Looking for a new job? Job sites have jolly TV adverts, and pop up when you’re on other websites, making it look like they are the best thing since sliced bread.
In fact, they suck. They waste vast amounts of job-seekers’ time and energy, and they aren’t great for employers, either.
Job sites are just machines
Job sites are the cheap, 21st century way of doing things without (ironically) creating more than a handful of jobs running the site itself.
It’s all about algorithms and keywords.
And it’s all about algorithms that aren’t even that good at geography. You specify ‘within ten miles of’ and they show vacancies 40 miles away.
Do a search on, for eg, Gillingham in Dorset, and you will get vacancies in Dorset. You will also get vacancies close to Gillingham in Kent
They bombard you with emails, scheduled to hit your inbox throughout the night as well as day: ’20 new jobs’ that are ’19 you’ve seen before, and most of which aren’t suitable anyway’.
Because if you (can) narrow your search terms a lot, you won’t get many vacancies showing at all, and may miss some because the employer didn’t use the ‘right’ word.
But if you don’t narrow them, you’ll have to wade through tonnes of things you don’t want or stand no chance of getting.
Meanwhile, of the ’20 new jobs,’ it’s perfectly possible that some will require someone who speaks a language you don’t. Even though you didn’t specify anything about languages in your search terms.
You couldn’t specify ‘I don’t speak…’ as a search term. If you could, you’d have to set up hundreds of variations (minus-Mandarin; minus-Spanish, minus-Russian…).
Job sites can’t distinguish subtleties
Use the search term ‘healthcare,’ and results can include (don’t ask how!) a job in a sandwich shop, and an assistant chef.
And here’s one British readers will appreciate. If you want to work for Boots the pharmacy chain, look at their own website. Because while on a jobs website, ‘Boots’ as a search term will pull up (quick test) two ‘trainee dental nurse’ posts, it will also show you a lot of labouring roles where they provide stout footware!
Job sites can’t tell the time
Meanwhile, because it’s all done by computer, job sites will only stop showing roles if there is a clear cut-off date.
I’ve seen several instances of ‘new jobs’ being advertised on job sites that were completely out of date. Two friends of mine wasted a lot of time trying to apply for a couple of them. One of these ‘new’ roles had actually first been advertised two months earlier.
Job sites have ads from agencies
Employer pays agency to recruit for them; agency posts job ad on general job site; applicants are left scratching their heads.
Because the agency are the middle man. So, they don’t tell you the name of the company, or the precise location, because then you might approach the company directly and cut out the middle man.
So, they ask you to work your socks off applying for a position without knowing which company is offering it.
That rather makes a nonsense of the standard question all employers want answered: ‘why do you want to work for us?’
Employers lose out, too
Out-of-date offerings on job sites not only waste the job-seekers’ time, but also the employers’. Because they continue to be inundated with applications for posts they have already filled.
If employers rely on keywords to sift applications, they are probably going to miss out on quality candidates who didn’t know how to game the system. While automatically shortlisting lots of poorer candidates who stuffed their application forms with keywords.
Of course, if every candidate has read the same advice, all applications will be stuffed with the same keywords, and that won’t thin things out at all.
Job sites – it’s not you
The ‘positive’ note to all this is that if you have wasted many, many hours, applying for dozens of jobs via job sites and not got a single response, it doesn’t mean you are useless. It doesn’t mean you couldn’t do any or all of those jobs standing on your head.
You can at least cheer yourself up that it’s simply a rubbish system.
And go and waste many hours following the alternative advice advocated by many: that of pestering firms that aren’t hiring with ‘pro-active’ applications, in the hope they might just have something coming up. When most will probably just shove your CV etc on one side and forget about it, assuming when they finally do have a vacancy that you’ve probably found something else by then.