I might regret this later.

You know those instances where you really want to say something even though you know it’s bound to get you in trouble later? Well, this post is one of those times. I should just keep these thoughts to myself until I’m employed again but I can’t help myself. Honestly, if even of this keeps me from getting a job offer, I probably didn’t belong there in the first place.

Looking for a job is harder and weirder than ever before. The economy stinks so employers have the upper hand and some, not all, of them are enjoying the opportunity to use it. I’ve interviewed with a great company recently and am hopeful that something will work out there but I’ve also had some odd interviews that have turned me off from a job I might otherwise want.

What do I mean? Well, there was the job interview that featured all behavioral questions. “What color would you be if you were a color?” “Name three historical figures you’d like to dine with.” I understand throwing one or two of these out in an interview because you get to see a person think on their feet when faced with a strange situation. But a whole session focusing on these scenarios instead of the skills required to do the job?  I think I handled it well. I didn’t get the job but then I wasn’t the most qualified person and maybe the new job holder decided on a better color than I did.

A few weeks ago, the interviewer I spoke with played with a stress ball during the entire interview. She didn’t make eye contact. She sat in her chair turned toward the wall throwing that little stress ball. At one point I thought about answering a question in Pig Latin. She wasn’t paying any attention to me and I didn’t want the job any more. That whole affair was a colossal waste of my time and money- gas and parking. I wonder if interviewers like this understand how this behavior reflects on their organization.

I’ve had great interviews and some reference calls and background checks recently; unfortunately, that was more than a week ago and I still haven’t heard anything. I’m not sure if they’re still in the decision making stage or if they’ve made a decision and are afraid to let me down. Anyone who makes it to an interview deserves notification, especially when its been promised. If X Co. is afraid to tell me they’ve selected another candidate, how do they handle hard decisions and difficult conversations that are just a part of doing business? If I’m still in the running but the process is taking longer than expected, just send a brief e-mail to that effect. It’s just the considerate thing to do.

Why do so many of you need my social security number before the first interview even takes place? In today’s world, we’re taught to fiercely guard those social security numbers and now I’m required to turn it over without a fight. I understand that everyone runs a background check but let’s meet for the first time before you get my social. I’d also like to know what happens to the paperwork containing my social, DOB and other sensitive information. In the case of X Co., there’s now a formal background check floating around in their offices. How can I be assured they’re handling this information properly?

Obviously, I’m frustrated. Some of it is just being worn down by the search and missing a job that I loved, but more of my ill-temper results from the way that applicants are treated today. We’ll surely see a return to common courtesy when the economy improves and job seekers are in demand. I just wish we didn’t have to wait that long.

Just a little honesty

Looking for a job is a special kind of torture. Job seekers are expected to lay their lives bare and honestly answer questions about their skills, accomplishments, failures, and aspirations. It’s all in the name of finding the right match.

So dear employers, why not do us a kindness and make your job postings candid and thorough? We are looking for the right match too. It’s nice to have clear information when making the decision about whether to apply for something or not. It’s a bit like online dating, don’t describe yourself as a 6’3″ Adonis if you’re really more Napoleon (Bonaparte or Dynamite.) You won’t attract those who will really love and want you by refusing to be honest.

Don’t use meaningless words. Try listing the actual job duties instead of fluffy phrases that will only confuse those reading your ad. Furthermore, your job is likely to be posted on your website so you have all the space in the world, use it to fully and honestly describe the job. If someone from HR tries to rewrite your description by removing the details, argue with them. If you’ve got a sales job, don’t call it a PR position in your ad. If you require someone to work nights and weekends, say so. Is travel involved? Be upfront about the frequency.

If you can’t come up with a thoughtful posting, you are bound to waste time going through resumes that don’t match your needs. It’s also possible that you are turning off those who would have wanted and qualified for the job you’re really trying to fill.

Don’t settle for a bad job description. It wastes time and can also make prospective employees feel badly about themselves if they wind up interviewing for a job that has nothing to do with their skills and experience. I beg of you, just be honest and take time to write a good description; we’ll all benefit in the end.