Job sites annoy me. It admittedly doesn’t take much, given my current unemployed state. I’ve yet to encounter one that provides the ideal job search experience, if something so oxymoronic even exists. Every job site, from the all-encompassing (Monster, HotJobs), to the industry-specific (American Marketing Association, Media Bistro), to the company-specific (Joe’s Burritos and Plumbing Supplies International, Inc., Fred’s Pornographic Balloon Animals, LLC), has problems. Some are barely speed bumps on the endless road to not getting a job, and some are more like cement dividers piled high and connected to multiple nuclear devices that detonate and wipe out an entire city when breached. In other words, they’re impassable, at least until Jerry Bruckheimer makes a movie about finding work in a jobless post-recession recovery. Given that a job site’s purpose is to display job openings and attract users – essentially market the company to applicants who may become employees or customers – the problems are all inexcusable. Here is but a sampling, presented in my own top-secret order that I will carry with me to the grave, watery or otherwise.
Sites display an alphabetical list of all the countries in the world, from which the applicant chooses his home country. The US is near the bottom, though it likely provides most of the applicants, at least for domestic jobs. Afghanistan is at the top, though it’s citizens likely have more pressing issues, such as staying alive. Really, is it so hard to list the US first? It would save 99.98% of the 10,000 applicants vying for that one assistant coffee getter opening five precious seconds. That’s time that could be spent perfecting the art of tearing open multiple sugar packets at once. This minor oversight shows a lack of forethought and care, which will manifest itself in more significant ways elsewhere.
Sites often require way more detail than necessary. The exact dates I was in school or previously employed, down to the day, can’t possibly matter. That I graduated college on May 5, 1994 won’t be of any use until I’m famous and the subject of a question in Trivial Pursuit: The 21st Century Underachiever Edition. Maybe I can also find out the weather for that Spring day in Lancaster, PA, when my career began, or the addresses of the barns that the Amish raised before working in the fields and churning butter. There’s plenty of useless facts out there. Exact dates don’t add anything to the conversation. (Norm: “Can I have a job?” Company: “No.”) Wouldn’t “May, 1994″ suffice, or even just “1994?”
Sites often require a home phone number as part of my contact info. I have a cell phone, but no home phone, like 20% of the population. It’s easy enough to simply fill in the field with my cell number. That mythological call would get to me either way… no harm, no foul. But stay with me on this one. I apply to many media and marketing companies and departments. They market to users via many channels, including wireless. It seems like they should understand enough about their business to recognize this disconnect and do something about it. After all, the lines of communication between corporate departments are always wide open. More likely with small problems like this is that they just don’t care.
Job sites sometimes don’t work on Firefox, my web browser of choice. The last time I checked, Firefox had a 25% usage share; one quarter of the people online are using it. Is any company so amazingly fantastically stupendously awesome that it can afford to risk missing 25% of the potential applicants for a job? Those missed users may even be a tad more Internet savvy than the average job seeker, given that the Firefox is open source and not standard on new computers. This shortcoming speaks volumes about a company, and none of it’s good.
Job sites often bombard me with useless information, before, during or after my resume submission. One site routinely serves me with a “get your degree online” ad before letting me apply for a job or even see the description. This marketing message might show better results if linked to certain types of jobs. It’s called targeting. They probably teach it at the schools being marketed. Online education is a valuable service, and some people will want more information. But serving this ad repeatedly, to everybody, does more to drive users from the site than it does to endear them to a service. I personally have stopped using the offending site.
More infuriating still are the sites that sell off my information to spammers, who then bombard me with travel deals and Viagra ads. The spam arrives in my otherwise pristine inbox within minutes of uploading a resume. It can’t be a coincidence. Or maybe the site just knows that I always crave a trip to The Bahamas or a four-hour erection ending in blindness and heart attack right after combing the Internet for jobs. Can’t these sites just pretend that they have my best interests in mind, even though they don’t? There are plenty of ways to make a buck without selling my personal information.
And the grand poobah of all job site annoyances… THEY DON’T WORK! Job sites aren’t my only means of attack, but I use them probably more than necessary. And the results are, at best, pretty damn sucky. They’re overrun with garbage, hucksters and, sadly, deserving candidates like me who just want to work. But there’s always the outside chance that my resume, submitted online, will find its way back to me in the form of a job. I’m not counting on it. But at this point in my unemployment, I can’t afford to not try.