Monday, August 4, 2014

Malaise in the Market

During the past 10 years, but more so since the economic slow-down occurring since 2009, I have been observing the strangest of trends; on one hand, I hear people lamenting their lack of success in finding a good job. Meanwhile, I hear company managers complaining they are having difficulty finding people for key positions. Now at face value, this sounds odd and contradictory. But I’ve identified an underlying issue and cause, when each side tells me how hard they are trying and, indeed, they feel convinced they are expending energy. However, I am not convinced of the veracity of their claims because I see something else, another trend permeating both employment and business sectors. Indeed, the job market in general is more stagnant, no doubt, but there is something else happening that I think is making matters worse than they need to be. Malaise is permeating the business world, affecting scores of previously productive individuals – and it is spreading.
More and more, people in general but, more specific to our focus here, job seekers and hiring managers are relying too much on the internet and virtual methods and are disengaging from their personal and professional responsibilities. Yes, I know there are people who will dismiss my claim but, frankly, I see a lot of once effective and productive people turn into near worthless lumps, mere shadows of their former selves. Sure, they will protest it is not true but everywhere people are opting for indirect participation, as many processes which, in order to be effective, require the participation they are choosing to avoid.
So what am I really getting at? Let me be blunt, too many job seekers who drone on and on about how hard they are trying and how difficult the job market is, have in fact become lazy and they put more effort into avoidance or making excuses than they do making actual efforts. Meanwhile, on the other side, hiring managers complain they can’t find qualified candidates because someone else failed to send them any resumes worthy of consideration. And those resumes were collected from online job posts. So my question is, is there anybody actually doing anything, or just talking about all they are doing, or not doing? Because what I see from my own unique perspective, is a massive trend of disengagement – and for all the wrong reasons. So why would anyone disengage from the processes with which they should logically be most engaged and hands-on?
How bad is it? Job seekers to whom I speak increasingly find my suggestions of actually picking up the telephone and doing what is necessary to identify and find the hiring manager, in order to arrange to meet them in person, as somehow waaay beyond what is reasonable. This is just plain sad and shows the depths to which people have been reduced. But of course they are not alone in their dysfunction; consider hiring managers who claim hiring is a priority, but in the same breath tell me they don’t have time to interview or lament it takes up so much of their time.
Which then brings us to what they expect for their half-hearted and hollowed-out activities; they are actually stunned and surprised when they don’t get the results they are convinced should materialize. Imagine when I listen and politely let them explain the degree to which they labor so hard and then, when it’s my turn, I inform them they are in reality doing nearly nothing -- the looks on people’s faces are priceless as I shatter their illusion.
So whether it is malaise, lethargy, atrophy or the illusion of self-importance; regardless of whether you are a job seeker or a hiring manager, if getting hired or hiring is the objective, please, no excuses and stop BS’g and lying to yourself and others. It’s time to remove your head from the fourth point of contact (now there’s a riddle for you) and get serious. For those who are genuinely interested in improving their chances, spend more time on your interactive interviewing skills; a good resume is important but it is only meant to get your foot in the door – beyond that it’s only important to the paper shufflers. Commit to do more than you are doing, set goals and deadlines -- you know, the things decisive people do; the same kinds of people others want to hire and work for.

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