The Inhumanity Of Hunting

Posted by on Oct 25, 2010 in Leadership, Life | 10 Comments

Job hunting, that is.

At least with “real” hunting, humans are generally the hunters, not the hunted. But when it comes to looking for work, unfortunately, the whole process is more like being the one getting shot.

I suspect it’s been this way for many years and is only getting worse, but especially in the challenging marketplace of today, trying to find work is a completely dehumanizing experience. It’s emotionally and physically draining, and if you haven’t experienced it, I recommend doing two things:

  1. Take a moment to say “Thanks,” and
  2. Prepare yourself for when your time arrives.

This is not a whiny post about how crappy it is to be unemployed, however. This is a post about what we can do about it.

I hear all sorts of conflicting reports about job creation. There are both reports of hope and tales of unbelievable horror, and because of this it’s hard to get a true picture of what’s really going on.

Here’s my thought: consider the “job market” like some kind of economic law of thermodynamics. Money, like energy, doesn’t ever really disappear; it has to go somewhere. But with the marketplace changing in such a tectonic way, it’s hard to know how to adapt.

The opportunity for reinventing how people get connected to jobs that fit their talents is a major challenge for us Revolutionaries. As you well know if you’ve experienced the inhumanity, or watched someone close to you go through it, the process the way it is now is utterly, ridiculously broken. It can’t be allowed to continue.

But what do we do about it?

I tend to think re-educating ourselves is always a great place to begin, so first I recommend people read as much as possible from futurist-type thinkers like Seth Godin and Umair Haque. Developing your personal brand is also a very good step. (In that vein, please read Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It if you haven’t yet!)

Obviously reinventing the whole process will take time, and is a rather large task (although I think we’re up for it!). But where do you think we should start? What will YOU do?

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What To Read Next: Unemployment, Greed, & Hope

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10 Comments

  1. Jim Seybert
    October 25, 2010

    The dehumanization would be relatively easy to mitigate if folks in the hiring position would exercise the courtesies they were taught in Kindergarten.

    My daughter went through the frustration of job hunting (made worse by being her FIRST hunt) and was blown away by the way nearly all hiring officers would simply not even acknowledge her application, return phone calls when promised and generally treated applicants as a bother – rather than seeing potential for greatness.

    One HR professional made the excuse that, “since there are SO many people looking for work, we simply can’t respond to everyone.”

    OK – that may be true (although I think there are ways to work around the crush) but the response came from an attitude of them doing the applicant a favor – when they should be looking at the process as a way to find the VERY BEST person to fill their slot(s).

    Treating people like flotsam is a good way to make sure the one you finally do hire is NOT the best candidate, but merely the most patient.

    Reply
  2. Josh Allan Dykstra
    October 25, 2010

    I hear you, Jim! Reminding ourselves to follow basic human courtesies would be a great place to start.

    Like so many of the societal challenges we have to deal with, this is a complex one with many layers. As you’re implying, there’s a “system” problem in addition to a “people” problem, and they are feeding each other. The recruiters are crushed by the weight of outdated systems that overload them with too many resumes which causes them to be less human in the way they respond to applicants. It’s a deadly cycle, and unless we work on both sides, I fear nothing’s going to change much.

    Reply
  3. Scott Asai
    October 25, 2010

    I like the idea of being a farmer instead of a hunter. Imagine yourself planting seeds as you build new relationships and make sure you water the ones you’ve already established. Growth is not an option if you want to succeed, it’s a requirement. It shouldn’t be a chore, but something you look forward to because you ultimately want to be the best at your craft. There’s much to do when things seem to be “stagnant.” If you don’t prepare for your opportunity, then when it arises it will pass you up!

    Reply
  4. Tweets that mention The Inhumanity Of Hunting | Josh Allan Dykstra -- Topsy.com
    October 25, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kim Bidwell, Josh Allan Dykstra. Josh Allan Dykstra said: We know that "job hunting" is inhumane and toxic. But what do we do about it? http://wp.me/p9H4b-3x #addyourideas […]

    Reply
  5. Josh Allan Dykstra
    October 26, 2010

    That’s a great metaphor, Scott — I’ve heard these dual roles applied to people in sales positions, but never thought of using it to describe the job search process! (Which is strange, considering we’re basically just “selling” ourselves.) Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Michael Dvorscak
    November 22, 2010

    Jim’s comment really resonated with me. I am currently in the “job hunt” mode. Like so many others, I have the same feelings about the process such as it is a waste of time, occasional hopelessness, and so on. Being in the “job hunt” mode and having time to reflect. A few things are becoming apparent to me.

    First, when in this mode it is important to do little things that are good for you (e.g. exercise, eat a little healthier, reflect, and take time to reinvest in yourself.)

    Second, technology such as online applications has reduced the barriers to applying for position. This means that in theory, I can apply for more positions at a greater rate. Logically, I assume other job hunters are doing the same. From this theory comes a few (important) assumptions. First, job hunters are applying where there are minimal barriers. So, those organizations that have online applications are getting flooded with applicants. Second, Job hunters are using the same techniques of sending application after application and watching their in box.

    I have been utilizing these techniques and with very minimal success. Minimal success being defined as two interviews. In broad terms, this is analogous to over-hunting a certain area with the same tired techniques.

    Perhaps it is time to start break with job hunting convention. The reactive masturbatory task of sending application and waiting does not work.

    Reply
  7. Josh Allan Dykstra
    November 22, 2010

    Hey Michael, great points about over-hunting… I think you’re really on to something with that. Time to break out the creativity!

    Reply
  8. Michael Dvorscak
    November 28, 2010

    @josh, of course creativity in a job search may not be rewarded. Fear of not getting an interview or even getting hired may prevent job hunters from getting creative and using unorthodox techniques.

    Thinking more on creativity in a job hunt, I would venture to say that it may be rewarded in start-ups, technology companies, smaller organizations, and those with less bureaucracy.

    The type of position would matter too. For example, I would guess that creativity would be more likely to be rewarded for sales position than it would be for someone looking to work in state government.

    The next step for someone in the job hunt would be to identify techniques and possible firms.

    Reply
  9. Josh Allan Dykstra
    November 29, 2010

    Hey Michael,

    You are certainly correct — the technique used should match up with the job desired. But a usage of creativity within those parameters (whatever they may be) will almost certainly garner more attention than something that is bland or even “normal.”

    This is also part of what makes the world we’re transitioning to SO exciting.

    For a long time, the goal of most people was to get a job where people were simply interchangeable, like machine parts. This philosophy isn’t really working anymore, particularly in any kind of work that requires any kind of critical thinking or imagination — which is, of course, what most of our jobs in America are becoming.

    Now and in the future, uniqueness and creativity are actually the things that will be MOST needed in the workplace, and individuals will start to be rewarded for having a strong and well-informed personal brand. In the more progressive industries you mention this is already happening, but (thankfully) it is coming for everyone!

    Reply
  10. Josh Allan Dykstra
    December 18, 2010

    Michael Dvorscak just sent me a great link to an article about how much time recruiters spend looking at an individual resume (10-20 seconds), and more importantly, how they do it and what they are looking for. It’s quite an informative breakdown — check it out here. (Thanks Michael.)

    Reply

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