Limited menu and personal requests

Because I need to take care of my sick mother, I can’t keep my actual job. I’d like to find one where a flexible schedule is offered or work-life balance is valued. (…) Where can I find this option… on this job board… among the criteria I can use? (…) Doesn’t seem to exist.”

Job hunting isn’t something that every worker enjoys doing and looks forward to. Why? Because like dating, it is hard, stressful, exhausting, frustrating and depressing. In the worst cases, it is even humiliating.

Still, at times, like in the situation described above, we just can’t skip looking for a new job.

 

THE MOST POPULAR JOB SEARCH TOOL

One thing we wish for, then, is having an easy access to reliable sources of information and tools.

Job boards, classified ads, word of mouth and network referral groups (like a professional association) are the ones that people most often use. Over the phone or in-person information requests – to know if a company is looking for personnel – are also used but at a smaller scale.

Due in big part to the sheer number of available job positions they can provide, just in a few clicks, job boards are the most popular tool among job seekers. It doesn’t make the dire-boards the most efficient tool, though.

 

THE MAIN PROBLEM WITH JOB BOARDS

One big reason for this is: whatever job title you search for, the results all look very much the same. More specifically, there isn’t much difference in the content’s structure of each posting.

Meaning, you can spot the following sections in the vast majority of postings:

  • Summary of the position
  • Overview of the company you would work for
  • Detailed list of responsibilities or tasks
  • Requirements you must meet – in order to be considered as a potential candidate for that job
  • Some information about the compensation to expect, along the way with the social benefits offered by the company

How can you determine if the purpose of the company and its values are things you relate to and share? How is it possible to know if a flexible work-schedule is available or not, for a position you’d be interested in? What about the leadership style you can expect from the person who’d be your direct supervisor? Or the dynamic within the department or team you’d work in? Is it a collaborative or competitive (e.g. everyone for themselves) type of work environment?

This is the main problem with job boards: the limited number of criteria they give you to make a choice from.

It is also a constant source of frustration among job seekers, when using a job board.

Why?

Because we want to be able to find a job that is available by using criteria which are important to us. Not only based on the information that hiring companies and job board owners believe we need.

 

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION AVAILABLE

Like at a restaurant, how can you find what you really want if the information you need – to make your choice – doesn’t appear on the menu?

I’m looking for a company with a clear purpose. One other than “making a profit or maximizing the shareholders value”. Is there one on this list? I don’t see any “Purpose” section.

Having a menu with a broader range of items or criteria to choose from would be an ideal solution. Both at a restaurant, and on a job board.

Not necessarily to go down the rabbit hole of “my search is so narrow that I get zero results”. Rather, to be able to put at the top of the “sort results by” box the factors we want to prioritize over “distance” and “job type (permanent, contract, etc)” for instance.

Along this line of thoughts, there’s a far more practical solution than complaining or swearing for hours against job boards.

It’s to build your own list of characteristics that you find important for a job to have. On top of those that job boards already provide. The topics on your list can then be used to ask questions during a job interview. Or even better, in an “Information request” type of email you can send the HR department’s team of a company you’ve considered applying to.

When you take a step back, job boards’ problem isn’t the total of open positions they have. It’s the limited amount of information they give you to choose a job with.

On the flipside, because something like a manager’s leadership style doesn’t appear on a job description, it doesn’t mean this information doesn’t exist at all. Or that you can’t ask for it.

Your role, then, is to find a way to get the dire-information.

Trouble is, we don’t always have the words to say what we want. Learning to put a finger on what makes us say “I think this job interesting… I’ll apply for it” and answer “Why?” helps. To do what? Getting better at searching and finding the type of work that suits us better.

When you’re looking for a new job, what the type(s) of information you would like to see being included in job postings?

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Photo by: Alva Pratt

Design by: Di Mellon

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