Thursday, October 24, 2013

The joys of the job hunt - an open letter to politicians

I have now been unemployed for 3 months, by the rhetoric of most government  politicians I am some sort of lazy soul who simply isn't looking hard enough as such let me elucidate those who have never had to look for a job in their lives (i.e. most government politicians) or deal with the many ways of searching for one.

In the olden days it was easy - you'd take a trip around the local area and call in at the local stores to see if they had any vacancies going; then you'd head into the local Jobcentre and check the cards posted to the wall. For the more senior positions you might sign-up to an agency who'd hunt around for you. Oh for those days.

Now there are no local stores hiring it's national chains with all decisions being made at head office; there's no local jobcentre, just a central one; and no cards, it's all computerised now. Isn't that better? Let me count the joys:

Haven't I seen you somewhere before?

Oh look [Major Food Chain] is looking for a [Job Description] in [location]. Next page - oh look [Major Food Chain] is looking for a [Job Description] in [location]. Next page - [Major Food Chain] is looking for a [Job Description] in [location]. Gosh that area seems to have a high turnover; or some local serial killer has it in for [Job Description]. Of course they're the same job; they've just been posted by difference agencies onto different sites and simply scooped up by the job amalgamation sites with no checks for duplicates. Checking takes time and time is money.

Now check 6 job sites and guess how many times I see the same job.

Haven't I seen you somewhere before?

No you're not going mad - there's an Office Administrator position with an [Agency] in a [Location]; now there's an Administrator position with an [Agency] in a [Location], but wait the description and requirements are exactly the same and so is the location. Again they're the same job just posted with a slightly different title.

Haven't I seen you somewhere before?

Sorry. Two days ago I applied for a position for [Company] via [Agency], but what's this [Company] are now looking for exactly the same job via exactly the same agency. Is it a new vacancy; have they been through and rejected all the previous applicants? No it's the same job that's been reposted so as to bump it to the top of the queue.

Is there anyone there?

In the three months of applications I've had 5 responses back. Oh I get a feedback from the job sites, but nothing from the agencies nor the companies themselves. I suppose with so many chasing so few the count of applicants is too high to respond to each one for some people. but boy does it get you down. Just a feeling that you're throwing applications into a black hole.

Register, register, register.

So I've registered with a job site, posted details, CV etc. and am  now poised to apply for any job with a few simple clicks... haha don't be silly. Although I can apply for a job that's been posted to that particular site chances are it's just sucked up jobs from anywhere it can find. Click on a job and I'm taken through to another job site where to apply I have to enter all my details again. Then I start to use that site too (taking into account all the you look familiar encounters) and then get taken to another site where I have to do it all over again. Worse yet is being taken to the companies own site as they have no intention of wasting storage space on keeping your details so I have to enter them every single time.

You're where exactly?

Although the ideal is a local job one has to branch out further afield, but some places are just simply too far away or too difficult to get to. Given the sheer volume of jobs (counting duplicates) taking a quick look at the posted location is a time saver (not just for you but for the employer who'd have to deal with your application). So if  I spot a job in Kidderminster I'll jump on it like a starving dog. At which point I discover that it's the agency that's based in Kidderminster and the job is in South Shropshire... or Yorkshire. Yep seriously a part-time shift work in Yorkshire.Because all the sites just grab details and use different formats - where the job is doesn't always match to what it says.

The most useful tell you the job is in West Mids. gee thanks that narrows it down to a 350 sq. mile area

No you can't do that.

As I check the sites every day it makes sense to look solely at the jobs that have been posted since I last visited. In terms of computer records this is a piece of cake; it knows when I logged in so can easily show everything that's been posted since. So why do none of them allow this?

I can sort by date posted, which is great, I can search by distance, which is great. What I can't do is sort by date and distance. Far too much for their feeble systems to even contemplate. So I end up having to go through every single site twice using a different sort to make sure I haven' t missed anything

What were you looking for again?

At least it's possible to narrow down the search to the type of job I'm looking for; which would be fine if I can pigeon-hole myself into just one type. However as unemployment continues one is expected to branch out and look for other jobs. Doing so would of course be much easier if it were possible to search in more than one category a once. Expectations of that from sites that can't allow you to search by two categories? Oh some sites are kind enough to let you tick a few but only a few. It's look at all the jobs or merely a sliver at a time.

There's plenty of jobs out there!

There are, if you're a recent graduate with qualifications (now 50% off wages) or you're 16-25 (lower minimum wage) or an Apprenticeship (also 50% off the lower minimum wage). There are plenty of jobs if you have exactly the right experience/qualifications in exactly the same field as the position (I'm sorry we're looking for a General Office Administrator with experience in the engineering field). There's plenty of jobs if you don't object to minimum wage, minimum hours and being at the beck and call of your employer 24/7. Or hey why not go self-employed with catalogue distribution watch out for all those up-front and recurring costs which will push your wage below the minimum though.

Oh yes there's plenty of jobs out there.

Still no job; better start looking a bit harder!

Various swear words.


Anonymous said...

Hi, glad to see this is still going. My computer came to a halt and I have only just got a new one. I came here about a year ago. I was probably complaining about my GCSE situation. Well, I'm happy to say I got both a C in Maths and English. Which is the adequate score I was aiming for. Less about me though. My father has been layed off too, fairly recently. He had about three days notice. Since then he has been swimming in so much paperwork he hasn't had time to look for a job! And I hear they are getting rid of the computers in the job center in Kidderminster, we now have to do it all at home. There seems to be less and less need for a job center at all. That and the rent office is being closed down in Stourport. Everything is slowly getting more difficult to do, especially if you don't have a computer and I know plenty of people who don't. How these people are expected to have the time to jaunt around towns and look in every single shop for vacencies, I don't know.

FlipC said...

I know they've disabled the dedicated government jobsearch machines upstairs and have yet to replace them, so everyone's waiting to sign in twiddling their thumbs.

There is always the library. Ironically if I don't get a job I'll be there after Christmas as a volunteer helping other people to use them to find a job etc.

Currently very difficult for me due to eyedrops dilating my eye, seriously difficult to read except in short bursts

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