isn't this rather irrelevant?
The Online world is not much better; I have used Monster. com and TheLadders.com (I will provide a link for neither, because they're sorta-kinda useless) and a few other online services, and I get offers fairly regularly...from people on the other side of the continent -- which makes interviewing somewhat problematic. Besides, very few of the postings on these services tend to be long-term jobs (in my industry, anyways), and most are short-term contracts -- which are lucrative, but guess what?; since I don't have a degree, I usually don't qualify for them anyways! The computer (there's that damned computer again!) spit my resume into so-and-so's in-box, and they reflexively contacted me.
Even though I could easily do the job they have in mind, they can't get me past HR because of the degree requirement.
*Sigh* Maybe I'll just sell my body...