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Opinion: Job search marked by frustration

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Posted on April 11, 2016 |
By James Rowe



 Why is it so hard to get a good job in Vermont, for that matter a job, any job? Is it just Vermont or is this everywhere in the U.S.? Are local jobs just “word of mouth”? These are some of the questions I have been asking myself for the past couple of years.

Not only are there few jobs available but also it is so stressful, frustrating, humbling process.

First step: the search stage. You look for the positions/jobs through indeed.com, careerbuilder.com, vtjobs.com, Addison Independent.

Second step: the application stage. You send in your résumé. First you have to “dumb it down” — or you are “overqualified”? I don’t know why a simple application will work until one is granted an interview?

Thirty percent of applications that are sent are acknowledged received by an automated email. Five percent (yes, that is correct, only 5 percent) of applications that are sent are acknowledged by a person/department. And the remaining 65 percent of applications are never acknowledged as received. So you are left wondering, and you have to follow up with several emails for acknowledgement. And when there is a response, you get “If we are interested, we will contact you”; nothing about when I would be able to expect contact, no timetable.

Third step: the interview stage. If you are qualified (lucky enough), you will be granted an interview. I have no idea what they are looking for because there is no feedback

I will give you an example: I went on four job interviews. The interviews went well, I was one of three-to-five candidates for the position. The average time period to get to the interview stage was three weeks.

Job 1: I was one of three to be considered, did not get the job (or feedback). Three weeks later the job/position was being advertised again.

Job 2: I was one of seven to be considered, did not get the job (or feedback). Two months later the job/position was being advertised again.

Job 3: I was one of eight to be considered, did not get the job (or feedback). Five months later the job/position was being advertised again.

Job 4: I was one of six to be considered. I was “overqualified.” Ten days went by before I was offered the position (which I took). I could start in two weeks. It was six long weeks from the time I sent in my résumé till I started to work.

What I learned from this experience, more questions than answers:

• Obviously the interview process does not work. Don’t you know when that person leaves the interview, that they will be a good fit for the position?

• Do not know what are employers/HR looking for, never received any feedback even when I asked for it?

• Why the need to keep interviewing candidates

• Why does the process take such a long time? After all, the position is not for the head of a multi-million dollar corporation.

• Are people (employers/HR) so removed and caught up with “self-importance” to not have any empathy for people?

My son is in his second year of college. What is the message I am to convey to him? Forget about getting a job in Vermont. Look out for ONLY yourself.

No wonder all of our young people have to work in another state after graduating college. Why is it that our state, which is ranked 13th in the country for new businesses per capita, not able to offer citizens a “decent paying job”? There are many, many qualified people that want to work but why does one have to “jump through hoops” to get a job?

And before you think “but not in my town,” 80 percent of these experiences were with Middlebury/Addison County businesses. Businesses that others and I support. Businesses that profess they support their community. I think not.

James Rowe

Middlebury

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