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Selling Your Expertise

There Is No Shortage of Talent

There's a Shortage of Suckers

I just started the second real "motivated" job search in my 22 years. The first doesn't really count, since it was during the depths of the 2009 recession (when everyone was out of work) and I've been continuously employed outside of that.

Like any other business blog reader, I've seen plenty of articles about the oncoming "talent shortage". My sympathies were with HR. It truly sounded like we had a real problem.

Well, no mas! After 30 days, I'm convinced this problem is entirely created by HR.

Go sell crazy somewhere else. We're all stocked up here.

Why Are You Reposting Jobs With Over 1000 applications?

Let's start with my pet peeve. Employers continuously reposting positions with hundreds or thousands of responses. LinkedIn has a lovely competitive intelligence service, available to paying customers, which tells us a little bit about who else has applied. And as any good sales person knows, nothing beats a little knowledge when you're trying to close a deal. At which point, we can take a look at this little gem:

Reposting After 1000 Resumes? Seriously?

Reposted for at least the 4th time in as many months. We're not talking about a CEO gig here either - once you peel back the fluff, this is a general manager role for a startup offering in digital services, with a few layers of bosses above them. In Atlanta, not New York. It's a nice role (with P&L) but still we're talking about an early stage business sitting in the middle of the startup hub for the Southeast. There are easily several thousand people in the town who are capable of building that business. Get over yourselves and just freakin hire someone. You're running a website, not curing cancer.

Somewhere along the line, the "recruiting industry" forgot their job was to get butts in seats, doing actual work.

Narrow / Irrelevant Experience Requirements

"Experience with Home Depot’s Vendor Portal required"

Posted by a national recruiting firm, no less. So let me get this straight. You're going to toss a resume in the trash because they haven't been keypunching data into a particular retailer's portal? For a Sales Director Job?

Are you people complete morons?

I spent the past year partnered up with the exact kind of person that you need to hire. He led the sales team. When it came to getting new items slotted at a retailer, he could make it rain. I can make an educated guess as to his paycheck: "A lot". Enough that it would be an absolutely stupid waste of time to lock him away in an office entering data into some portal. We had (very talented) admins that handled that and the arrangement worked out nicely for everyone involved. We got orders, they entered them, prosperity ensued.

Gee, I guess you're not going to be able to hire him. Pity, he built a $40 MM business.

So if you're seriously disqualifying candidates for this, I'm beyond words.

Super Narrow Selection Criteria

So apparently you won't be considered for a senior position unless you've worked in almost exactly that role in a company that was almost exactly the same at almost exactly the same career level.

That's not whining, just looking at who bothers to reply back to the 100 resumes I sent.

Which is ridiculous, because certain skills are either universal or can be applied within a very broad space. I happen to know quite a bit about analyzing manufacturer and distributor profitability. You may safely assume that while most of my experience happens to deal with packaging and janitorial supplies, I can probably figure out your welding supplies business without much effort. Sell product, put on truck, ship it. Same process, same math.

Same thing with manufacturing leadership. We've got this massive building with huge machines and tons of people running around. Here are the detailed manuals on the equipment if we need to tweak a specific machine. Most of the rest of the job is pretty universal. Just keep reminding people to keep their fingers away from moving parts, ok?

Aside from making it difficult to change industries or functions, there's another huge blind-spot in this approach to assessing candidates. It's very easy to fake knowledge of a line of business at your company that you didn't personally work on, especially if you're part of a corporate function that crossed multiple areas. Take a few people in that business unit to lunch, take good notes, and you can rattle off factoids like any good management consultant. Most recruiters are utterly incapable of distinguishing this from actual work experience.

Seriously. Ask me about my deep expertise in selling printing paper. I dare you.

Outright Age & Lifestyle Discrimination

Every good movies needs a comedy scene. I nominate the "office" interview for this role.

I'm 45 and have gray hair. That does tend to happen when you spend a few years raising teenagers and attempting to fix extremely messed up companies. It apparently indicates I am completely ignorant about technology and social media.

Never mind that billion dollar public companies have used code I've written in the past three years to make legally binding statements to their shareholders. As in "go to jail if you get this wrong" stuff. Silly executives. They shouldn't have used an old guy to write that code.

But the real prizewinner comes when we speak about moving on from a remote working arrangement. "Are you willing to commute into the office after working remotely?"

What kind of question is that? The job is an office job and I applied. Why is this an issue?

What Are Your Salary Requirements?

So let me get this straight. You want me to bootstrap a multi-million dollar business, from scratch, operating with minimal marketing and operating funding in a highly competitive channel. Or get your consumer product slotted at a major retailer. Or launch your new web application. For $100,000 a year and no equity.

No, seriously - what are you smoking? Because I want some of it.

Let's be clear - all of those tasks are achievable. And will generate millions of dollars in equity for your company. And I'm pretty sure you're going to fire me within a year or two if this doesn't work out, so this isn't a low risk deal.

What you're missing is that while you may need someone like me to get this done, people like me don't necessarily need you to create that kind of value. I can outsource or import product. I can hire programmers. In the larger scheme of things $50,000 for a marketing budget isn't a lot of money. Financing is out there. I may not want to assume the risk of startup business right now but if you're going to offer the deal on those terms...

Basically you want me create millions of dollars in value, get paid $100 grand for my troubles, and get stuck holding the bag if things don't work out. Instead of going "all-in" and taking the entire multi-million dollar pile of equity at a similar level of personal risk. You're not recruiting geniuses, you're recruiting suckers.

Stop wasting people's time and make experienced candidates a real offer.

No Kidding People Don't Get Hired

I mean seriously, it's probably faster to just try to go sell your company something than actually get a job there. Probably more profitable too, while we're talking about it.

To heck with Human Resources. Anyone got the number for purchasing?

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