Job Search: Broken = Pain = Opportunity

When I got laid off I created a simple plan to land a better job quickly.

My plan failed.

What I didn’t realize is that the job search is broken, on every single level.

Job Seekers are broken because they don’t understand, and many times don’t want to understand, the process.  They just want the freaking job!  The problem with not understanding the process is that they then do things that seem to make sense, but really don’t.

The Recruiting world is broken.  Just head over to recruiting blogs to learn about all of their issues and topics they talk about.  I’d call it a mature industry, but they struggle with so many things it is clear there are still many wrinkles to iron out.  And, ask any job seeker what they think of recruiters – it usually isn’t good for two reasons:

  1. The job seeker doesn’t understand the role of a recruiter in their job search, and
  2. The recruiter has no time to follow-up with unpromising candidates, leaving them hanging, not providing even a sentence of counseling/coaching/encouragement/feedback.

HR is broken.  Why do you think every job counselor in the country says “AVOID HR!”  They are a mess. I’ve worked with them, and I know they have many issues.  Many times they don’t have a seat on the executive committee, and aren’t involved with strategy.  They are disregarded by the strategic thinkers, and are left to do a very, very important role without being properly funded, or empowered.  Also, just how much influence do they have in a hiring process?  Either way too much, without the right tools, or way too little, when hiring managers go around them.

The process hiring managers follow is broken, especially evidenced when they hire based on emotional input rather than seeking out the best candidate.  Their A-player employee strongly recommends someone?  Go with that, instead of equally weighing out all of the strongest candidates!  Yeah, that will last.

Job boards are broken. Typically, they don’t care about the job seeker, or the job search process.  Job seekers are transient users who pay nothing (leeches, maybe?).  They care about whoever at the hiring company is going to pay to have a job posting put up.  That’s why on some job boards you get contacted by “opportunities” that have NOTHING to do with what you have on your resume.

What else… there are other aspects of the whole process of what is broken.

What does this mean?

There is PAIN for job seekers (and for everyone else involved in the hiring process).  Some of it is very deep, personal pain.  Other pain is just work frustration.

There are OPPORTUNITIES to fix various parts of the puzzle.  I’ve seen people/companies come along that will fix a very specific issue, without really affecting the big picture, and I’ve seen people/companies try to fix the entire puzzle (which is really too big a problem to fix, imo).

Are you going to focus on the  PAIN or the OPPORTUNITIES?

3 thoughts on “Job Search: Broken = Pain = Opportunity”

  1. The job search is definitely broken, and the worst part is that so many of the key players are doing nothing to fix it. But what if people took the job search in a new direction?

    There’s a blog called No Shortage of Work that recently published a post about making a Farmville-like game for the job market: Jobsville. (

    Would people take this seriously? Would making a job search “fun” get people more enthusiastic about the job search (and helping others along the way)? I think so. And I think working together to find each other work is the first step to fixing what’s been broken for a long time.

  2. I keep going back and forth between pain and opportunity. I have convinced myself that paying a search site is not for me and the advice to chop off most of my resume to make it one page wasn’t wise either – I have over 20 years of experience. I’ve also spoken to a job coach about the “wow” factor of my resume. Most of my problem is that I don’t trust that anyone knows much more than I do. I always pick up something new on The Ladders, Execunet, and Careerbuilders. And, I’ve recently found another job-search site I like because it maintains my privacy and it’s free to register – It seems to be in beta form but recruiters are finding me easily. This is the second time in a year that I am job searching and I’m concerned with finding a good fit that will last.

  3. Hi,

    Great Post. You are right the whole thing is broken. I particularly liked your comments on the job seeker often not wanting to understand the process. They just want the job. That’s right and often times they just want a short cut to the job and spend valuable time doing ‘what’s easy’ and what feels productive rather than what is hard, feels uncomfortable and which will actually result in the outcome that they really want.


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