I've decided to look for my first full-time job in five years. And I'm hating it. Why? Because of the bureaucracy, red tape and utter disrespect I've gotten from so many companies.
The overwhelming majority of companies have shown, at the worst, disrespect, at the best, apathy.
As I've been traveling down this road, I've managed to point out some major areas where companies fall flat. Let's begin where we you would begin at the application process.
Background information: I'm looking for a fully-remote DevOps job. Your mileage may vary the next time you search for a job.
When I do something, I'm on a mission. I leave no stone unturned and will ensure I have the best possible outcome. During a job hunt, that means reaching out to my network and scouring the Internet to find as many different opportunities available.
Tip: Don't quit the hunt early just because you found a "good enough" job. It's worth it to take your time and find as many opportunities as possible.
When you begin searching for a tech job, where do you look? Monster? CareerBuilder? Indeed? Google? Your recruiter contacts? There are dozens of places! How do you know you're getting a full picture of all opportunities ahead of you?
This leads to spending hours sifting through spammy-looking applications that were clearly scraped from somewhere else redirecting you three times before landing on an actual application form. I wonder what kind of malware I've infected myself with now?
There doesn't seem to be one, single place or even an aggregator that puts all of your potential job opportunities in one place.
Here are a few but not nearly all of them. You'll find a ton of overlap between them but some opportunities are on some platforms while others are not. It shouldn't be this hard.
To make this situation worse, there are hardly no filters on many of these sites to limit scope for remote work. 90% of them require a location. It's 2019, people! Software is digital. It can be managed from anywhere in the world.
No Remote For You But Maybe....
I've ranted about companies and their apparent lack of ability to manage employees properly by not allowing remote work before. I'll spare the details here. Throughout this job hunt, I'm only reminded of how antiquated the "butts in seat" system still is to this day.
I came across some positions that were perfect for me. I was probably one of the top qualified people in the country for the job but sorry, no remote. WTF? What makes it worse is they won't even entertain the idea.
That's like passing up a stellar dinner because the potatoes were a little burnt. Sure, it's not your first choice but don't give up a great meal right off the bat just because you can't have it exactly like you want.
Employers miss out on some much talent by not considering remote employees.
Even though the job description says nothing about allowing remote work, some organizations will allow it under the right circumstances. How are job candidates supposed to know this? If the job description doesn't say anything about remote work, I'm going to assume it's not allowed.
I've applied to some jobs though that look perfect to see if remote work is allowed and it actually is! How is a candidate supposed to know this? He/she must now wonder if all jobs allow remote and go through the application hassle and email back and forth to find out.
I'm not about to apply for 100 jobs to find out that 10% of them allow remote work. This means I'm potentially missing out on some great opportunities just because the job description isn't accurate.
Terrible Job Descriptions
Tell me if this job description looks familiar:
<57 paragraphs about the company that every job candidate skips over to see what the job is really about>
<Way high level role description like "synergizing efforts", "collaborating fully" and "achieving excellence">
<Ridiculously obvious requirements that every employer imaginable needs like "working well with others", "doing your best" and "communicating clearly">
<Listing off every piece of tech known to man that a candidate might use but might not with no clear indication of what a typical day is like>
The kind of job description is par for the course. Rarely do any of them give you a true sense of what it's like to be in that position. They don't mention the team dynamic, what a normal day might look like and any projects you might be working on.
You then have to wait for the third call once past the recruiter to talk to the team to actually figure that stuff out.
You come across an application, it looks appealing, you spend a few minutes of your time filling it out and hit submit.
Then you wait.
Was my application received? Did it get to the right person? Did someone look at my resume and toss it in the trash? Who knows?!? You're never informed where it went.
Weeks go by without a peep and your left to come to the conclusion on your own, your skills were not needed there.
How hard would it be for the recruiter or hiring manager to send a quick email letting you know what the status is? Hell, even a "we're still working on it" email would be awesome.
No Justification for Rejecting You
Once you do receive some communication back, you're told "I'm sorry but you were not the right fit." WTF does that mean? That's like giving a 15-year old that fails the driving test an X on the test and a kick in the rear. It'd sure be nice if you could give some reasoning so I can learn from this experience.
Employers that politely reject you and give you the exact reason you weren't accepted promote good will to rejected candidates. They also get the opportunity to adjust the job description (which is probably terrible in the first place) to set expectations better for the next person.
Total Focus on Experience Alone
I understand the need to hear about experience in a junior role but not the pure focus that I've seen in a senior role.
By the time you're in a senior role, can provide solid references and show you know a general area of expertise, why do you have to have 10 years of experience with Kubernetes before you're even considered?
It's much better to hire a senior person based on potential, their interest in the area, their history of taking on new responsibilities and their eagerness to learn. Employers shouldn't focus on ensuring a job candidate can check all of the tech boxes.
At a senior level, there are so many other "soft" skills a person should have that trump experience alone. If you hire a candidate with 34 years experience in IT that's just been skating by for the paycheck, you'll lose.
I'd much rather hire someone with half the experience and double the enthusiasm to learn and to grow into the position.
I know that hiring good talent is hard especially in large organizations. Especially when employers aren't hiring remote (*cough*), the talent pool can be thin. It's important to take the time to hire the right people and that can be tough.
Not all of these problems can be solved.
But I've seen so many glaring problems with the current systems that could easily be changed, it's like nails on a chalkboard for me.
Employers, get better! Focus not on getting as many applicants as possible. Instead, focus on fewer, higher quality applicants. Just think about how your actions are taken from the applicant's point of view!
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