Looking for A Job Shouldn’t Suck This Much

Written by Guest Columnist

Looking for a job should suck less. Interviewers, remember what it was like to be on the other side of the table. Here’s how to be humane about it, says one job candidate, who asks not to be identified for all the obvious reasons …


aNewDomain — Looking for a job is a job. A big job. Anyone who is unhappy in a position will attest to that.

And I’m happy to be employed. There are a lot of people who would gladly trade places with me. If only they knew.

But there has to be more to life than settling for work that leaves you feeling miserable, unfulfilled and broken. There has to be something good out there. Most of us who dream of changing jobs or careers want to do so because our bosses are terrible. There aren’t many good supervisors in the world; most are micromanagers, egotists, motivation-killers or insecure jerks.

Of course, landing another job isn’t easy. Take it from someone who has tried over the past several years. Sometimes, it seems like Mission: Impossible, complete with implausible plot lines. While I sometimes feel I have devolved into a mediocre interviewee — and I used to be so good! — I pin some of the blame on potential employers who don’t know what they want, set unrealistic expectations or believe they can pay dirt-cheap wages. Our market is particularly bad.

Maybe I should have gotten a better degree in college.

But this isn’t about the poor guy or gal looking for another job. This is directed to bosses, hiring managers, whomever the powers-that-be are who decide who gets a job and who doesn’t.

This is directed to those cruel beings who need to remember what it was like to be on the other side of the table. Look. Looking for a job shouldn’t suck as much as it does. Here’s how companies could improve the situation.

Treat us like humans

There’s nothing wrong with smiling and making a person feel comfortable, especially in those awkward panel interviews. I always try to make a little joke to lighten the mood, especially if it appears that the man or woman is nervous. Too often, panelists feel like they have to grill the interviewee to see how the person reacts under pressure. That can leave a bad impression before the interviewee has a chance to accept or decline a job.


Call us back! Or email. Or something.

Waiting to hear back after an interview can be painful, especially when the job-seeker thinks he or she had a good shot. One particularly bad utilities company where I interviewed didn’t contact me for more than a week after my first go-round. Obviously, not a good sign. But to compound the problem, neither the hiring manager nor the human resources rep would even return my email inquiries. I finally got a form electronic rejection nearly a month after my interview. Yeah, I had already figured things out before then. Few things are more frustrating than spending time and energy on a job search only to realize the potential employer doesn’t care.

Don’t change the rules

My wife interviewed with a local hospice care referral company and hit it off with the director. My better half is a marketer, and her potential boss told her that the company needed just that: a person with marketing and graphic design skills to come in and get their materials in shape. When my wife went in for her second interview, the director wasn’t there, replaced by two new people. The director reportedly had a family emergency. The second time wasn’t the charm. The two people completely contradicted the original interviewer, saying the job was almost strictly about sales. A day wasted, dreams of a new job flattened.


Post a salary range. In the job listing.

Few things are more frustrating than getting excited about a job only to learn that the position pays peanuts. From my experience, I would estimate that fewer than 25 percent of employers list a salary. Sometimes it’s easy to tell when you’re looking at a low-paying position. The local university, for example, is notorious for bad pay. But why leave the pay a mystery?

No sense in having someone apply for a job that doesn’t meet his or her salary requirements. That’s just rude.

Give us time to prepare

I recently reached the second round interview stage for a marketing writing job for a construction company. I knew I aced the first interview and would be moving forward. What I didn’t expect was to get a call setting up another interview for the next day, in a little more than 24 hours. Fortunately, I was able to scramble and take the day off. But what if I had an unbreakable commitment? The date and time were pretty much offered as a take it or leave it proposition. Obnoxious.

Don’t be a jerk

I once interviewed with the aforementioned low-paying university for a media relations job. The interviewer made me wait a good 10-15 minutes after the agreed time and proceeded to interrupt the proceedings about halfway through to answer emails from her boss. Yeah, made me feel special.

Maybe I’m being too pie in the sky about the world of work.

Our job isn’t our friend, and the sooner we realize that, the better off we’ll be.

But that doesn’t give employers the right to be dismissive and unprofessional. Who would want to work for someone like that anyway? All too often these days, that’s the rule and not the exception.

There has to be more to life than this. Looking for a job shouldn’t suck this much.

For aNewDomain, I’m the Anonymous Candidate.