“You should consider yourself lucky to be stuck inside on a sunny day. You have a job and at the moment, I do not.”
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I sat at the bus stop on my way to school for an MBA group project meeting. Here in San Francisco, it’s very common to make small talk with people sitting at the bus stop with you. At least for me. Most of the time these topics range from the weather to the SF Giants to whatever strange event is happening in downtown that day. However, sometimes you have conversations with people that stick with you for much longer than your bus commute.
While at that bus stop, I had started making standard chit-chat about the beautiful weather and how I had been stuck inside all weekend working. The woman turned and said to me “You should consider yourself lucky to be stuck inside on a sunny day. You have a job and at the moment, I do not.”
Wow. Talk about a powerful bus stop. Being that I recently joined the SmartRecruiters team, this very personal, revealing statement hit me hard. There are STILL so many people out of work, and this should not be the case.
This woman, in her 50’s I would say, had been laid off from her financial services job more than 6 months ago. She had sent out countless resumes, been on dozens of interviews and still was having no luck. She had decades of experience, professional certifications, was well spoken- the works- but still could not seem to fit what companies were looking for. Where was her job opportunity? She sounded tired, discouraged and a little angry. It was heartbreaking. She continued:
“I will go to an interview, spend an hour there and then find out the position was nothing like it sounded in the job description. It’s so frustrating!”
It turns out that the main problem she was having seemed to be at the job description level. She would often apply and interview for a position, only to find out it was very different from what the job posting originally entailed. She would find that these job ads would mention exciting duties that aligned with her qualifications and even chances for collaboration and promotion, but when she got into the interview, it seemed as if they were just trying desperately to fill a vacant spot, often not living up to the promises made in the job descriptions. She then said to me:
“The job sounded like a good fit, but this is where I live. I love the city.”
She casually mentioned that this particular company did happen to have an opening that would probably work for her, but it was outside of the city and she wasn’t willing to commute. Although, after hearing her story, this statement struck me as a little odd. Here she was, a great candidate with a good set of marketable skills with an opening in her field, but she did not want to settle on the location. Granted everyone has their personal non-negotiables in a job search, but it got me thinking about compromise on both sides of the employment line.
I believe it is the responsibility of companies to write honest, compelling job descriptions and conduct truthful, helpful interviews. Candidates deserve that level of respect. It’s about working together. However, I also believe that the candidate has a responsibility to consider all of their options. I am not advocating “settling” in your career by any means, but it cannot always be up to the employer to fix the unemployment situation. Both employers and potential employees need to be able to work with each other, honestly and respectfully, to really end unemployment.
Brandi Cole is the new social media intern at SmartRecruiters. She is finishing her Master’s of Digital Marketing at Hult International Business School and is a social media lover, tech nerd, political junkie and networker bee. Photo Credit: Frugal-Cafe.com