Thursday, July 16, 2015

Internet Provides A New Way for Human Resources to Confuse Victims

When I first worked for a large corporation, I had a very benign view of Human Resources.  I assumed that HR was there to help everybody get their job done in an organized and civil manner. Yes I was so naive that I believed that HR had the employee's and potential employee's welfare in mind as well as that of the corporation. Of course as years went by I realized that this was rarely so, and that HR was there first and foremost to protect the corporation and nothing else.

Nevertheless, in spite of our experience, most American's seem to have a very naive view of various elements of the HR process.  They believe, against all experience, that many HR mediated processes are fair, that there are rules to the game and that the game is not entirely crooked.   They believe that people only get fired for just cause, that everyone gets the same shot at opportunities, and that corporations work hard to get the best person for the job, not merely the one that has surface validity or who expresses the same corrupt values as the people they will work for.

Of course the reality is different.  And not all of these differences are necessarily bad.  For example, one reason that not everyone gets the same opportunities, is that for most people I know at a fairly senior level, their jobs are created for them, in some sense tailored to the person who is being hired.   That has often been the case for me in the past, and is very much the case for many friends who are further along in their career.  Of course one side effect of this is that not everyone gets the same opportunity.

Related to that is the phenomena where jobs are not listed until there is a candidate in mind, or that a job is listed but will not be filled, or that the real qualifications are not the ones that are listed, or that the job is listed for pro forma reasons only, or that the job opening(s) is/are created as a way of gathering data about one's competition.

The single biggest lie is that people get hired without having contacts at the company that hires them.  In other words, that it can be done anonymously via the internet, a cover letter and a resume. It turns out that there are people for whom this has occurred, but it is not very common in my experience.  Usually you need someone inside pulling for you.

But even if the above is all true, it is certainly not a new phenomenon.  All of these issues have existed for years and decades and maybe even longer.

But there is one part that is new.  It used to be that there was a job board that was never quite up to date, with job openings tacked to the wall.   Or a book of job openings at the corporation that was unwieldy and difficult to use.  But now all corporations have Internet job boards online and what is great about these job boards, which the potential job seeker is required to use, is that they, in my humble experience, are rarely up to date and often are just wrong.

For the last several years, I have at irregular intervals, and purely manually, reviewed the job boards for a series of companies that are on a select list. In some cases I am interested in jobs at that company, in some cases I am just interested in the kinds of jobs that they advertise and what skills they need. There are a variety of reasons for this research, if that is what it is, and one of the reasons is to see to what extent companies perceive computer animation as a desirable skill.

But for whatever reasons I do this, I have noticed the odd situation where jobs seem to appear or disappear on a daily basis. One day here, one day not here, and seemingly at random. At first I just thought that the job opening had been pulled, or was filled, or some other normal explanation.

But recently I had a very egregious situation and proved to myself that the job listing did exist, but only if you knew the correct term to search for.  If you just did a general search for all job openings, it might or might not appear.

In other words, the Internet has helped create a whole new dysfunction for Human Resources to exhibit: the database-backed web page that is broken.

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