So as promised, this week I will be looking at my experience as a job seeker. I want to share my experiences and things that I have come across, while looking for a job. For me you need to also bear in mind that I am an expat, living in a different culture and using a second language. These things alone have thrown up some challenges that I didn’t really expect.
You know what amuses me? When job descriptions include the line; “photograph needed, application won’t be considered otherwise”. Well hello, so you’re trying to tell me even if someone’s skills, education and experience meet your needs you won’t consider them if you can’t judge their appearance?!?! Really! How wrong is that and it should actually be illegal. Talk about discrimination.
I sometimes feel like doing 2 fake applications with the same skills, experience, etc. Changing the names and photos. Using one of some kind of supermodel and another with some kind of caricature of an “ugly” person. I mean who the hell gives anyone, company, or person the right to judge you on your appearance. Don’t they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder anyway, meaning what is aesthetically pleasing to my eye, might not be for you.
Then when the inevitable happened and the supermodel was selected for interview, I’d rock up and greet the interviewer with, “I’m sorry, had I known you and your company looked this way I would have never accepted your interview.” If they replied with “Well you don’t look like your photo I would just turn and leave with the parting shot “You gotta love a filter”. This is the thing with filters, they exist in all areas of life. We are constantly editing, filtering and enhancing parts of our lives, to satisfy others more than ourselves mostly.
I also hate that you now have to put your age and date of birth in your CV, I am not your “normal”, “stereotypical” 37 year old. I don’t look like fossil ( for you 17 year old recruiters, who are shocked and even tell me they are, when they see me). People will defend this and say it has to do with how much experience you have, which is a load of bullshit in my humble opinion. It is yet another tool to filter through the applications based on cost to the company.
I also don’t have kids, which by the way that is never really asked to a guy of my age, but is deemed ok to ask me. I have to then justify why I don’t have kids and then the next great question, “But what about in the future, will you want to have children later?” Well no, I don’t want kids, I know this is alien to some people, but I don’t. However, I also don’t have a crystal ball to see into the future, so I don’t know 100%. Can you tell me if the male candidates were also asked this, “well no”. So unfair in my eyes.
I also have the added joy of turning up with the dreaded P (see older post) and then being looked at and spoken to like a leper. Yes people do turn you down for jobs based on this. Shame I can’t claim as being the disabled person some people assume I am, then I can write day and night and get funded for it!
So thanks for all of the judgemental, ageist and sexist people out there judging the applications in front of you. Broaden your minds. Focus on things that actually matter. It might do wonders for your company.