Holy cow, job search is inefficient. I read about some guy who was a CIO who searched for over 18 months to find his new job. Terrible.
How does the process look at a higher view?
People are looking for employment and companies are looking for means to get a job done. Now they just hook up together and everything’s fine, right? Not that easy.
Problem: Companies don’t know what they actually need
There are some (semi-)standardized jobs, which mostly no longer exist, where the need becomes quite clear. For most jobs, however, there’s a gap between the problems a company faces and possible solutions. Job titles don’t mean a lot so there’s no guarantee that software dev at company A is capable of solving the same problems as software dev at company B. Then you start to limit the position further using stuff that’s easy to measure. If something is easy to measure and you use it because it’s easy to measure then please don’t do anything. Just no, please stop. Your measurement has to be indicative to a high degree. My favorite examples are in the IT-field, mainly because this is where I have the most experience. There are people who do online marketing for 7 years who suck. Really suck. A devoted intelligent person can outperform these people in less than 8 months. You say, the first one has seen a lot? Great job, knowing how to do SEO for altavista.
What do they need?
I don’t know and they probably also don’t know. There are two problems here. If you don’t have expertise in the job field where you are looking for new employees or means to do them, generally, you don’t know what you need. “Hey, let’s hire a web designer because we need a new website because the old one is so slow.” – “What? I didn’t knew we got 24 bazillion page views per day. You don’t know how to scale use website? Aren’t you a web designer?”
Second problem. You have to make trade-offs. Either you can look for the perfect fit for the current job OR you look for someone a bit more general because you don’t know which problems appear tomorrow. Also, this doesn’t mean that someone can’t learn. Rather, learning is also an trade-off for both types of people.
What did you learn? Companies don’t know who they need and don’t know how to spot them. Great.
Problem: Job searchers don’t know what they can offer
So you worked 15 years in finance beginning as an analyst working your way up to the master of the universe. You fill up your CV with all your work experience in finance, you got to be awesome in it. I don’t know. Maybe, you just mediocre and you don’t really like the job but you would be awesome as a gardener. How knows? You probably don’t know if you are good as something if you never tried it. And secondly, even if you tried it you have to invest some time learning to find out if you fit a job or not. Going one time in the gym and not squatting 300lb doesn’t mean that you can’t be a great weightlifter. You got to train. Same applies to every endeavor: programming, maths, playing instruments, other sports, accounting, law, design, etc.
Face it. You may have talents you will never discover / you don’t know about. However, the more you think about the stuff you enjoy and you’re good at, and the more stuff you try, the more likely you will discover your talents.
Also, the whole need thing. Same applies for both parties. You have incomplete information of your needs and wishes and you can only discover them by experiencing. Surprise.
Problem: The application process
Hurray. You are looking for jobs. Have fun with coming up with synonyms. You may be a great UX designer. But you can’t just look up UX jobs, no. You have to look up user experience, maybe usability design, maybe just web design or screen design or app design or ….
Fun thing. If people don’t know the lingo (see companies don’t know what they need) there’s maybe the most awesome job you could ever have but you did never find because they just wrote they needed a webmaster.
Secondly. Those freaking filters. You can filter by experience, position, title and maybe salary. Great fucking job if there are 59 million results. How about filtering stuff people may care about, like team size, company size, values, management style, etc. Recently, I read a study that people care more about the environment they work than the actual job. Funny heh?
Now you that you have rummaged through 9452 job ads where about 6k where duplicates. You have limited your choice to about 90 companies. Have fun looking up each company in detail. Because they gonna ask you why you want to work for their company. Pro tip: Most companies are pretty mediocre and don’t stand out. People most often don’t care. They just want a nice work experience and for graduates, they just want a fucking job.
Cool, you are ready to write the application for about 30 jobs. Of course, you got to individualize them. Not for the position, no. For the company, so that they can feel good. Also, use our buggy job portal because we don’t care, we just want to use some HRM software so that we don’t ever have to look you in your eyes.
You made it. You got invited for an assessment center. Not just one, 9 of them. You got to take 2 days off, travel to some company and fight against your fellow applications to get the job. In the first presentation, they talk to you about the vision and mission statement. About their values: fairness, equality, excellence – you know the values everybody has but doesn’t live to (that gave me a nice idea for an upcoming blog post). And afterwards they observe you like vultures to rationalize the decision they made in the first 5 minutes meeting you. Then you fight against the others and nope, you didn’t get this job. Great stuff, you are going to repeat the same thing about 8 more times.
If you got lucky and don’t have to go to an assessment center then you are ready to go into a job interview. Great thing that you got 20 interviews lined up because you are going to repeat about 80 – 90% of the stuff you said. You can really start to get a routine doing it. What a waste of time.
Yeah, job search sucks. But I don’t want to let you hang there. Enjoy a useful educational video: