This article by Suzanne Lucas, aka Evil HR Lady, dropped into my inbox this morning. I started to write a comment, but as sometimes happens, it turned into a blog post.
Go ahead, read it. I’ll wait.
Unfortunately, situations like this one are very common. I was unemployed before the pandemic, and it’s like running the gauntlet. I’ve filled out hundreds of applications and written a stack of cover letters.
Even without factoring in COVID, I’ve run into companies that do the following:
- Make candidates go through an entire process only to reveal at the end that the salary isn’t livable. Just tell us up front what the job pays, please.
- Want someone who will stay forever at $10 an hour (bahaha!).
- Ask for 3-5 years of experience for an entry-level job—at entry-level pay. I even saw one post expecting a fully certified PMP for $18 an hour. Good luck with that.
- Demand a degree for a job that doesn’t require one. This is a form of gatekeeping that disproportionately affects lower-income and minority candidates.
- Want candidates who have extensive experience with one particular software; nothing even remotely related will do even if the functions are exactly the same.
- Expect 24-hour availability for a part-time job, thus preventing you from getting another part-time job to make ends meet (retail and food service do this a lot).
- Refuse to consider anyone who’s unemployed. Hello, if I were employed, I wouldn’t NEED a job.
- Refuse to implement pandemic safety protocols for their employees and/or customers. One manager ranted at me when I showed up to the interview wearing a mask.
- Finally, one of the worst: expecting candidates to prepare for an interview, sometimes more than one, and then ghosting them. And no, you don’t get a pass for sending me a rejection email five months later.
Candidates should not ghost employers, either; it’s rude no matter what. If you don’t want the job or you change your mind after being hired, let the manager know like a damn adult. But I would bet money this is not anywhere near as prevalent as employers blowing off candidates. The pandemic pulled back the curtain on the many flaws and deep-seated inequities in how hiring and labor works in the U.S.
It’s not totally hopeless. People do find jobs after long periods of unemployment. Good employers exist. For the rest, the pressure is on to improve. To get and keep good employees, companies are going to have to step up their game.
Part of that includes looking out for the health and safety of their employees. The Biden administration has implemented a vaccine mandate (pending as of this writing) for employers with 100 or more workers. A smaller company would be wise to do this too, as well as keeping remote accommodations in place for disabled workers, particularly those who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons.
Because yes, we are judging you. Viruses aren’t capable of caring to which party you pledge your allegiance. They’re only interested in getting into your nose.
The only thing we can do is keep trying. It helps that I’ve earned a project management certification and indie published three books. This shows I haven’t been idle. Fiction writing is work, and I’ve had to learn how to use graphics and video editing software on my own. Even if you haven’t done these things, you deserve a good job with an employer who will treat you with dignity and fairness.
It may be rough, but even a bad storm will pass. We’ll get through it. Hang in there.
Comments are turned off for this post because I don’t want to get into a vaccine debate with y’all. Go somewhere else for that.