I didn't expect for both my husband and myself to remain unemployed for over a year, but that is what has happened. You might find this hard to believe given the nature of this blog, but I am not someone who complains without acting. My general feeling about life is that if it is important enough to bitch about, it is important enough to do something about and I have very little tolerance for people who repetitively complain about the same person, thing, or circumstance without doing anything about it. So although both the breadwinners in our family have been laid off for over a year, we have not sat back idly and moped. We have sent out resumes, made cold calls, networked. We have retrained, recertified and generally expanded our employment horizons. We have started marketing ourselves for side jobs just to make something if not enough. We have even begun researching opening our own business totally unrelated to our previous careers. We have not been apathetic to our own cause.
With all this effort you can see why I did not expect for us both to remain unemployed for this long. The economy doesn’t surprise me. It is the response of the employers that does. That is why many of the employers I have encountered will not be allowed on the ark-so there!
But seriously, to the company that held a four-hour interview and then ended with “Call on Friday we should have an answer by then.” I hope you know more about water survival than you do about business courtesy. You do not tell someone to call you and then avoid his call…five times. At the very least, when your secretary answers the second or third time in a week and a half, you could at least instruct her to notify unwanted candidates that the position has been filled instead of repeatedly putting us through to your voicemail where we will remain ignored indefinitely.
And to the employer that had a seven hour interview equipped with meeting the president of the company, perhaps we are unemployed at the moment, but that doesn’t mean our time is invaluable and we are looking for ways to waste it. Do not end a marathon interview like that with the words “ Well, we are not even sure there is going to be a position, but if there is we will certainly consider you for it.” If you don’t know whether you have an opening, don’t hold interviews. Surely you, the president of a Forbes 500 company, must have something more important to do than play-act with me all afternoon.
To the many, many companies that post jobs but never respond to the collected resumes. I get you are busy, good for you and good for the person you end up hiring to handle all that business. But couldn’t you at least acknowledge receipt? Is it too much for the person answering the phone to say, “ Yes, Mr. Jones, we did receive your c.v. but the position is now filled?” Is it really? There was a time when that would have been the very least you could do. Remember the 90’s when companies would send out postcards to let you know they now had your resume on file?
But the biggest surprise to me was this. I didn't expect for employers to disregard us because we were over-qualified. Not because our salary requirements were too high (you lower those as time goes on until you’ll accept almost anything commiserate with your industry), not because we were jockeying for positions that were not available, but because they want to hire someone with less experience because they are afraid an experienced person will leave once the economy rebounds. Let me tell you something, I’ll work for a much lower salary for a company that gives me a chance in this horrible economy. Then when the economy rebounds, all I expect is for you to pay me what I am worth to the company. I am confident that once you have the money, you’ll find me worth every penny. And I have some sense of loyalty. I’ll be fair with you because you were willing to give me a chance, as long as you are fair with me.
The puzzling thing is that their poor judgment shows, but apparently not enough to affect their choices. I am hearing more and more clients unhappy with the level of incompetence at these companies. I am hearing many people complain about the ignorance of the staff they encounter. And customer service? I’ve covered that topic before, but suffice it to say that these poor hiring choices show most obviously with the people interacting with the public. So to all you employers who claim we are “overqualified,” you hire under qualified idiots all the time, God forbid you err on the overqualified side of the spectrum.
My message to all the companies that are continuing to stifle the economy by hiring only the very young and inexperienced, who by the way, are not going to help you grow your market share they way we could, I suggest you add flood insurance to your executive benefits package.