Good News, Everyone!

professor farnsworthGood News, Everyone!

I’ll be starting a new job in about a week.  Sorry, no science-fiction review in today’s post, just sharing a little personal info and some tips that might be relevant if you’re job hunting or thinking about doing so.

My job search took a long time.  It’s been about six months since I left my previous company, and I was actually doing some interviewing (and turning down some lower-paying offers) before I left.  It’s been a very frustrating process involving lots of phone calls and traveling (at my own expense) to interviews, and many of the companies didn’t even bother to send me a rejection email.  I even accepted an offer from a multi-billion-dollar real estate company (before you ask, no, not Trump) only to be told three days later that there wasn’t room in the budget for me.

There were many times I thought about giving up and applying for lower-paying, less-experience-required jobs, or about giving up the job hunt altogether and going into business for myself, but I kept going forward, and it worked out in the end.  I’ll be running a department of a small company.  I think the job suits me, and the company needs me as they have several types of problems that I’ve been known to solve.

I can’t tell you the geographic regions where I was job-hunting, because time-traveling robots tend to show up and try to kill me if I disclose a location.  Here are some completely unrelated music videos:

Ultimately, I decided to work in an undisclosed state where I might someday become the sidekick of the world’s greatest living superhero, Florida Man.

The new job will require relocation, so I probably won’t get back to a regular posting schedule for a while.  I’ll be spending my after-work hours house hunting.  Once things finally settle down, I hope I’ll be able to get back to weekly blog posts and wrap up some of the blog projects I’ve started.

Now, back to the job-hunting experience.  One of the strangest things I ran across is a near-medieval level of geographic preference.  If you aren’t in the same town as the job you’re applying for, or in some cases, in the same part of the town, then you can generally forget about getting a call back.  I got nowhere with my out-of-town applications until I started using local relatives’ addresses on my resume, and then the phone started ringing.

I’m not sure what is driving this.  Maybe companies don’t want to pay relocation expenses, but in that case, they could just say so and let people apply.  I’m wondering whether in many cases, the job listed in an advertisement doesn’t really exist, so they don’t want to make people travel for interviews.  Some companies list jobs they know they are giving to internal candidates.  Other companies, for no reason I can discern, list jobs and waste hours of upper management time in interviews, then never fill the position.  I probably lost ten times as many jobs to “position canceled” as I did to another candidate.

Another thing that confused me was everyone talking about a “tight job market”, which to me, would mean employers were unable to find people.  However, some job sites would show me how many others had applied for a job, and it would generally be about sixty people.

I was able to get some insight on a position where I was not chosen for an interview.  It was at a law firm (for a support position — I’m not a lawyer) where a retired family friend was a partner.  He had their manager call me so I could have a conversation about whether there was something wrong with my resume or something.  It turned out that she had around eighty resumes on her desk, and eight of them were from people who had worked not just at law firms, but at law firms with the same sub-specialty.  Yet, she mentioned the “tight job market” in our conversation.  My best guess is that this language refers to an inability to hire people for the same salaries as twenty years ago.  I can’t figure out anything else that makes sense.

Finally, I’ll mention that some of the job-listing sites have “skill tests”.  My advice is, unless you are just out of school, don’t bother taking them.  Just move on to the next job.  You will waste time, and the employer will just skip over you because something is not exactly what they wanted to see on your resume.  Or, given that HR screeners aren’t generally the sharpest knives in the drawer, maybe it is on your resume, and they just missed it or didn’t understand what they were reading.

I never got a call back from any job where I took a test.  You might say that this is evidence that I’m bad at taking tests, but there are numerous pieces of evidence to the contrary.  I did receive call-backs on a couple of jobs where I’d skipped a “mandatory” test.  If you have experience, you’ve probably got something on your resume to differentiate you other than beating someone else on a test by a point or two.  Your time is probably better spent moving on to another application or customizing a cover letter.

OK, maybe I’m not the person to listen to concerning cover letters.  I skipped them 99% of the time, but did have a higher success rate landing interviews when using them.  Of course, it may be that I chose to write a cover letter in cases where I could point to specific instances of my resume hitting their requirements, so maybe the resume would have been enough.  I did not use a cover letter when applying to the job I ultimately landed.

I hope my going on about the job market will prove useful to someone.  Let me know if you’ve had similar or contrary experiences.  Now, I have to pack everything I own into boxes.

25 comments

  1. Congrats on ending your job search (successfully)!

    “Other companies, for no reason I can discern, list jobs and waste hours of upper management time in interviews, then never fill the position.”

    When I was still in law school, I convinced a law firm to give me a “call-back” (in-office, half day) interview. I flew down there on my own dime and spent all morning interviewing with a bunch of lawyers. Chatting with one of the partners in the elevator on my way out, it became clear that not being scheduled for lunch indicated I wasn’t seriously being considered. The firm recruiter had me spend hundreds of dollars on travel and scheduled interviews that burned a day+ of billable hours, but to her my interview was “free” because she didn’t have to pay for lunch out of her budget.

    1. That sounds like typical corporate logic, unfortunately.

  2. Glad you landed a job. In minnesota! (I’m pretty good on picking up those subtle clues others don’t catch)

    Best of luck in packing and moving and the upheaval still to come. As an aside, Futurerama is the best. I still re-watch it on Prime when they have it. It gives me all the laughs.

    1. I’ve been tracked down, so I have to move again!

      I loved the original Futurama, but I’m not sure if I saw the newer ones after their hiatus.

      1. I saw it after the fact, so I don’t know when the hiatus went on. I liked all the seasons. The last “season” which was a bunch of slightly connected movies was my least favorite however.

  3. Congratulations!

    I empathize with the household upheaval. At one lengthy point in my life, my family moved 30 times in a 15 yr stretch. There were boxes we didn’t even bother to unpack until the last move. Kind of interesting to rediscover what we’d been toting all over the country. 🙂

    Best of luck with moving & with settling into a new job & new home!

    1. I’ve moved a few times over the years, but nothing like your pace. I always left things at my parents’ house when I went overseas or whatever, but they’re retired and planning to sell the place now, so I have to pack or give away everything. I have way too many winter clothes for my new home.

  4. Glad to hear the good news. And thanks for sharing the comments on the current hiring insanity.

    1. It sure seems insane to me.

  5. Congratulations on the job. I know several “adults” who are going through this now. My Brother-in-law can’t seem to gain any interest because he is in another state. My former boss is over 60 and doors are closed despite an outstanding resume. Hope your life gets back to normal soon.

    1. I’m hoping this will be my last job. Otherwise, I’ll risk falling into that “too old” trap. Employers act like they need the employee to work there for 20+ years, but they’re actually either going to hire some kid who’s jumping ship in a year or two, or they’re going to lay the person off anyway in a couple years.

      1. It’s actually a successful hire if someone lasts two years. Why not someone in their sixties in that case?

  6. J. D. Brink · · Reply

    Congrats, sir!
    I was fishing for jobs about this time last year, and then the year before that, and my wife had been looking for a year and half! It sucks! I find all your insights interesting and will share them with her.
    A few points:
    I think you are right about the 60-80 resumes hitting every damn job opening too. They say unemployment is low, but… I think that is dubious.
    All the job openings around here are minimum wage jobs. All the fast food chains and walmart, office max, etc, say they are hiring constantly. Yet decent jobs go unfilled, DESPITE getting dozens of applicants. We saw that here too. Jobs my wife would apply to and be more than qualified for would just keep getting posted over and over as needing someone, but they wouldn’t hire her or probably any of the other 20+ people applying.
    Some posted a lot of “internships.” Meaning, we want someone but we don’t want to pay them. Lots of those, too. Or would want to hire a bachelors degree with five special skill sets and only want to pay $9 an hour. Gee, I winder why they never got filled?
    And yes, the getting old thing. I think many want to hire “kids fresh from school,” probably so they can pay less and mold them the way they want them. And because they’re too green to know what to fight for for themselves. But I agree, most of them will jump ship ten times in as many years.
    You’d think it would be wiser to hire “an adult.” They come with experience and are less antsy about quitting in the near future, especially the older you get. You don’t get the loyalty from a 22 year old that you do from a 50 year old!
    Whole scene is messed up, man. Good on you for landing one!!

    1. There’s a lack of jobs where I am now, which is why I had to move. Too bad, I like the small-town lifestyle. I probably would’ve taken a 50% pay cut to stay here, if I could have found anything at all.

      I also saw the same jobs being posted over and over again. My guess is the job sites were giving free repeats if the position wasn’t filled.

      Let’s hope I can stay at this new job for a long time!

  7. J. D. Brink · · Reply

    p.s. thanks for the music. 🙂

    1. I think that’s my first musical post.

  8. Congrats on landing the job you wanted! Hope it will be right for you, searching for job in the curent market just sucks, as your story confirms.

    1. Yeah, I hope I don’t have to interview again for a long time, if ever.

  9. “My best guess is that this language refers to an inability to hire people for the same salaries as twenty years ago.”

    Yes.

  10. Congratulations! It was a long, hard road, but in the end you reached your goal, and that’s all that matters 🙂

    1. Yep, I’m glad I didn’t give up!

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