Job Stuff 51

This is more or less a newsletter for job seekers like myself.  I try to find good job search strategies, bad job search strategies, pure BS and job related articles every week.  So far I’ve never run short.  Please pass this around. I’m not doing this for any reason other than the desire to help and communicate with other job seekers.  If you have any good links or stories, especially stories please comment.  If you want the story private, just put that in the comment and I will trash it and  not let it post.


Treat everybody at a place well.  Even the person at the front desk.

One of the most important people in the interview process

Those people tend to be more important than you might think.

Another Liz horror story.

The fact is that almost nobody is fully “qualified” for the work they do, on paper. Yet somehow the work gets done.

What HR depts. could learn from Hayek

And then other, more philosophical questions flooded in. Without any feedback other than a basic employment application, can the HR department’s algorithm or its employees truly determine the best candidate pool? Can HR’s remaining candidate pool predict the future employees who will provide the most value to the company?

Of course not. If the company’s department managers, who better understand their group’s needed skillsets and experience, cannot perfectly forecast the most valuable future employees, the individuals in HR far removed from the department manager’s knowledge stand no chance.

HR Commissars

In other words, HR’s problem is Hayekian in nature. F.A. Hayek writes, “it [the economic problem of society] is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know.”

Government interventions in HR have the unintended consequences of burdening companies’ other departments.

While HR employees may be equipped to attract talent, this is only one-half of their economic problem. The other half, the one in which HR is ill-equipped, is the process to secure (hire) these resources – specialized labor across a multitude of job functions – despite not understanding specific skills and relative importance of these skills to respective hiring managers.

In this respect, HR and their algorithms serve as central planning commissars, devoid of the feedback and knowledge needed to approve or disapprove candidate hiring for the company’s departments. As technical innovation and the development of required skillsets to fill these openings inevitably continues, the service provided by the traditional, centralized HR hiring department to their coworkers in specialized, technical departments may suffer.

The contrast between HR departments, whose foremost objective is compliance with government regulations and whose structure reflects the bureaucracy that they enshrine, and companies’ other lean, innovative departments could not be more stark. Government interventions in HR have the unintended consequences of burdening companies’ other departments, which operate not according to government dictates, but solely based upon profit and loss.


Science suggest you quit your job for your health.

They’ve turned over applications to ‘bots.  Now they want to turn over the interview?

HireVue Video Interviews: HR insults talent in a talent shortage

No one from the employer has spoken with you. No manager has taken time to answer your questions. No one at the employer company knows you exist.

When you’re done, you click your video interview up to a database at a company called HireVue. What you don’t know is that no human will ever take time to watch you answer all those questions. No one hears you speak.

Another robot “views” your video and algorithms scan the sounds and movements you make in the video.

The employer has invested its money in HireVue, not in you, to conduct this assessment — which we can’t even call an interview because although HR is viewing there is no inter-action with anyone. It’s just your bit stream and a recording and some software and hardware, saving the employer the cost of deploying a human to judge you.


There’s a recent fluff piece about HireVue in the Wall Street Journal — which should know better: Video Job Interviews: Hiring for the Selfie Age. (The Journal requires a paid membership, but you can view the article for free by searching Google for the title, then X-ing past the splash screen.) On the other hand, the dusty skeleton in the WSJ’s closet is its defunct CareerJournal, which compromised the newspaper’s editorial integrity to sell its job-board service: Job-Board Journalism: Selling Out The American Job Hunter. So perhaps it’s no surprise the WSJ is hawking HR technology.

I’d like to ask the Ask The Headhunter community: Do you as a job seeker (or as a hiring manager, or as even one of the many HR folks who subscribe to Ask The Headhunter) buy this stuff?

canddiate-lineInterview videos infomercial claim #1

“…companies say [HireVue] is an efficient, fair and inexpensive way to process hundreds of applicants…”

The key word in this statement is “process,” as in “process meat.” Here’s what Gilman Louie, partner at Silicon Valley venture firm Alsop Louie, told me about how modern HR technology destroys an employer’s competitive edge:

“HR processes 2,000 candidates! They don’t look through 2,000 candidates! And at the end of the process, what they get is the same candidate that everybody else running PeopleSoft gets! So where’s your competitive advantage if everybody turns up with the same candidates?”

And still more:

What does HireVue tell us about employers?

Thank you so much for applying with Connections Education!  I am sending you a first round, preliminary digital interview request in a separate email through our vendor, HireVue, for the position with Connections Education. [Note the redundancy in mentioning the company name twice, was this email sent by an algorithm?] This process allows you to record yourself answering questions that will be watched by the hiring team, who will then set up second round, in-person interviews.”

I replied as follows:

“To quote the letter writer in this ATH article (HR Pornography: Interview videos), I find this request creepy, impersonal, presumptuous, Orwellian, exploitative, voyeuristic, unprofessional, and perhaps even unethical. It is also insulting. A hiring manager that won’t ‘waste’ their time interviewing candidates is certainly not worthy of my time. I am withdrawing my application.”

Her response:

“I am sorry that you feel that way and it is certainly not meant to be any of those items listed. If you would prefer to do a phone interview instead, we can arrange that. The reason we use HireVue as the first step in our process is because of the high volume of positions we have open, it would be impossible to screen the amount of applicants we are able to using a tool like HireVue. You can also opt to turn the video part off and just do audio id desired. I hope you’ll reconsider this position and agree to a phone interview.” [sic]

So, there ya go, I refused the HireVue and got a phone interview with the hiring mgrs.

The call consisted of a man who was the creative mgr and a woman who was director of marketing. The woman seemed nice, but the man had the personality of an uncooked potato. How’s that for ironic? I certainly would like to have seen this guy perform on a video camera to see if it would have been worth my time to talk to him (it wasn’t!).

Needless to say, the “interview” went nowhere — when you talk and talk and talk but the hiring mgr has nothing much to say other than “do you prefer mac or pc” (and you get sentenced to hell if you answer pc!) the outcome is inevitable.

I got their rejection email a few days later, to my relief. Of course, I’m still unemployed, but hey at least I stood my ground…*sigh*

I suppose that wasn’t a huge leap into pure Orwell, but does HR have to take it?

Hey recruiters, job seekers are people too!!

My motivation for writing this is based on an email I received from a friend currently seeking his next opportunity. Please read, review, respond—whatever. I hope you will share that this can become a more robust discussion.

I have nothing more to add to what my friend says so eloquently below.

Thanks so much for thinking of me.  I want you to know that I was not ignoring your thoughtful inquiry, but I find it hard to admit that I am struggling to keep my spirits up.  I was so optimistic about a position that I had many reasons to believe I would be offered, only to find out weeks later that I was passed over.  This was a very hard blow and one that the lack of feedback as to why has been consistently on my mind.

With every rejection a bit of self-esteem is peeled away.  I know that I have become far too sensitive, taking it far too personally and therefore become too affected when repeatedly not selected for interviews.  Also when someone takes an extra day or week to get back to me from what they promised I feel like I’ve been treated shabbily. Often they become unresponsive when I am checking back to find out the status of positions that I have applied to weeks’ prior with nothing more than an automated response either acknowledging my application or a rejection notice for not being further considered.  

Five signals that a company’s culture may have issues.

What is your career balance sheet?

Yet another job search horror story. From Linked In

I went to a job interview a couple of weeks ago, and in fact I have some feedback for the managing director. Here are some points you may want to consider: – Leaving a candidate waiting in an interview room for the best part of an hour whilst you laugh, joke and eat with employees in full view of the candidate until you decide that you are ready to begin. – Failing to apologise to the candidate for your lateness. – Leaving the room without warning or apology mid-interview for 15 minutes at a time. – Swearing repeatedly during an interview. – Slating previous employees who happen to be good friends of the candidate. Those at the top are not exempt from basic manners and courtesy!

 Hey boss this job is making me sick.

How are HR people educated? That may be important.

Death by HR: Biased HR Degree Programs Create Biased HR Bureaucracies

These pressures increase the dead weight of bureaucracy inside the company while distracting management from the focus necessary for survival and competitive success. We would think it intolerable if saddled with a Chinese Communist Party political officer who made sure the party songs were sung and banners displayed in the office — but we see the wall of labor law disclosures and politically-driven slogans and decrees foisted on us by the Party of Government as normal. The cynical management view — that it’s just a cost of doing business, to be ignored and avoided — has allowed a gradual increase in these directives until they are seriously compromising productivity.

How to create diversity, Dilbert style.

 You only need one resume.

The Job Stuff Series.

Job Stuff 50.

Job Stuff 49.

Job Stuff 48.

Job Stuff 47.

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