What bad employers do: Treating job applicants and the unemployed like dirt

Finding a job in these recessionary times is hard enough, but what happens when employers decide to rub a little salt into the wound?

Don’t call us, we won’t call you

Katie Johnston Chase reports for the Boston Globe on the practice of employers treating job seekers shabbily (link here):

As their searches for employment stretch on, some job seekers are getting a rude awakening from the companies they apply to. Nearly a third of the executives surveyed online by search firm Korn/Ferry International said candidates aren’t being treated respectfully by prospective employers.

One of the most common complaints, adds Chase, is that “companies disappear in the middle of the hiring process, failing to let applicants know they didn’t get the job, even after multiple interviews.”

Refusing to hire the unemployed

Some of America’s less-than-wonderful employers (and staffing agencies, too) are refusing to hire the unemployed, even to the point of listing current employment as a requirement in job announcements. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces workplace discrimination laws, recently held hearings on this emerging phenomenon (link here) in light of possible discriminatory impact on older workers, women, and people of color.

For example, University of Colorado law professor Helen Norton was among those who testified:

(E)mployers and staffing agencies have publicly advertised jobs in fields ranging from electronic engineers to restaurant and grocery managers to mortgage underwriters with the explicit restriction that only currently employed candidates will be considered. “Some employers may use current employment as a signal of quality job performance,” Norton testified. “But such a correlation is decidedly weak. A blanket reliance on current employment serves as a poor proxy for successful job performance.”

Can’t find work? Too bad…at least if you’re in Michigan

It’s not just lousy employers who are out to punish the unemployed. At a time when there are not enough jobs to go around — let alone jobs that pay living wages — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder enthusiastically signed into law a six-week reduction in unemployment benefits for those without work, claiming this will spur job growth by minimizing the unemployment tax burden on employers.

Kick ’em while they’re down

These dots connect. It’s all about kicking people while they’re down. It’s part of a culture of cruelty — or at least pathological insensitivity — towards those who could use some respect, a helping hand, and hopefully a job.

5 responses

  1. The thing that has surprised me the most is the agencies. I’m convinced they make up job postings just to get you to sign with their agency — then you never hear from them again.

    They are so complimentary of your resume, your experience, your test results — then all of a sudden — you’re not even worthy of a follow-up email.

    Their non-customer service is so short-sighted that it boggles the mind — not to mention the disrespect involved.

  2. Wow…great article. I’ve never really been “cozy” with the Work Environment. Work Environments change people. You see their ugly side. It also changes the dynamics of how people relate to each other. Again…the ugly side of culture seems to thrive. But I’ve worked for some freakin awesome companies where the Work Environment is healthy. It’s just unfortunate that today it’s worse than ever. And…I feel like it’s completely unnecessary. I.E….with just a little effort & support Work Environments could be completely different. Thanks Dr. Yamada!

  3. Dr. Yamada,

    This is so true! Make sure to fight back by rating dirt bag hiring managers on eBossWatch.com and warn others.


  4. Mary — I appreciate your mentioning the hiring agency experience. It’s something I barely touched upon in the article.

    Paul — Yes, we need to recognize the qualities that make some companies especially good. I don’t know how easy it is to replicate that success, but it’s worth trying.

    Greg — Thanks for reminding us of eBossWatch!

  5. I work for a dirt bag employer,he works us for a few months then lays us off so he doesn’t have to pay benefits.A lot of these temp agency’s pull the same crap…He claims when we come back from layoff that we are a re-hire.I have six years in this place ….. because I like this type of work……Jobs are hard to find now days,but it does pay ok when we get re-hired.He basically lies to unemployment compensation…I believe if we are a re-hire we are basically fired…correct me if i am wrong…

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