Thursday, December 01, 2011

Tales From The Beach-Month Two Begins

When you hear the term "on the beach", you think of hanging out near the water, resting and relaxing.  As long as I've been in the radio business, "on the beach" was a euphemism for "unemployed", which is what I am these days.
This post isn't to ask for a job, I've tried many ways to do that and am looking hard for the next big thing.  Rather, this post is a series of thoughts that have been rattling around in my head since I was summarily dismissed from my position in Kansas City on October 27th.
So I'm in St. Louis with my family and after the last experience (moving and working in KC for just under a year before being labeled a "Budget Cut") I pretty much am sure my next job will be here.  Which brings me to a story from The Onion last week.

U.S. Adds 4 Million Jobs But In St. Louis

November 29, 2011 | ISSUE 47•48
WASHINGTON—The Labor Department reported Monday that the U.S. economy created a staggering 4 million jobs in October, though government officials hastened to add that the new positions are all located in the St. Louis metropolitan area. "New employment opportunities are emerging in the fields of engineering, medicine, and manufacturing, but, to be clear, one would have to move to and live in St. Louis to fill these openings," said government spokesperson Stephanie Bergsen, noting that the city has a high crime rate and not much in the way of culture, so be sure to take that into consideration. "Though this much- needed job growth would bring our unemployment rate down to a far more manageable six and a half percent, at the end of the day, it's St. Louis, so…" Republicans strategists are reportedly already planning to use President Obama's record of creating 4 million jobs in St. Louis as the basis for numerous attack ads.
They didn't pick St. Louis for a random reason, I think it's the best place I've ever lived to raise a family, but I live in the suburbs.  The city, well, does have some issues.  And those issues are keeping businesses from coming to St. Louis or expanding their operations here in a big way.  But that's a different blog post.
That being said, I'm looking for work in St. Louis or for something I can do from my home in the safer suburbs of America's Most Dangerous City 2010.
The process of finding a job has always been excruciating, but technology has made it worse.  Almost every job posted in the area involves applying online.  Now, that's an adventure unlike any other.  It takes between 90 minutes and two hours to fill out one of these online applications, where they want to know every detail of your life, the exact start and end dates of each of your jobs, and a full description of your duties and skills used on each job.
In some online job application systems, like the hot mess made by Taleo, once you've manually entered every detail of your life, THEN they ask you to upload a resume, which pretty much has the same information you JUST entered.  Other systems put you through the same kind of hoops of fire in order to apply for a job, and many of the systems scan your application for keywords and automatically send you a rejection e mail within a couple days of your application, most likely with your information never passing before a human eye.
This is the video Taleo uses to convince companies they're the best way to find talent.
It certainly is easier than having to have a live human scan all those resumes, but it doesn't take anything about the applicant that isn't written in computer-friendly terms.  Speaking of friendly, the rejection e mail from Monsanto was so nice, I thought I'd share part of it with you
After careful consideration by our Talent Acquisition team, we have decided to pursue other candidates who more closely reflect the overall qualifications for the position.  We encourage you to visit our website and continue to apply for positions that best fit your qualifications.  We will retain your candidate file in our database and may inform you of job openings that match your profile if you select this option.
The rejection e mail from Scottrade actually came three days after I applied online for a job, but it wasn't nearly as friendly as the one from Monsanto.  I can only assume "the system" decided I wasn't qualified for these communications and social media jobs and spit me out like month old gum.
Add to this one of the great scams of the Interwebz, the sites that aggregate job listings and have you apply through their site.  One site in particular that seems to post jobs from the Clinton administration and represents them as new postings is JIBE.  I've applied for numerous jobs from their site, and none of them seem to be current.  Check out this note I got from them after applying for a job earlier this week.  Remember, this is a note from the website that had posted the job as "new".
Thank you for your application for District Employee Communications Supervisor at UPS. Unfortunately, we cannot submit your application because that position is no longer available. We do our best to update our site as soon as companies remove positions, but sometimes a slight delay occurs. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you.
Please browse JIBE's many other positions, and apply to any that might be a good fit for you. Applying again will be easy now that you've uploaded your resume and basic information.
Please call or email me if there's anything else I can help you with.
Seth Handler, The JIBE Guy
212-380-1771 ext. 701
I did exchange e mails with Seth, and all he could tell me was:
Mark - I appreciate the email.
Jobs automatically come down off our site as soon as they are taken down from companies career sites.  Sometimes, it takes a few hours for it to come down if it was posted on another site (,, etc.)  and that's usually where the problems arise.
We are actively working on it and than you again for your input.
So it's not really JIBE (or should it be jiVe?) that's wrong, it's all the websites they're reposting jobs from.  And there are a LOT of sites that are like this.
It's hard enough to be out of a job, especially in today's economy.  But making it harder for those who want to find a job by putting them through the ridiculous online application process isn't just wrong, it's mean and demoralizing.
I'm hoping there won't be any more posts "from the beach" and I hope I don't have to spend half of every day applying for jobs I can do but don't even get considered for because I didn't get the right keywords in my application or I've worked in the radio industry for three decades and many companies don't consider radio to be a legitimate business.
Most of all, I hope that everyone else looking for a job doesn't feel as beaten down, humiliated, and frustrated as I feel right now.
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