Are Desperate Job Seekers Being Bamboozled?

For a long time now, job seekers who contacted recruitment agencies didn’t have to pay anything to be matched with jobs. Prospective employers were the ones who paid recruiters to interview candidates and provide them with people who would best match the job requirements. Now, however, websites have started to appear that charge candidates membership fees and offer access to prospective employers for free.

Such websites (and I’m not linking to any of them because their practices disgust me) are also completely dishonest. Here is how responsible recruiters at Pronexia explain why such websites should not be used:

Another thing that makes me sceptical is the site’s claim that the average salary of their members is $200,000+. A senior executive at that level should not be posting his or her resume on a job board. At that level, you should have made enough of a name for yourself to (a) have a solid network around you should you be looking for re-appointment and (b) be constantly solicited by headhunters. This makes me question the site’s target market. As a headhunter myself, I would not use the site’s services to look for senior-level candidates (free or not). I would have a very hard time understanding why they are paying for services of a job board.

The answer is simple: the creators of such websites are lying through their teeth to bamboozle desperate job seekers into paying membership fees for a useless service. Remember, if you are a job seeker who is working with a headhunter or a recruiter and you get asked to pay anything, this is probably a scam.

From what I hear, a great resource for non-academic job seekers is LinkedIn. There are some services on it that you pay for but the initial placement of your profile is free. Prospective employers are also a lot more likely to see you there than on some shady website that rips you off and offers nothing of value in return.

A New Disturbing Trend in Job Recruitment

My sister, known on this blog as “The Sister”, owns a job recruitment agency in Montreal. She tells me that there has appeared a new and very disturbing trend in the job recruitment process. On several occasions, she found a candidate who was a perfect fit for the job and who was really liked by the prospective employers. However, the employers added a new step to the job interview process: a personality test.

These personality tests consist of prefabricated sets of multiple-choice or yes or no questions that are extremely silly and pointless. Let me share a couple of examples with you.

“Do you agree with the statement ‘It’s a jungle out there, and everybody is out for themselves’?”

What is this, people? Who asks this idiotic kind of question of professional adults? What is the “right answer” supposed to be?

The following question was part of the “personality test” administered to a person applying for a managing position:

How would you describe your leadership style?

  1. Leading by example
  2. Leading by authority

Any leader worth his or her salt would be hard pressed to answer this question. Good leadership means you know how to adapt to a variety of situations instead of choosing one vaguely defined method and imposing it on every situation.

I have no idea why employers don’t trust their instincts as to whom to hire or don’t rely on the advice of professional recruiters. Instead, they rely on these meaningless questionnaires that, of course, will weed out all the good, self-respecting candidates with an ounce of independence and original thinking.

>Dr. Antonio Calvo’s Tragedy: Could It Have Been Avoided?

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What happened to Dr. Calvo who killed himself after being fired in a really nasty way by Princeton University is truly tragic. The question that, of necessity, is on everybody’s mind is what can be done to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future. At-will firing that is the norm in the US is a horrible, inhumane practice. People can be told to clear their work spaces and leave without any warning whatsoever. Often, they are escorted from the premises by security guards and prevented even from saying good-bye to their colleagues of many years. In academia, getting fired between the months of April and September also means that you will not be able to go on the job market until it reopens on September 15. Furthermore, you will not be able to start working until September of the year after that. People who are not US citizens face almost immediate deportation after their work visas are revoked. Obviously, this system implies a lot of pain and suffering for the employees. Workers have to live in a constant fear of dismissal which takes a huge emotional toll.
Unions seem to offer a solution to this issue. They will protect employees from getting kicked out with no warning. However, unions have their problems, too. As important as it is to protect the rights of the employees, it is equally crucial that employers are protected as well. Unions make it extremely hard to dismiss bad employees and reward the good ones. To give an example, the union prevented my department from offering a monetary reward to a stellar instructor on the grounds that every member of the union should be compensated equally. And all my whining about how hard it is to get students to speak Spanish in class? This issue would be easy to solve if it weren’t for the union.
It seems like the only productive solution to balancing the needs of both workers and employees is to have a disinterested third party that will impose a system of regulations to protect everybody. That third party has to be the government. Take Canada, for example. I’m not a complete and utter apologist of Canada, in any way or manner. However, it is evident to me that the way Canadians deal with the issue is quite productive. There is a system of regulations in place that outlines how, when and for what reasons an employee can be fired. People are also provided with a financial cushion that transforms the loss of a job from a tragedy into nothing more than an annoying temporary setback.
Contrary to Libertarian beliefs, this did not hamper Canadian job market in any way. Compared to what we see in the US today, the situation with employment in Canada is quite good.