Friday, June 4, 2010

Unemployed Job Seekers Need Not Apply

One of the scarier tendencies that have surfaced in the job market as a result of the current economic crisis is that many companies are refusing to hire people who are unemployed, irrespective of the reason for the unemployment:
In a current job posting on The People Place, a job recruiting website for the telecommunications, aerospace/defense and engineering industries, an anonymous electronics company in Angleton, Texas, advertises for a "Quality Engineer." Qualifications for the job are the usual: computer skills, oral and written communication skills, light to moderate lifting. But red print at the bottom of the ad says, "Client will not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason." In a nearly identical job posting for the same position on the Benchmark Electronics website, the red print is missing. But a human resources representative for the company confirmed to HuffPost that the The People Place ad accurately reflects the company's recruitment policies.
Read more about this completely insane and self-destructive tendency here.

I have to leave right now but I will blog soon about my analysis of what this tendency means for us and where it is likely to take us. In the meanwhile, feel free to leave your own interpretation of this troubling phenomenon in the comment section.

8 comments:

Khephra said...

Just more classism. SSDD.

V said...

How do they treat fresh graduates?

Otherwise, I see it this way: Yes, there is a whole bunch of reasons one may be unemployed. But, statistically speaking, those managing to still be employed despite the downsizing of the current economic crisis must be better at what they do than the unemployed.

The employers currently on the market for new workers just can afford to have this bias. And actually if somebody hires only those already employed, the workplace is freed up at their previous job. Thus, all employers cannot simultaneously adhere to the "no currently unemployed" policy...

Clarissa said...

Of course, companies can't all simultaneously adopt these practices precisely for reasons that you, V., explain. The point of putting out such news items and job announcements is to create an environment of fear and anxiety among job seekers. A terrified job candidate who is forced to come to see themselves as unemployable will be willing to be xploited and humiliated in a million ways. Imagine the sense of gratitude one must feel when one actually gets hired after being inundated with such news items.
Another issue is that people who don't get fired during a recession are really not the best workers. Those that get kept on are the most mediocre ones, the ones that will pose no threat to the mid-level management. It's not usually the CEO who decides whom to fire. It's the mid-level person who's shaking with fear they might be next.

V said...

---The point of putting out such news items and job announcements is to create an environment of fear and anxiety among job seekers.

May be, may be not. May be it is just pragmatic. You, of many people, should know how recruiting works, and that those currently employed were always given preferences. Would you prefer this is not talked about?

>>>Another issue is that people who don't get fired during a recession are really not the best workers. Those that get kept on are the most mediocre ones, the ones that will pose no threat to the mid-level management. It's not usually the CEO who decides whom to fire. It's the mid-level person who's shaking with fear they might be next.

Of course, this happens sometimes as well. But to say this is the main reason people get fired is gross exaggeration. Some companies actually fire and hire people based on merit, not based on their brown-nosing abilities.

I am not exactly an employer, but I observe hundreds of undergraduate students and tens of graduate ones (not only mine, but also those of my colleagues). And I see many have problems with either lack of abilities, lack of motivation or lack of responsibility. Obviously, these qualities propagate into their later lives as well. And there is a considerable fraction of them who cannot admit they are the one with a problem... It is always a professor or an employer who has a problem. Some of them are probably telling their friends stories about brown-nosing colleagues who got ahead of them... Does not mean all those stories are true.

Anonymous said...

"But, statistically speaking, those managing to still be employed despite the downsizing of the current economic crisis must be better at what they do than the unemployed."

This is a cognitive error. Especially during a recession, the most expensive workers -- and usually the best ones -- are let go first. Especially if they threaten the manager's position or outshine someone else with power.

Seen it happen.

-Mike

Clarissa said...

" those currently employed were always given preferences. Would you prefer this is not talked about?"

-But these announcements only started to appear massively in the aftermath of the crisis. This must mean something.

"And I see many have problems with either lack of abilities, lack of motivation or lack of responsibility. Obviously, these qualities propagate into their later lives as well. And there is a considerable fraction of them who cannot admit they are the one with a problem... It is always a professor or an employer who has a problem. Some of them are probably telling their friends stories about brown-nosing colleagues who got ahead of them... Does not mean all those stories are true."

-As a person who (at least in my view :-)) does not lack ability or motivation, I have to say that according to my observations, both in the academia and in the corporate world a mediocrity is always more welcome than a highly productive, motivated person. You'd think everybody would cherish an employee who brings the company on a regular basis 10 times more money than the rest of the team combined. Not so. More often than not, the one who will be cherished and promoted will be the one who brings in a mediocre amount at best. It keeps astonishing me, but it happens all the time.

This is why Marxism does not work. Economic factors are not a decisive factor in anything.

Clarissa said...

"Especially during a recession, the most expensive workers -- and usually the best ones -- are let go first. Especially if they threaten the manager's position or outshine someone else with power."

-Exactly!! I have seen it happen and I keep seeing it happen. "We can't afford you any more," "We prefer somebody with less education but cheaper", etc. are things that are actually said to employees.

icyrock said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one incensed by this shortsighted policy by companies. BTW, I posted a link to your blog from mine: http://randomunconnectedthoughts.blogspot.com.