Friday, July 21, 2017

A hiring manager's lament

From the pages of the New York Times, the owner of a PR firm laments the online application system: 
It’s not that my postings on Indeed, LinkedIn and other career sites weren’t explicit in outlining desired qualifications. I added instructions urging candidates to contact us only if they had backgrounds in journalism, P.R. or law. There was nothing to suggest I was looking for a fiscal benefits analyst, emergency medical technician or brand ambassador, but they showed up anyway. 
...I’m all for people crossing the professional divide. America’s work force is going through tumult, as even the superskilled see their jobs eliminated or made obsolete by technology. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a steady decline in the average tenure of wage and salaried workers — most recently at 4.2 years, down from 4.6 in 2014.... 
...Perhaps that’s why so many showcased accomplishments that sounded machine-made, as in “liaise with field managers to create metric reports in line with KPIs.” There were also digital marketers lauding their ability to “increase channel awareness and implement impactful distribution modes to engage target audiences.” I was more drawn to the waitress who described her duties with the clarity of E. B. White: “Explain dishes on menu to patrons and make recommendations; take orders and relay them to kitchen; calculate meal costs and add taxes to final bill.” She was elevated to the “maybe” pile.
Lowering the barrier to application has been an interesting side effect of the digital age - I wonder if wrong-headed applications happened during the typewriter-and-envelope days. 

(The writer makes a good point that if you're applying for a position with an unusual background, it is up to you to convince the reader that your differences will be helpful. That's a difficult thing sometimes, but I think that it can be doable...) 


  1. From the other side of table it's hard to have much sympathy for the author. As we all know with big pharma, it's common to meet/exceed all requirements for a given job and never hear a peep (if you don't have an inside connection, that is). If you are likely to get ignored anyway, why not roll the dice?

  2. On the subject of jargon, in my recent job search, I was told to explain to potential employers in no uncertain terms that I am a "data-driven individual".

    I did not do so - I don't think I have the mechanism for those words to leave my mouth with any sincerity - and don't think I lost anything there...

  3. It seems there might be a tie-in here with Tom Nichols's The Death of Expertise. If the experts don't know what they're doing (in the minds of the public), then we're all qualified for any job!


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20