Job hunting is never fun. Here is our top ten list of things we hate about job hunting and our tips on how to make the process just a little bit better.
- Giving references. You need your top three references and one has to be a manager. Yikes! Even though it’s never fun, the reference check can seriously make or break a job offer. Always inform your references that you are listing them on job applications and follow up when you are being considered for a specific role so they are prepared to give you a good recommendation. I’ve talked to references that have given me terrible reviews of the candidates and ones that are surprised I’m calling. This is a great way to miss out on a dream opportunity.
- The black hole. Hiring managers and recruiters get hundreds of applications for open positions. From the candidate side, all you see is application after application going into a black hole, never to be seen again. It’s often better to find a real person to email your resume into or make a quick call. Even though not all hiring managers and recruiters want candidates to call spouting off all the reasons they’d be a great fit, there is nothing wrong with a quick call to ask if you can email your resume directly. If the hiring manager or recruiter wants to discuss the role with you, that’s your opening. Otherwise, respect their time and send the email.
- The dead end. You’ve applied to a job, interviewed and didn’t hear back. That’s never fun. Most hiring managers and recruiters are human so they don’t want to hurt your feelings. When you send a thank you email, make sure you note that you are grateful to be considered for the role but would like to know one way or the other so you can continue in your job hunting. More times than not a well-worked and polite thank you email can be a deciding factor. If not, at least you know to move on with the hunt.
- Job descriptions. Yes, job descriptions are a mystery. Typically written based on what the last person was doing their very last day (and not what they were hired to do and learned on the job). Al the requirements can seem intimidating. However, demonstrating you have 75%+ of the skills and are good at learning things is key. Most – smart – hiring managers and recruiters would rather hire someone that isn’t a perfect fit and can pick up things quickly over someone that has all the skills but isn’t interested in learning anything new.
- Finding an excuse to take a day off for an interview. Your dog is sick. You fell down the stairs. A distant relative died. All excuses to try to get a day off of work to go to the interview. Save yourself the sick day and request if you could do the first interview via phone. Of course you’ll have to take a day off to go onsite later in the process but there’s no point wasting your time taking a personal day if the job isn’t good for you.
- The 12-step interview process. We’ve all heard the stories or have even experienced these interviews. It seems person after person needs to talk to you before they can extend an offer. When you are first offered an interview, ask what the interview process is like. If there are multiple people you need to speak with, find out if you can do a full day interview to meet with everyone in one shot. If not, contemplate if you want to – and can afford to – take all that time off for interviews. If the job isn’t one you’re jumping up and down over, probably not.
- Vague job offers. You got an offer and are excited. The problem? The job offer is very vague on benefits, bonus structure, or even salary. Make sure to get everything you are promised in writing, over the phone is not good enough. If they are unwilling to do so, chances are they are hiding something or want to trick you. I’ve known people that have taken great job offers only to be surprise when their first paycheck is half of what they were expecting. Although it’s hard to believe an employer would hire you with the promise of one thing and give another, it happens all the time. If it’s not in writing, it’s like it never happened.
- Random interview questions. We’ve all gotten strange questions asked of us in interviews. If you don’t know, it’s ok to say so. If it’s a trivia question, play along and make your best guess. Although tempting, it’s not a good time to show your sarcastic side. If the question violates your rights, it is ok to say you’re not comfortable answering the question. However, showing your knowledge of the law by proclaiming the question illegal is a great way not to get the job. Perhaps not a great company to work for if they don’t understand the law or maybe a hiring manager just slipped up. Either way, you’ll sound like a walking lawsuit which is not music to their ears.
- Being treated like a commodity. You’ve taken time out of your day for an interview and it turns out the person you’re supposed to meet with went out of town. Sigh. Some companies will treat you like a commodity or make it seem like your time is not valuable. Always remember that taking a new job should be mutual. If they treat you like a commodity in the hiring process you can bet they will treat you the same as an employee.
- Getting the job. Wait, I thought this about things we hated about job hunting? Isn’t this the end goal? It is, yes, but the fact is that people are fearful about moving positions. Many times, these fears are realized, making moving jobs even scarier. By getting the job offer, you have to leave something you know that’s comfortable (even if you hate it) and learn to fit in to a new role and company.
Share with us things you hate about job hunting!