IT Employment

Poll: What part of job hunting do you dread the most?

Justin James says his least favorite aspect of looking for a job is dealing with recruiters. What part of job hunting makes you want to put off the entire process for yet another week? Let us know by taking our quick poll.

It's clear that many sectors of the U.S. economy are on the decline, which means that a lot of people are looking for work now or will be in the near future. Not many people actually enjoy looking for a new job; it seems to be on the list of hated activities on par with spending the holidays with the in-laws and watching infomercials for nose hair trimmers. Nonetheless, almost everyone has to look for a job at some point.

There are different reasons why people hate looking for a job. I have never liked working with recruiters who obviously care more about making their commission than they do about me.

What part of job hunting makes you want to put off the entire process for yet another week? Let us know by taking the following poll.

J.Ja

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

69 comments
fidlrjiffy
fidlrjiffy

A common thread among nearly every job seeker I know is that when using job boards your resume and application fall into a black hole never to be seen again. So while waiting is the hardest and most annoying part the reality that you will actually wait until Doomsday to hear back is truly the worst. Usually I follow up my submission fairly quickly. On many occasions the recruiter hasn't seen my resume even after several days. My call, though, usually prompts them to look. However, the recruiter is only step one. The recruiter elicits resumes and sort of examines them in some cursory manner. The account manager deals with the actual client and the resume will go to them if the recruiter likes you and your resume enough. At best, then, you might be able to harass the recruiter but once the resume is passed on they really don't know a thing about it and, in fact, their job is done; they have secured a resume. If the account manager is not interested they rarely bother to tell the recruiter. What's the point? And even if they do it's the rare recruiter that's going to bother to contact you. There's nothing in it for them except the additional work. I make it a point during the initial conversation with a recruiter that I only ask one thing of them which is that they keep me in the loop. Many will do that. However, after a number of weeks of being kept in the loop with nothing happening we all kind of get tired of it and give it up. It's an incredibly frustrating experience.

Aaron
Aaron

The worst part about job hunting is trying to ascertain ahead of time what the job actually entails. Too often I see adverts for either permanent or contract work that tick all of my skill and experience boxes, but then find out that they are looking for a code monkey.

Paul.Allaire
Paul.Allaire

Its a very close tossup between interviewing and waiting to hear back, but I think waiting to hear back is a bit more stressful.

egarnerit
egarnerit

Updating my resume. I have done so much at my current position, it could fill a book. And I have only been there five years. How do I get all my reletive experience in such a small space?

fedora9mail
fedora9mail

All the job hunting gurus tell you that networking is the key because that's where most jobs are found. But the thing is I'm an introvert for one and after working my but off for 40, 50, 60 or more hours a week, I want to have some sort of life. Going out to socialize with folks for the sole purpose of networking is one of the most boring and tedious things I can think of. Unfortunately, there's no way around it. I've never got a job from any online job site and knowing someone makes it so much easier to get in somewhere.

yeandelk
yeandelk

I hate having my resume put on a global database by lazy recruiters who take it upon themselves to spam me with irrelevant jobs and promises of small amounts of compensation if I introduce someone I know.

Tink!
Tink!

I'm not a fluent speaker when on the spot. When nervous, my jaw shakes. Sometimes so badly that I nearly stutter. Thankfully I can usually dredge up enough courage and confidence to get through an interview without stuttering. But I still hate it.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

First of all, HI JAY! HOW THE HELL ARE YA? I get frustrated not so much waiting for the call back but I find that today's business involve themselves in ridiculously long hiring processes. Lets say you get an interview (I try to phone and arrange an interview then take my resume to an interview rather than just sending it out in hopes of getting one), all goes well and the company wants you onboard, it can take another 3 to 4 weeks for them to create a position for you, then they have to meet you again and finish up salary negotiations, benefits etc. Then (in my case) I usually have to meet with the fleet manager and arrange to lease a company car, then it takes a week or so for delivery, then you have to wait for a start date and blah blah blah, red tape. I find dealing with recruiters the worst though, they have such a lengthy drawn out and wasteful process that I am shocked that they are still a choice of many businesses. I usually try to avoid recuiters like the plague, I've had several track me down and offer an interview for a position they think I'm interested in (while I am already employed but I always keep dorrs open). That initial interview can take two weeks, then there's teh two weeks wait time, then there's a SECONd interview with some other lazy bum who wasn't thre the first time an so on. As I always say, my proven guidelines for finding and develping your own career seems to work the fastest and be the most cost effective and efficient. Getting the job is not my frustration, getting the job set up and actually starting is what takes the time I don't have to spare.

daniel.weinberger
daniel.weinberger

What I hate are the phishing and spam job offers from industries not IT related.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Having to spend money on a new suit for the interview.

Ben Iron Damper
Ben Iron Damper

I hate when a company wants you to have literally every bit of work experience on every bit of device, OS, topology, etc. Then when you have everything but maybe one type of OS or router they either can't offer you the job due to that or they low-ball you on the pay.

brian.mills
brian.mills

I really hate the entire process of job hunting, but I think the two worst parts are digging through ads and then going to the interview. As a fairly young and inexperienced IT person, I've found that most every job opening I find is either asking for more experience than I have, or the pay is so low that I can't even think about taking the job. so I stay stuck at a job that I can't stand just because it pays enough to pay the bills.

Justin James
Justin James

I have spoken with a good number of recruiters, and they all agree that most candidates don't follow up, and that following up is critical. Recruiters are insanely overworked people. They often neded to work 9 - 5 (mostly getting candidates to interviews, coordinating with clients, etc.), go home and eat dinner, and work a few more hours (talking to candidates who are finally at home). The timely follow up call get bring you off the back burner and into the spotlight. Remember, if you are tied with someone else for a spot, whether it be a phone interview, a re-review, a resume tweak, or whatever, the person who follows up is the one who does it first. Most places aren't going to wait until they've seen everyone before they make up their mind, they are going to take the first person that looks right. Follow up. Wear appropriate clothes to the interview. Use proper English (or whatever your local language), even if you have an accent (accents are fine, knowing speaking the language is a problem). Don't make spelling mistakes on your resume. Be professional and courteous. Don't be late. Follow through on any requests or commitments. That's the "short list" of things which many qualified candidates do not do that take them out of the running for a job. I once had a guy to come in to interview and he wore a Bluetooth headset throughout the whole thing. All anyone talked about afterwards was the headset, not his qualifications. And we had paid for him to fly halfway across the country to do the interview! J.Ja

rdrainer
rdrainer

You might think of your resume as an eye-catcher, something to garner attention or to get your foot in the door of the interviewer. A resume doesn't have to be an autobiography, at least not the initial version that you present to the world. If they like what they see, then be prepared to present a detailed version that mirrors the compact/short/terse/brief version that expands on all the wonderful Is you dotted and Ts you crossed, and page count should not be an issue here because completeness is the goal of the detailed version. Apart from that, you can tell them to wait for the movie.

Justin James
Justin James

I find that it takes about 5 - 7 lines of text (with a reasonable font) to convey the details + mandatory information about a position on a resume. That means that you'll be lucky to get 4 on a page. If you're trying to do a 1 page resume in IT, and you've been around more than a few years, it can be tough. Likewise, some positions (like yours) have so much, it's like having 5 jobs in 5 years, even if the job title never changes. Ditch the 1 page resume, and a lot of other pre-conceived notions of resume writing. I've never heard either an IT manager nor a technical recruiter complain about a 3 - 4 page resume. Be warned, 5 is pushing it, though. You might want to break out your position into sub-tasks, such as: January 2002 - Present: IT Pro, Gold Inc. Worked as a multi-disciplinary IT professional, handling a variety of different roles: * Systems administration - Administered 15 Windows 2003 Servers - Installed, configured, and maintained SQL Server 2005 - Created backup and distaster recovery plans, and performed quarterly "fire drills" - Used Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Scallix to provide enterprise class email to 500 users * Applications Development - Wrote Web-based applications in PHP and ASP.Net (using both VB.Net and C#) to allow end users coordinate with the IT department - Developed applications in Perl and Python to automate many aspects of systems administration - Created a custom plugin to the Netsaint SMTP monitoring system to meet the company's needs * Network Engineering - Designed a network topology to allow three physical sites to securely and transparently communication with each other - Set up and maintained Cisco routers, switches, firewalls, and load balancers with an average of 2.3 hours of downtime over the last 3 years - Created a secure wireless network within the office I hope this helps! J.Ja

Refurbished
Refurbished

I agree networking is very, very difficult. (I am also an introvert.) I found it is easier if I avoid events billed as "networking events" and go to professional group meetings - including user groups. Many of them have a networking (or social) period in addition to the program. To many "networking events" put an emphasis on how many people you meet - people I may never see again without a lot of effort. At professional group meetings, I meet new people and reconnect with ones I met at previous meetings. Sometimes I talk to someone 2 or 3 times before we exchange contact information.

Justin James
Justin James

The kind of networking is the kind of thing that movie directors and fashion designers need. I've found that in IT, the type of networking you need is of a different sort. Look at how high the turnover rate is. If you spend 5 years at a place, chances are, you are the only one there after 5 years that was there when you arrived. So what happened to your former co-workers? They went elsewhere. If you want a network in IT, it's easy. Be friendly to your co-workers, and *stay in touch* with them after they (or you!) leave. Send a holiday card. Drop them a line via email or a phone call every now and then. You don't need to be their best friend, but know what they're doing with their life, and staying alive in their mind, is more than enough. When you want to move jobs, start calling these people, asking them to shake a tree on your behalf, or if anything just fell out of a tree that they know about. Through techniques like this, I've been able to pass a lot of jobs on to other people, and people pass opportunities to me. J.Ja

sgawron
sgawron

Hello All, True networking is getting to know someone. In fact, it is getting that someone to introduce you to a contact inside a company. Then you can find what it is like to work there, what conditions you work under, and possibly get an interview with the person needing your help. If you know someone "inside", your chances of getting hired increase 60%. Steve

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

please post it here. I am also poor at networking and dislike the process.

Justin James
Justin James

This one was started by me, Justin. Lately, I've been having these short little items posted to "Geekend" from time to time. :) J.Ja

vita4life
vita4life

I've been to several interviews for the same company. My current company is just not the right fit. So I started to look again. This one company I was to 3 interviews, and second one lasted 4 hours. When they said they need me to take aptitude test that lasts 6 hours and can only be taking during week day, I said ?forget it?. My latest favorite is 4 interviews, and it is a very small company. I guess I already have seen everyone there.  And the wait between interviews few weeks. Each interview lasted at least 2 hours. Should I say ? I am not interested anymore! Am I wrong or it is bit excessive? Plus, I cannot use all my vacation days on things like that!

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

New suit for the interview? I am seriously thinking of going to an interview in a 'suit' picked up from a thrift/charity shop. Something like the old guys in Cocoon wore or something. I used to have an old suit of my uncles from the 70's. It was pretty funky with its big jacket collars and 24 inch flared bottoms. :p

Justin James
Justin James

I bought a suit in college, it was one of the smartest purchases I ever made. I got it in black, with a classic cut so it's never terribly "in style" but it hasn't fallen out of style either. It's seen endless job interviews, weddings, funerals, special events, awards ceremonies, and more. I compare the cost of that suit with the impact it's had on my career... it is very difficult to be taken seriously for many job interviews without a suit, and it never hurts! I am fairly certain that wearing a suit has helped on more than one occassion to get me a job or a bigger salary (for right or for wrong, it *does* make a difference!), and by that measure, it more than paid for itself many years ago! J.Ja

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I was fresh off a desktop support contract with Win 95/98, OS/2 Warp 4 on the servers, laser printers, network infrastructure (both Ethernet and Token Ring), and a small amount of load management. I interviewed for and was offered a job as a Level II service tech; the pay rate included with the offer was $7.60/hour. (At that time, in this area, [u]inexperienced[/u] techs were starting at anywhere between $8-$10/hour!) I counter-offered for a little over twice that. The owner's response was $7.60 an hour, take it or leave it. I left it. Edit: runaway [u]underscore[/u]

vita4life
vita4life

Companies I've been going to think I have too much experience. Is it even possible! should not that be a good thing!

cupcake
cupcake

Definitely the 'looking' that has me frustrated the most. There are way more sites than jobs, it seems, and especially frustrating when different agencies list the same job with a slightly different description... and of course on top of all this, you have to increase the networking aspect too. But it all seems frivolous when you end up with a great job. A note to Brian though... remember that when a company or agency posts a position, they are listing everything looking for their 'dream candidate' (AND ideally who they hope will work for the fun of it) but generally will scale back on their expectations if they find someone who is eager and demonstrates the ability to learn.

OlivieDu
OlivieDu

As job hunter, we've got plenty of contacts, meeting,interviews and calls. Like a salesman with client , right ? So would it be a "crm" on the web for this kind of hunt ? the deal would be the job quest itself. instead of clients , recruiters... and so on. A job hunter, like a salesman got 'clients' (recruiters) that have to be moved from prospect to final... * I forgot to mention that this solution should be available for free, as unemployed is often without salary of course

fidlrjiffy
fidlrjiffy

No question follow up is vital and given the choice between following up and not you've got nothing to lose. A couple of other points, though: If there is no phone number or email you can't follow up and a fair percentage of postings on the job boards are like this. If I apply for one of these I pretty much forget about it afterward; nothing else I can do with it. In my experience I disagree most that places take the first person they find. Most places I know of want a small pool of likely candidates that they can run up the flag pole. Whether it makes sense or not the grass is always greener until you've sampled a few lawns. There's a whole other post of dopey things that candidates do on interviews and that's one reason for hiring recruiters and having them meet the candidates first. Let them tell the funny stories. Couple of short stories about being late: I had arranged an interview with a candidate. On the day of the interview there was a serious traffic problem and he called well before to say he was at a dead stop. I said that I understood and that we'd see him when he got there. My boss was the first to see him and he beat the guy up for not checking the traffic report and leaving several hours earlier than he normally would have. By the time I saw him he was a nervous wreck and didn't know what planet he was on On another occasion a candidate showed up an hour and a half early for his interview waiting patiently in the lobby. This totally freaked me out! Of course, my boss loved it, but I don't believe we ended up hiring him.

Justin James
Justin James

I agree on the resume length. I've tried to slog through some 7, 8 page resumes and it is just too much. I think that 4 pages is reasonable, especially if the font is 11 - 12 point and there is enough margins and line spacing to let the text "breathe". A super dense resume tells me that either someone job hopped for 20 years, or they are giving me WAY too many details. Either way, it is hard to read through it and comprehend it. What I do, is make sure that I am done with the detailed job experiences by the end of page 3, and on page 4, any additional jobs I just list the dates, job title, company, and location (the standard "header" information); anything that far back is fairly irrelevant anyways, but it's important to show a job history. I also put my education there as well (I'm coming up on my 10 year reunion, which is the "expiration date" for the worth of a BA in IT, and I didn't major in anything technical anyways, so my degree is "useful information" but nothing I need to highlight). J.Ja

rdrainer
rdrainer

Whether you want to or not, recruiters will inevitably ask for a version of your resume for a specific position, and you simply must provide it as quickly as possible. This is not to say that any fabrications or contrivances are in order, but you are ask to focus on experience and skills for which a potential employer has an immediate demand. If the demand is for mainframe, then go light on the PC stuff except to provide assurance that you can use a 3270 emulator, handle documentation responsibilities, and fill in your electronic timesheet, and maybe a few more but not too many. If the demand is for web development, then there is no need to include all that wonderful 360 BAL you coded in the 60s. Eventually, you might build up a collection of targeted resumes from which to draw and bring up-to-date, and some of them might contain more, or less, detail in specific areas. Whatever, trends in resume writing change, and the hot ticket today might be anathema tomorrow, e.g. Hobbies, personal interests, "References supplied upon request", ... A resume is a sensitive instrument that requires maintenance and grooming, in all of its various forms, should they exist.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

For whatever reason, we have a very low turnover in our IT department. Most leave because of retirement.

Justin James
Justin James

I hate to say it, but one of the best things you can do for your career is to spend time at the smoking area at your office. It's the best way to get to know people. For me, when I quit smoking, I found it necessary to still spend a lot of time around it, simply because it was the only way to get "face time" with a lot of the managers (even if it was only 5 - 10 minutes at a time!), as well as to network and get the information I needed to do my job. J.Ja

kstruik
kstruik

I've been to a couple interviews where I got the usual "what was your best accomplishment at your last job". But I had one company ask "what was your worst failure?". I realize this is actually a good question, because it shows how well I can be introspective. But it's not the type of question I was prepared for.

Justin James
Justin James

When I was a manager who was hiring, it took me a total of about 2 - 3 hours to feel ready hire someone. 10 - 15 minutes really examining the resume (bad resumes take much less than that to toss out!), 30 - 60 minutes on a phone interview (why waste their time dragging them in?), 60 - 90 minutes on an in-person interview. The only time I needed a second interview was for certain positions that my boss wanted to also interview the person, if he was not available for the first one (which he usually let me drive anyways). I learned over that year how to ask the right questions (and what they were) to get straight to "do I want to hire this person"? Indeed, many of the candidates I spoke with, I knew within a few minutes, with a high probablility, of whether or not they would be extended an offer, and if they were a good fit for the company. The real question is, do you want to work somewhere with so much red tape, or such an indecisive manager, that it takes 4 interviews to get hired? J.Ja

vita4life
vita4life

If or when this company calls me back - for the 4th interview - I need to wear something outrageous. May be they will get the point that they are being ridiculous!

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

A coworker?s wife called me about 11 years and told me that the coworker fully intended to go on job interviews wearing a baby blue polyester leisure suit when we were both laid-off. It took a few hours, but through a combination of threats of humiliation and proving that disco was indeed dead, he did buy a new suit.

su3264
su3264

I have a VERY expensive linen suit, which I wear with a T shirt which says "Success means never having to wear a suit...". If they don't like it, They and I wouldn't have got on anyway... N

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The only thing I have that would have fit when I was in college is my flip-flops. I've had suits, but the last one shrunk at the waist (HAH!) at least ten years ago.

barretalexander
barretalexander

Same scenario here, then they farm it out over seas to H1B's that are willing to take it for 6.00 an hour plus a apartment with 8 others. Push through congress showing how there was no one able to fill the position in the USA and how they had to go over seas to fill that position. Disgusting. This is going to kill us all in this industry.

rita
rita

Is it too much experience? Can there ever be too much experience. No. Actually, the fear is one of the following: you will be bored here; you will cost too much; you will stay only until something better comes along; you won't fit in; you will feel the job is beneath you and that will affect your performance. Your job is to address these concerns in the interview - not head on, but subtly. Check out the 50+ teleconferences at www.rcmassociates.com. Whatever your age, if you are viewed as overqualified, the "Debunking the Myths" workshop will benefit you. It's free. on the teleconferences page. Rita Carey

casswright5
casswright5

You would think that having 15-20 years experience when they asked for at least 5 would be a good thing. But I have too much experience, so I'll want more pay. The other action is they decide with all that experience, I'm too old for the job and won't have updated skills.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Telling you you have too much experience is code for "We can't afford to pay you what we think you're going to ask so we're not even going to take the chance by letting you ask."

Justin James
Justin James

When I was at NCR I saw a lot of that too. The people there were divided into two categories, those who had been around for more than 10 years, and those who had been around for less than 2 years. An extremely small fraction of people fit into the middle ground, precisely because the "die hard contigent" was so solid. That was the main motivator behind my leaving. I had been there about two years, I had a great career track, I was on a promotion gravy train, and then... BAM. I hit a wall. My boss wanted to promote me, but he couldn't get the approval. On top of that, his budget was weighed down. We were doing a job that did not require too much experience, but when the department started, to make sure that it was the best, they brought a bunch of old timers in. So you had people making $70,000/year doing the exact same job that the new people on the job were getting $17/hour to do. And of course, if you're making that kind of money to do a Mickey Mouse job, and you really don't *need* to advance, you're going to get very cozy. End result? The department had no moeny to promote people, and no positions ever opened up. The best and the brightest left after about 2 years when they realized that they were stalled, and those who were happy to go nowhere stayed. I'm not syaing that's the case if your place, of course! But what I've seen in companies, a low turnover rate usually means one (or more) of a few things: * A lot of folks who are comfortable and happy, so they have no drive to leave. * A lot of folks who are close to retirement and have no reason to rock the boat, especially if they have no kids or the kids are grown up, so they don't need to feed that money pit. * A lack of jobs in the area combined with an unwillingness to relocate. And hey, if you end up looking in the Columbia area, you already know someone who is networked for you. :) J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

I've asked similar questions. I'm not even looking for what they are saying, but *how* they say it. Someone who tries to blow smoke up my shirt, spin it, etc. is someone I'm less likely to hire. I mean, if someone is going to say, "well, the server blew up, but it wasn't my fault that the janitor was so clumsy!", that says to me that I'm talking to someone who doesn't like to accept responsibility. If instead, they say, "the server blew up... I carelessly used a server for a table while the case was open and it was still running, and when the janitor tripped over the tangle of wires I left on the floor and bumped the server, my soda got dumped into the server. From then on, I keep the cleanest server room in the state. Want to see the pictures?" That tells me that this eprson not only accepts responsibility, but learns from their mistakes. That's someone I'd want to hire. We all make mistakes, someone who tries to preted that they don't just makes themself look like a liar. :) J.Ja

vita4life
vita4life

exactly my thoughts! how about one phone interview and one in person! if they cannot get 6 people lined up (and it is for co, with about 100 total employees), what else they cannot do?! Oh and it takes them about 1.5 to 2 weeks in between calls. WOW! I feel like telling them - "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!"

wanttocancel
wanttocancel

I thought my two interviews (phone and face-to-face) were enough. It shouldn't take that much time to decide if someone is worth the job or not.

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

It worked real well when a manager insisted that everyone wore a suit on Halloween, costumes would not be permitted. I, however, am more of the chainmail type.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

The one I got from my uncle was a brown pin stripe. :D Not quite as outlandish as the baby blue, but did look funny enough.

Justin James
Justin James

... I am actually the same size as I was in college. It hasn't always been so (I've been up and down over the years, ranging from 150 to 225), but in the last year or so, I've really instituted a way of living which is pretty healthy, so it looks like the suit will keep fitting. :) J.Ja

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I don't expect many more large pay raises, but I do expect to be able to find and keep jobs. It's very difficult to offshore a screwdriver. ;) edit: grammar

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