Of course it may just be me, it may be just a reflection of the type of jobs I'm applying for these days, but there is certainly no longer any nod/wink and you're in. Even with the funny handshake. Now, even for internal applicants, we have a plethora, a whole mix of on-line questionnaires, psychological tests, telephone interviews, one way video interviews (I have two podcasts about that incidentally), resumes (two podcasts about that as well) and, my bête noire, online application processes.
All of these are hurdles in their own way, traps set by HR to filter out the unwanted. I can understand all of that. Indeed I'd go so far, but not publicly, to say I have sympathy with HR's role in this case. Not every applicant is serious, not every applicant has the right skill set, some CVs are clearly preposterous (no kidding, I had one sent in on what appeared to be a roll of kitchen paper in one organisation). So there has to be a filter. I am also sympathetic to the requirements to identify candidates for senior roles. After all if you are looking for the new CEO of Consolidated HeeHaws you want someone who knows which are the best years for claret and the quickest most effective way to publicly patronise an underling.
But what seems to be happening more and more is greater downward pressure on junior roles within an organisation to have to jump even higher hurdles to get employed. It's now not enough to write a compelling CV, maybe have a one-way video or telephone interview followed by the actual interview, to get a job. Now you have to have group assessments or, more demanding still, give a presentation at the start of an interview.
These are presentation topics I've been asked to give for positions I've (unsuccessfully) applied for this year that pay around £25k. Yes £25k (or $32k). These are not senior roles by any measure and no where near the salary I was earning.
- Explain why diversity in the workforce is critical to the organisation.
- How would you deal with a team member whose performance was giving you cause for concern? What process would you follow?
- How would you go about improving a business process?
- Your thoughts and proposals on how you would ensure a customer focussed, agile, flexible, efficient, consistent and resilient professional services team could be achieved. What do you consider to be the biggest challenges that you would face and how would you plan to overcome these challenges?
- What are the main business issues you think you will face and how will you prioritise them.
- Visit one one of stores and outline what changes you would suggest to the store manager.
To put it in time terms, it takes me 1.5 hours to complete a resume. If you are called to an interview and have to give a presentation (with the topic given beforehand) that preparation and research could take a further 3 hours or more, then there's travelling time to the interview and the interview itself. This is ignoring the other pre-interview research you need to carry out. In all that's around 8 to 12 hours work for an interview for a role that pays only a mediocre amount.
Why organisations feel they need to be so intrusive and demanding at this junior level I don't know. And then there's the waiting time to hear the outcome. I've waited 10 or more working days to find out the result of interviews for roles at this pay grade and most companies are just simply atrocious at letting you know if you haven't been successful. 'We've caused you to spend all this time preparing, we've got our candidate - we no longer care anymore and can't be bothered.' In the meantime you remain tense just in case you might, just, be still in with a chance.
Is it because many of those involved in the process have forgotten what it's like to apply for jobs? Is it just organisational arrogance and complacency? I don't know.
I do know it's very, very irritating.