I’m fully aware my experience is entirely anecdotal. After all, it has happened – as far as I can tell – only to me. Furthermore, I really have no way of knowing why things occurred the way they did because I haven’t been made privy to the processes and decisions that went into the “invisible” side of my experience. Therefore, you may write these words off as the irascible grousing of a bitter old man, if you like.
Nevertheless, inasmuch as I have applied for a shitload of jobs in the recent past, all of them online and most of them through LinkedIn, let me offer a little of my experience in doing so. When it comes to hiring, regardless of whatever else they may or may not do right, and regardless of the good intentions of no doubt good hearted people, HR departments suck at treating applicants as human beings.
Of all the positions I applied for, I would say no more than 20 – 25% of them acknowledged my existence in any way after I had completed my application. Of those, the majority were simple web pages that I was fed after completing their application. In total, I received no more than four email acknowledgements of my effort.
Unfortunately, my application was the last of our “engagement” and this was even true of organizations whose primary business was “Social” business. Even people I knew personally managed to avoid interviews or much, if any, communication. I don’t think it was because I have body odor, either.
One company, to which I applied for a community management position, sent me a four-page document containing around a dozen scenarios and problems they wanted me to respond to with my analysis of the situation and how I would handle it. I took the opportunity (and at least four hours) to respond to the challenge and provide what I hoped were good answers.
Despite my relatively rapid response, it wasn’t until I publicly wondered (on Twitter) why I was being ignored that I received an email (or was it a tweet?) informing me the job had been filled. Another company was kind enough just yesterday to let me know of another position that has been filled . . . months after I offered my application. I wonder why they never thought to interview me?
Here’s what I think may be happening. Despite all the rah rah talk about respect for the knowledge and experience of older workers, nobody really wants to hire someone my age. It’s pretty easy to figure out approximately how old I am simply by looking at my LinkedIn profile. If nothing else, you’ll be able to figure out I’m a Baby Boomer and, actually, with very little search proficiency, I believe one could ascertain my exact age with reasonable certainty. I have no intention of hiding it either.
I must point out, as well, I’m fully aware I have made a large portion of my life an open book by my participation in social media and through my blogging efforts. However, I also have a long track record of loyal and valuable leadership and service to an organization that played a significant role in the United States’ space program. I have also, for many years, shared a great deal of the knowledge and experience I have gained from those efforts. There is a digital trail of my work as well.
I guess my best bet is to continue seeking clients who can use my assistance for short periods of time or for limited responsibilities. Let me say this to hiring managers, though. You really ought to figure out processes for treating your applicants with a bit more respect. I know they’re supplicants as well as applicants, but do you have to treat them like shit by essentially ignoring them throughout what is not a comfortable process to begin with? Just a thought. After all, the word “Human” is part of your process and job description, no?