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I may be off my hinges, but something seems odd about this…

June 18, 2022, 2:25 PM

A very close friend of mine is currently looking for a new job in order to further their career, and a recent experience of theirs while job hunting struck me as odd.  It bothered me because, in the end, all that this company really did was waste my friend’s time.  And when someone that I am very close to gets treated poorly, whether through actual malice or simply through indifference, I get upset, because I don’t want to see them be hurt.

For some background information, my friend is currently employed, and as far as I am aware, their current employment relationship is stable.  Their situation is not like when I was at Food & Water Watch, where they were actively trying to push me out, and thus a sense of urgency with the job search in order to get out before the hammer ultimately fell.  There is no time crunch with my friend.  They can afford to be choosy about who they want to work for, and choose the right job rather than a “right now” job.  That is a very enviable situation to be in, and it gives them more power than they might otherwise have, because they can choose to wait for better offers.

As part of their job searching strategy, my friend listed their resume on Indeed.com, which is a site where companies recruit candidates via job postings and resume searches.  I have mixed feelings about making one’s resume public.  When I made my resume public when I was looking for a new job in 2013, I got lots of contacts based on it, mostly by phone, but from all of the wrong kinds of people.  I was not interested in working for some shady insurance company or whatever else tried to reach out to me.  I quickly got the impression that only shysters used the public resume search functions and that reputable companies don’t because they have plenty of applicants who are seeking them out and thus don’t need to recruit like that, and as such, I pulled my resume.  That stopped those sorts of contacts immediately.  However, considering the number of sites today that tell people that they should make their resume public, I suspect one of two things about my experience: either my experience was atypical, or a lot has improved in the last nine years to prevent the shysters from locking onto people’s resumes so easily.  Either way, it’s left me a bit wary about public resume postings, and as such, I am more guarded about who gets to see my resume, i.e. only people that I want to have it ever get it.

In any event, my friend has gotten a few bites on their public-facing resume from actual, legitimate companies that I have heard of, and in some cases, done business with in the past.  I consider that a good thing.  In one situation, though, I found the process to be a bit strange, and it left me feeling a bit angry for my friend.  The company found their resume via a search on Indeed, made contact with them, and invited them into their recruitment process.  The first step in that process was an assessment, i.e. one of those ridiculous “personality tests” that ask all sorts of questions about what your views are on attendance, teamwork, work habits, drug use, and so on, where there are allegedly no right or wrong answers.  If they passed the assessment, the process would continue, and if they failed the assessment, the process would end.  According to my friend, they failed the assessment, and therefore the process ended.

As an aside, I am quite confident in saying that the “no right or wrong answers” claim for those assessment tests is a lie.  Companies know what they’re looking for on those assessments.  I remember doing one of those back in 2003 during my interview when I was applying for Walmart.  It was something like a fifty-question “opinion survey” where there were allegedly no right or wrong answers.  After they scored it, the hiring manager said, pretty much straight up, “Let’s discuss the questions that you got wrong.”  And the funny thing was that every single one of those allegedly “wrong” questions, I predicted would be scored “wrong”.

When I heard about the process and the result, I was not happy, because all that this company ultimately did was waste my friend’s time.  As I was told, the company found their resume, reached out to them to invite them into the recruitment process, and then subjected them to an online assessment that subsequently eliminated them from consideration.  As I understand it, an assessment test is used as a way to trim the pool of applicants down to a more manageable amount by eliminating the people who will admit in writing that they aren’t willing to perform the essential functions of the job that they applied for.  The idea is that if you’re subjecting candidates to an assessment where the candidate made the first contact, fine, because that works to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak (though I suspect that there are probably better ways to do that besides those ridiculous assessments – but that’s besides the point).  For a situation where the company reached out to the candidate and invited them into the process, i.e. the first contact was from the company to the potential candidate, subjecting the candidate to an assessment is unacceptable.  If the recruiter found the resume and liked it enough to make the contact and invite the candidate into the process, to me, that tells me that they’re already considered good enough, and therefore, they should bypass any assessment and advance directly to the interview stage, because clearly, the company thinks that they will be a good match.  Anything else is a waste of the candidate’s time, especially when they were brought into the process by the company in the first place.  Clearly, the company sees some value in inviting them into the process themselves, and thus an assessment seems unnecessary, since the company initiated the discussion.  The idea is that the company made the effort to bring someone into the recruitment process when that person didn’t apply, which tells me that they’re more interested in that person right out of the gate compared to the average Joe who applied off the street without any prompting by the company.  Therefore, because the company has already shown that they’re very interested in that candidate, they should go straight to first-round interviews without an assessment.

To subject the candidate to an assessment after actively inviting them into the process, and then bouncing them out based on the results of the assessment without ever interviewing them is just disrespectful.  To me, that speaks of either a serious lack of respect for candidates’ time – more so considering that the company initiated the process with the candidate – or a very broken recruitment process.  Either way, it’s not a good look for the company.  Especially so with the latter, since it tells me that if you still need to use an assessment on the people that the company reached out to and recruited themselves as a weed-out tool, the people in charge of that area of recruitment aren’t doing a good job with it, i.e. they are just pulling in anyone regardless of whether they are qualified or not, and just trying to meet certain quotas for invitations, possibly knowing that those people would probably fail early on.

I suppose that it all ultimately comes down to a matter of respect.  My friend had never considered that particular company before they were invited into their recruitment process, but I suspect they will not consider them again after the experience that they had with this time around, where the company recruited them, subjected them to the weed-out process, and then spit them right back out.  After all, why waste your time with that company again when they have already demonstrated that they do not respect your time at all?  And this is during the recruitment process, when they’re supposed to put their best foot forward in order to entice someone to join the team.  Imagine how they treat their employees once they’re already committed, and the company doesn’t have to put in effort to woo them anymore.

This also speaks again to why companies should treat jobseekers like customers, and not as beggars or otherwise as nuisances.  People remember experiences, and it can and does affect people’s decisions regarding said companies in the future.  If I’m mistreated by a representative of a company, regardless of whether I’m a customer, a jobseeker, or otherwise, I’m going to avoid that company in the future if I can, because I respect myself more than to intentionally subject myself to mistreatment.  This admonishment is even more important when the company made the first contact, because now they’re the one starting the process.  They chose the candidate.  The candidate didn’t choose them.  My friend admitted that they had never thought about the company prior to the company’s reaching out.  Thus it is especially incumbent on them to put their best foot forward when they’re the ones who started things.  To waste someone’s time like that is just plain unacceptable.

I suspect, though, that most of these companies will never learn.  It’s like the old line from The Simpsons, where Principal Skinner says, “Am I so out of touch?”  And then, after thinking about it, he concludes, “No, it’s the children who are wrong,” enabling him to double down on his outdated views.  The same attitude holds here, and unfortunately, we all suffer for it.

Categories: Friends, Work