As we stand on the cusp of a new year, many individuals find themselves contemplating a fresh start in their careers. Whether spurred by a desire for growth, a change of scenery, or unforeseen circumstances, embarking on a job search is a journey that demands resilience and self-awareness. I could sugarcoat the truth and promise you that this process will be fun or easy, but the reality is, its often unkind and feels like a relentless slog.
It might feel like your resume goes into a black hole. Or maybe you never hear back on the status of your candidacy. Perhaps you’re disheartened when you see hundreds of people have already applied for a role on LinkedIn. Or you’ve finally found that perfect-fit job, but you can’t even get a prescreening interview. All this leaves job seekers feeling defeated, demoralized, devalued, and sometimes lonely.
Gaining insight into the job search process can help you navigate the highs and lows of job search over the coming weeks and months.
Understanding the hiring process from the other side
In the pursuit of efficiency, organizations have introduced various systems to streamline both the application and initial review processes. While these systems aim to simplify the hiring process, they inadvertently create more layers between the applicant and the organization. When an AI-driven talent acquisition system is the primary interface between the applicant and organization, there aren’t opportunities for person-to-person connections which makes the process feel dehumanizing.
Communication regarding the status of your application is often lacking, inconsistent, or driven by an applicant portal or profile. Job seekers frequently find themselves in the dark about their application status, leading to uncertainty and frustration. Investing significant time and energy into an application only to be met with silence disrupts the balance between effort expended and acknowledgment received.
The post-interview silence
After an interview, candidates want the common courtesy of status updates. Feedback and status updates are far from a given in the process. Job seekers are often left wondering about their standing in the hiring process, fostering a sense of doubt and disconnection. This lack of transparency, intentional or not, diminishes the humanity in the hiring process and leaves candidates feeling like mere cogs in a machine.
Networking is a crucial aspect of the job search, however even though is it based on relationships and connecting with others, it too can feel frustrating. Mustering the courage to reach out for advice or opportunities in itself is scary. Being ghosted, without a return call or message, intensifies feelings of vulnerability in an already challenging process. When you hear nothing in return, it can be difficult to persist in your outreach and connection efforts.
Coping mechanisms contributing to a dehumanizing process
To navigate the job search process, job seekers often resort to hyper-focusing on keywords and conforming to rigid application processes. This approach leaves applicants feeling like a set of skills rather than holistic professionals with something meaningful to contribute.
Organizations want to genuinely hire good people, but over time humanity has given way to efficiency. I wish, as a career coach, I could change the process. Instead, I want to take the opportunity to inform and prepare clients for what they will encounter. The job search process can be difficult and unkind, but it isn’t a reflection of one’s capabilities, experience, or abilities. Recognizing it for what it is—an imperfect and unkind system—is essential. It’s crucial to understand that the intent behind these mechanisms is not malicious; rather, it is an attempt to improve efficiency. Because there is always more to do; systems and processes help streamline.
Acknowledging the flaws in the system serves as an argument for the importance of networking. Networking allows individuals to connect on a human level, fostering relationships that can transcend the depersonalizing aspects of the job search process.
As you contemplate entering the job market in the new year, arm yourself with the knowledge of what you’re getting into. Recognize depersonalization as a byproduct of an imperfect system, not a reflection of your worth. Approach the process from a place of strength and centeredness, leveraging the power of networking to inject humanity back into your job search journey. Remember, amidst the challenges, your value as a professional remains steadfast.