Like many people who are either out of work or underemployed due to the recession, I make a point to take as much advice as I can find regarding how to navigate the job market. The cable news networks routinely dispense their version of sagacity on the matter, as do those who are hired by corporations, business, and non-profits to sort through an increasingly massive pile of applicant data. What I have determined recently, however, somehow isn't covered by the media and isn't mentioned by any of the self-proclaimed experts. Namely, it's a troubling trend I've found among some employers.
Like many people who are either out of work or underemployed due to the recession, I make a point to take as much advice as I can find regarding how to navigate the job market. The cable news networks routinely dispense their version of sagacity on the matter, as do those who are hired by corporations, business, and non-profits to sort through an increasingly massive pile of applicant data. What I have determined recently, however, somehow isn't covered by the media and isn't mentioned by any of the self-proclaimed experts. Namely, it's a troubling trend I've found among some employers. I've posted these individually on here before, but I thought I'd compile them together to make a larger point.
In this so-called buyers market, where any employer should expect an overwhelming number of equally qualified applications for every posted position, companies are getting greedy. In the past, businesses, organizations, and non-profits had more positions to fill than applicants, so they often had to make modest compromises regarding who in particular they chose to hire. They were forced to temper their wish list slightly while still hiring highly qualified candidates. These days, businesses have the luxury of being able to sift through a pile of applicants and find their dream hire. They now can select the candidate they would like wrapped in gilt and placed underneath the company Christmas tree to be unwrapped with glee on Christmas morning. However, this means that aiming for the perfect hire, some are taking extreme liberties when setting out their hiring criteria---liberties so extreme that they cross the line into unethical territory and even border on illegal.
I really wish I could make up some of the crazy, irrational, disturbing, and otherwise unprofessional job postings that certain employers throw up online, particularly on Craigslist. Therein lies the problem with true democratic expression--it is a microcosm of the human experience, including its numerous flaws. Still, cases like these reveal the true thought process behind many companies, especially those who would never dare be bold enough to set out to the public their true hiring practices. Case in point---here's a listing that implies strongly that unless you went to an Ivy League school and got close to earning honors, you need not apply.
Apply ONLY if you meet these minimum requirements:
• Recently earned bachelor’s degree from a highly competitive university
• Achieved a grade point average of 3.3 or higher
• Strong interest in business and government
• Effective speaking and writing skills
My bad. I thought that degrees from lofty universities were only a matter of life and death in academia and a few other specialized fields. And as for the people who didn't have the financial means, the well-off parents, the connections, or the willingness to take out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, I guess you're just up a certain creek without a paddle.
This next one is probably the most extreme example, but the job is with PETA, so I shouldn't be surprised.
Minimum of two years of college coursework or equivalent experience required
One to three years of research experience required
Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
Ability to work independently and in a team environment
Efficient with regard to using computer programs such as Word, Excel, etc.
Ability to work well under pressure and meet deadlines
Ability to interact and communicate with a variety of people in a a professional manner
Ability to represent the organization in a professional manner
Thorough knowledge of animal rights issues
Adherence to a vegetarian lifestyle
Commitment to the objectives of the organization
So, let me get this straight. You can be a well-qualified candidate, but if you aren't a vegetarian, then you don't quite fit the profile? Does this sound a bit unfair to you?
One of the most deviously clever euphemisms I have ever heard was an ad calling for a secretary. But, of course, instead of calling a spade a spade, the description instead used the phrase "Director of First Impressions". I'm not sure who they were trying to impress--the potential applicant or the boss of the company. For the long suffering job searcher with lots of experience and suffering from the products of a sour economy, perhaps they thought that the harsh reality of making half the money as a lower-level employee could be cushioned by an important-sounding but ultimately meaningless title.
These are only three examples I've run across of employer dirty tricks and creative liberties. I have no doubt that I'll run across more as I continue to apply for full-time employment.