Job Seeker Dumbassity

I cringe every time I hear someone say this is a tough time to be out of work. What would be a good/easy time to be out of work? Unemployment blows. Period. It’s always tough. It’s never easy. Every week I schedule and hold interviews, make employment offers, hire people, assign work, fire people, and listen to excuses when staff members quit. I do this week in and week out. I can tell you from the staffing chair that job seekers do plenty to make unemployment tougher than it needs to be. I started a working list of this plenty last month in a post titled Occupational Wellness–Help Me Help You. Click the link to read it; this will all make more sense.

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I’ve far more bones to pick than I could possibly fit into a single post so this would be continued bone picking in the interest of promoting occupational wellness. Why is it necessary? Because I’m in a unique position to educate a population that wants to blame everyone else and everything else except their own efforts for their continued unemployment (or unemployability). For instance, it’s not the President’s fault that you stunk so badly of cigarette smoke that the hiring manager (a non-smoker) couldn’t stand to be in a room with you long enough to give you a fighting chance. Offensive odor is a really stupid reason not to be considered for a job, folks. And it is completely preventable.

Also preventable is killing your chances of getting an interview in the first place. Case in point, trashing your former employer on social media. Yes, we check social media before we call you for an interview. A sure-fire way not to get called is to spew a bunch of hate, profanity, and blame over your recent job loss. And no, we don’t have to be “Friends” on social media to see it. I’ve seen posts like this myself without being “Friends” with the candidates who posted them. I’ve read them because they were set to public view. I’ve read them because the candidate was a “Friend of Friend” and my friend responded. I’ve read them because a mutual friend, group, or business was tagged in the post. Hash tags will also give them away, as will forwards, re-posts, and re-tweets.

I have never—not even one time—heard a fired employee take responsibility for whatever he or she did to get fired. It’s always someone else’s fault. It’s the same with disgruntled employees who get fed up and quit. Someone screwed them over or the company was screwed up from the beginning. This is probably never going to change. However, if you choose to vent those circumstances on social media you are advertising to every other employer that you’ll trash and smear the next company that hires you. You’ll call them names. You’ll mock them, hurl insults, and besmirch their business practices. You’ve proven that you will. No one wants to hire someone guaranteed to throw a childish tantrum in front of the whole world when things don’t go his or her way. Stop it. Delete it.

The second most likely way social media can hurt your chances of getting an interview is a photo gallery. Yep, we can see those too. Post a photo of yourself with a nasty sneer, flipping the bird, with a caption of “Fuck it” and you’re probably not going to get a call. You’re not just sending that message to your friends, you’re sending it to every employer connected to your friends. If your photo gallery paints an unflattering picture of your general attitude and personality, a hiring manager is going to pass. Nobody wants a punk or a problem child on her staff. Don’t act like a punk with a rotten attitude and you’re less likely to get judged as one.

Likewise, don’t expect a call if you use social media to bully someone, harass an ex-whatever, or pick fights. Please, for the love of FICA, take down those videos. No matter how clean your resume might look on bright white paper, your behavior is on display in a public domain on social media. Even if that bitch did deserve it, a potential job is at stake here.  Your alleged skills and experience won’t cancel out the incriminating things that can’t be unseen once a hiring manager has seen them. A pay check is at stake. Clean it up, at least until you’ve landed the job.

Very high on my list of job seeker dumbassity is the No Show Reapply. This is the candidate who returns a call, agrees to an interview, schedules the interview, and then doesn’t show up. No call, no show, but then three months later applies for the same job. This happens to me almost every week. I’m always baffled at the candidates who apply two or even three times after failing to show up for an interview. In the few cases where I’ve decided to give someone a second a chance I got burned again every time. The very same No Shows didn’t show even after I scheduled a second interview, yet they keep applying. Come on, people. You can’t get the job if you don’t show up for the interview. You aren’t likely to ever get another interview with a company if you can’t be bothered to cancel the first one.

Let’s say you did get an interview. You didn’t have any crappy crap on social media. You returned the call. You got there on time, groomed and dressed yourself professionally, brought your own pen, demonstrated poise and politeness, and then got down to business answering the interviewer’s questions. You will kill your chances of being considered if you tell the interviewer any version of I just had to move on because they wanted me to do all this work for no money.” This no money you describe is more or equal to the posted salary for the job you’re trying to get.

Think you’re going to get that job? Nope. Walk into an interview calling the offered salary no money and declaring you won’t work hard for this amount pretty much dares the interviewer not to hire you. You expose the fact that you didn’t read a critical element of the job opening—the freakin’ salary—and/or you expose the fact that your work ethic is not an ethic at all. You’ll put in the amount of effort you think the salary is worth rather than the work required. It’s the hiring manager’s job not to hire people like this. Don’t be people like this. Don’t make a hiring manager believe that all you have to offer is a sliding scale of effort and you’re already dissatisfied.

It’s a new year. If you need or want a new job, take it from someone who is forced to weed out dozens of potential bad hires before they happen. Be the candidate you would hire. If you had supervisors expecting you to make good hiring decisions, be the candidate that makes a hiring manager look damn good at her job. If your job was dependent upon making good hires, be the candidate that would strengthen your job security. As I said, any time is a tough time to be jobless. Shorten the amount of that time by avoiding the same stupid and easily preventable mistakes that everyone else is making.

Rise. Shine. Get hired. Live well. Be proud. And please, oh please, oh please, teach the next generation that throwing on a pair of boots over yoga pants does not fool anyone. Yoga teachers are the only people getting hired in yoga pants.

— Plummet Younger

(employment guru)

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