Literally, 10 minutes ago, I was on LinkedIn after getting an email with jobs I may be interested in. I scrolled and noticed a position for a “Complaint Writer.” I read the job description carefully. Basically, when customers complain, the Complaint Writer is the one who writes the nice professional letter explaining the outcome of the complaint and its accompanying reasons. Sounds easy and frankly, as a writer, when you can find a staff position with benefits, you’ll write about jelly beans all day if you have to.
Anywho, I get to the requirements and at the very end of the list is the requirement to know how to do v-lookups and pivot tables. Now, most of us hate Excel. I don’t particularly like Excel because I feel like it’s not catching up with the rest of us in terms of usability. At this point, v-lookup and pivot table should be two buttons you can push and not some apocalyptic formula you have to know and input. Further, I’ve had a job where I had to only work in Excel and do that v-lookup shit (which I learned at that job and immediately forgot after that job) and that job was strictly numbers. I don’t understand why I need to know v-lookups and pivot tables to write people letters about the status of their complaints.
This got me thinking: it’s time for employers to stop these nonsense pre-employment behaviors. It seems like after the recession in 2007/2008, every employer decided that they were actually doing nuclear fission and that they needed to construct some high and mighty image when none of the positions they are hiring for actually merit them.
So, here’s my list of the shit that I want employers to stop doing in 2020.
1. Ridiculous requirements: As I mentioned earlier, it’s time for employers to stop requiring skills and background that are not relevant to the position. We’ve seen far too many companies wanting someone with a 4-year degree while only paying $17.00/hr. If the position that you’re hiring for only pays $17/hr., then trust me, a 4-year degree isn’t necessary. I have two master’s degrees. When I see a job listing that requests that level of education, I presume that the knowledge needed to execute the position well is such that one will need higher education and the salary is commensurate with that knowledge. If the job only pays $17/hr., what you’re wanting people to do ain’t that special nor hard, tbqh.
2. Phone screens: I don’t know when it happened but this need to have applicants talk to three people on three separate occasions before you call them in for a real interview is ridiculous. In my experience, all three people ask the same thing in a different way and being the stable earth sign that I am, my answers don’t change. What I also notice is that there is often a level of disorganization present. It seems that one hand doesn’t know what the other five are doing. It feels like a popularity contest in which, instead of seeing if a candidate is qualified, it’s really more like, “I like him/her. See if you do too; then, see if Chad does too.” What a waste of time!
3. Working interviews: Here’s the scenario: you’re called in for an interview and the questions are normal at first and get more and more specific until you realize that they are presenting you with actual problems they have and are asking you to solve them…in the interview…for free. I don’t participate in those because I see it as an underhanded way to get free labor from people who likely won’t be hired. Being a Black woman, I have to be especially careful about employers trying to use my intellectual labor without compensation; and that’s after being hired. There’s no way I’m going to let an interviewer turn me into an employment side-chick giving them what they need only for them to not commit.
4. Catchall job listings: People are trying to shape careers. This is why I find it highly irritating when employers post a job title that is very specific and when you start reading the post, you find out that they really just want someone to occupy all the other positions they can’t afford to hire different people for. It started out as a “Junior Communications Representative” and by the time you get to the end of the job description, you find out that you’re really a secretary whom they want to be able to also write flawless press releases, speak to the media on the company’s behalf, answer phones, take messages, travel to job fairs, and be on-call on the weekends. But of course, you’ll be making a secretary’s salary. I won’t start on the abusive “other duties as assigned.”
5. Offering shitty insurance plans: You can either pay $20/month for your insurance but have a $7,500 deductible when all they are paying you is $40k/yr so that when you fall ill or need a serious surgery, you can’t pay for it anyway OR you can pay $800/month for your insurance when your net pay each month is only $2500 once your insurance is deducted, Uncle Sam gets his, your retirement is accounted for, etc. Insurance rates have risen damn near 70% while wages have risen less than 30%. Let’s not.
6. Employee “appreciation” that doesn’t involve money: As far as I’m concerned, since the recession, the only way to appreciate an employee is money. Point blank. People wake up before dawn, sit through hellish traffic, put wear and tear on their vehicles and bodies, put up with corporate b & b (bullshit and bureaucracy) for 8-10 hours, get back in hellish traffic, and come home long enough to eat, workout, tend to their family, and go to sleep so they can do it all over the next day. Keep your pizza party. I can go bowling with people I like. There are enough streaming services to not need free movie tickets. You want to let me know you appreciate my hard work? PAY!