Why Job Hunting in the Age of the Internet Sucks

It’s no secret that I’ve been looking for a full time teaching gig of some sort since I finished my Ph.D.  To date, I have applied to five different full time positions in my area.  Recently, I applied to a local community college and I had a really good feeling about the application.  In my mind, I was a good fit for what they were looking for and I have the experience and the degrees to make me an attractive candidate.

Or so I thought, at least.

This morning, I checked the HR website.  Days after I submitted my application materials my application “status” went from “Under HR Review” to “Sent to Committee for Review” which essentially means they looked over my materials and determined that I had the base requirements for the job.  (In the case of a teaching job like this that I essentially had the right degrees.)  When I checked today, my status changed to, “HR determined not selected for interview.”

As of this posting, I’ve received no notice from the college about this decision.  I only know because my own curiosity kept me checking the site on a near daily basis.

Of the five full time jobs that I’ve applied for this year, I’ve heard back from only one other.  For the colleges where I can check the status of my application, most say something vague along the lines of “In progress” or “Sent to committee.”  One college, that I applied to in November of last year, sent me an email to confirm they received my materials but no other communication after that initial response.

All of this makes me wonder about manners in this technological age. Plenty of people discuss the tendency for people to troll forums and such, being assholes because the anonymity of the internet allows them to do so. Penny Arcade even has a comic about it:


Life on the Internetz

It seems some of this has rubbed off into the job search as well. It’s not harassment going on here, and I am not dealing with creeps that think they can say whatever they want to me as I am going through this job search, but the “non-response response” that apparently has become an acceptable form of job application feedback disturbs me.

I could easily whine about how much time I spent on my application materials, especially since almost every full time teaching job requires “supplemental” application materials which often end up being several pages of writing. It’s not that I feel the time and effort I put in the application materials should at least warrant a nicely worded email response that says, “We looked over your materials and appreciate your application.”

What am I saying? That is exactly how this should go. There should be some other means of notification other than me checking the HR portal to figure out if I am still in consideration for a position, especially when I submitted some of these applications months ago.

I am not 100% sure when my status changed for this most recent application, so there is still the chance that I will get that, “Thanks but no thanks” email at some point. I suppose since things on the internet move at lightening speed, I would be more fair of me to wait a day or two to post this, just in case that email does indeed find its way to my inbox. But since they didn’t send an email to me *before* changing my status on the website, I feel fine in posting this mini-rant now.

So much for professional decorum.


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  1. #1 by arcticwren on July 25, 2011 - 6:50 pm

    Honey, you’re preaching to the choir with this one!

    I have been unemployed for over 2 years, after being dumped by my previous employer of over 25 years. Up to that point, I had been a valuable employee with glowing performance reviews, positive feedback from my clientele, and had been sought out for advancement. Since then, I have actively been looking for a job, the effort of which has consumed thousands of hours filling out hundreds of applications, sending hundreds of resumes, writing hundreds of emails and cover letters.

    For all that I’ve had 5 interviews, and no offers. With all the other applications, except for automated emails that state “we have received your information and will contact you once we have determined if you are qualified for this position”, I’ve had maybe – maybe – 25 that contacted me in any way to let me know that I was not under consideration for the job. For everything else, nothing. Some of the larger companies have information on their site where I can check on the status of my application (such as you’ve encountered, Regina), and I’m grateful for that. But other places (even my former employer) left me hanging.

    Add to that the perception that someone who cannot find a job after x- amount of time (especially if pulling unemployment benefits) is simply being lazy, the sense of complete failure that losing a job serves up in the first place, resentment from those who used to depend on you and the knowledge that your family is suffering due to your failure, and it makes it very hard to keep on keeping on.

    I hope your search goes better than mine, Regina. I have no doubt that it will, as your field is much more specialized than mine, and your qualifications more impressive. But you have a kindred spirit in your frustration. If you ever need/want to spend some time kvetching and just shaking your fist at the sky, let me know!

  2. #2 by My Reflecting Pool on July 25, 2011 - 7:46 pm

    I was thinking about you (and a few other friends in search of work right now) while I was writing this. I guess the “take away” message is that common courtesy is not all that common. I was only talking about the academic jobs I’ve applied for but I’ve also applied for about 15 other jobs and haven’t heard a word back from them at all.

    And I know that employers are overwhelmed and understaffed but it just seems like it should be simple enough to set up some kind of form letter saying, “Thanks, no thanks,” instead of leaving X number of applicants hanging. But I’ll keep trudging through and see what comes of it.

    Sending you lots of good thoughts with your search as well! 🙂

  1. One Word – #Reverb11 « My Reflecting Pool

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