Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

The day I fired CareerBuilder

There comes a point when you have someone working for you – or pretending to work for you – when you just can’t take it anymore.

And when that “employee” is a job-search Web site, there comes a time when you just have to terminate it – with extreme prejudice. Remove your resume, delete your profile, dump its shortcut in the computer’s “Trash” or “Recycle” bin (then empty it) and decide that there are better uses for your time.

Seeing a job posting for a career fair on CareerBuilder, I clicked on it and saw that there’s one in Tampa in early February. The list of companies looking for “workers” is not really overwhelming: one is a pest control company, and the other is a multi-level marketing company in the financial services field.

Something in me snapped. Ten minutes later, my life was free of CareerBuilder.

Sometimes you have to let go. After yet another day of searching for love, romance, something on dating Web sites, I did a clean sweep some time back. No woman in her right mind would go out with me: I’m not on drugs, not in recovery from drugs or credit card debt, and have no police record. That adds up to BORING!

I don’t blame women for rejecting me since I’m now also unemployed.

There are job Web sites that are on the level, and they’re in my career field, journalism. Otherwise, the rest (Monster.com, Craigslist, the state of Florida’s online job board) aren’t worth the pee in my cats’ litter boxes.

You see, there are rules to the job search game, and unfortunately the game is stacked against the job supplicant. The economic dice are loaded against us right now, with more entering the ranks of the unemployed every day, and employers know it and use it to smash our will and dignity.

For example, The Wall Street Journal recently had a front-page story on Unicru, a company that devises those devilish psychological tests you have to take when you apply for a minimum-wage job. (“Job Test Spawns Culture of Cheating”) Those of us who don’t “pass,” and there’s no way to know which answers are “right,” don’t get our information sent onward. So jobs that were once easy to find for anyone with some education and intelligence are now behind a giant wall.

Unicru acts like it’s the savior of American capitalism, but I say it’s a Trojan horse that can destroy retailing as stores find themselves with job candidates who test well but are incompetent. It’s cheating when regular people do it; it’s just part of doing business when businesses do it.

The companies don’t care because they consider low-level workers to be little more than animals anyway, and those of us who are economically challenged right now probably will never buy anything from them again.

Unicru personnel, who I bet didn’t have to take their absurd tests to get their jobs, acted offended that people might try to discover the “right” answers to beat their test and get back on their feet economically.

The thing that frustrates me about the whole job search thing is that I am willing to be honest and forthright about my past work experience, skills (and lack thereof) and everything else, but companies posting jobs can lie about everything and still get away with it, and pat themselves on the back about how “principled” they are.

For example, multi-level marketing companies posting jobs on Monster.com and CareerBuilder routinely make sure that prospective salaries and benefits are listed, and hide their postings behind job titles that are not the actual jobs. They know that if they told the truth, no one would fall for their fake ads.

Monster and CareerBuilder let it happen because the MLMs pay well for their postings. So what if there are 40 or so identically worded job ads in a row? One way the companies get around that is to post each job as if it were in a different municipality.

Now, if I lied about myself, my skills or my experience, I would be considered a bad person and someone with low morals and no values. But somehow, it’s OK to lie if you’re an employer.

I actually landed an interview for one job, and started asking questions about benefits. The interviewer confessed that while the ad touted full-time jobs with benefits, the job on offer was actually a part-time job with no benefits. So why the lie in the ad? “To bring in better-quality applicants.” At least he was honest about that.

So why don’t the newspapers blast the news to the high heavens that Monster.com and CareerBuilder are posting bogus job ads? One commenter on a story in a newspaper in the Northeast noted that newspapers have deals with one or the other. It’s one thing to write about all the job scams on Craigslist, because they have no agreements with Craigslist. Start saying that your business partner on job ads is letting scam artists run wild, and a source of revenue may vanish in a flash, and newspapers would have to go back to running their own classified jobs sections or ship them to India.

I’ve learned a lot in the past few months about the indignities of looking for a job and being rejected. It’s not fun, and if things don’t turn around soon, it’ll be even worse.

If you’re looking for honesty and hope in today’s world, those job boards are barren.

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January 9, 2009 - Posted by | The jobless chronicles | , , , , , , , , , ,

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