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I just escaped a not-so-delightful period in my life: Unemployment.
It was extraordinarily trying on me, from rejection letters to boredom. I’m simply not meant to be doing nothing. I’m a doer. I like to bust nearly 100% of the time. And job hunting is a very unsettling world, filled with disappointment after disappointment. And despite the fact that it’s basically a full time job in and of itself, it doesn’t have any of the benefits of actual work.
And it pays far, far less.
No one who can change things is listening, to be sure. And even if they were, way too many people are too set in their ways. Nevertheless, I would like to propose four or so changes, concrete or otherwise, to the methods and systems of how institutions go about hiring new employees in Israel.
1) Time-Restricted Rejection Letters
One of the first things I noticed was how omnipresent were my rejection letters. I was getting rejection letters seven days a week, at literally any possible time of day. This was insanely unsettling. I felt like I couldn’t relax, because I was surrounded by rejection every single moment of my life.
I would like to suggest rejection letter hours. Obviously this is not something that could or necessarily should be legislated. But imagine a world in which all the companies knew and understood that rejection letters were only to be sent five days a week, from 10-11AM. It wouldn’t hurt the businesses at all, but would give an exceptional amount of peace to those hunting for jobs.
2) Speed Up the Hiring Process
Another thing that would make the world of the prospective employee significantly better would be a more streamlined system for hiring.
When I was in the States, I would go to an interview, and then I would either be hired or not hired. For my education jobs, it would often involve a model lesson as well. But as one of my favorite bosses along the way would say, “I can teach anyone how to be a teacher. But I can’t teach them enthusiasm, personality, and loyalty.”
And for this, you don’t need twelve interviews. One can totally be enough.
But for whatever reason, in Israel it’s this long, drawn-out process, whereby you first speak to a hiring manager, usually someone who doesn’t even work for the company. And then you progressively go up the rankings, until you’ve met with everyone from the CEO to the head janitor, they’ve checked 38 references, you’ve done a task that used up a good solid 30 hours of your time… and then they decide to go with someone else… or decide to restructure the department and no longer hire anyone at all.
I don’t think they’ll fully change this process, even if it’s convoluted, time consuming, and sends the message that the job isn’t really all that urgent. But at the very least, I think it should become a one-day affair. Bring someone into the office, have them go through a battery of interviews and tasks, and make the decision in one week, rather than one to two months.
It’s literally better for everyone involved.
3) Remember the Little People
Part of this comes with the third thing:
Prospective employers need to have a better understanding of the people they are interviewing.
It is a super tough job market out there, and Israel is ridiculously expensive. It’s not just the exorbitant rents or the outrageous taxes. There are countless things that sneak up on you constantly. So if you are out of work, that bank account is going to disappear in no time.
Imagine (not hard for me) working for 17 years straight, and still knowing that if the unemployment drags out long enough, your entire bank account will be completely gone.
In six months, everything you’ve attempted to build, can vanish in an instant.
What does this mean for the employer? We’re in pain and every second counts. You might need to take a day off, and that’s fine. And, of course, there are holidays and all sorts of other obligations that will inevitably get in the way.
But if you recognize that the person standing before you isn’t just another potential cog in the wheel of your company, but an actual human being who might be worried about how they’ll be feeding their kids soon, you’ll potentially look for solutions to streamline the process a bit quicker.
You don’t owe me anything. And no one’s forcing your hand. But it’s still the right and decent thing to do.
You need to learn to look at things through the eyes of the prospective employee and act accordingly. Yes, technically you hold all the cards. You have the power, and you have what they want. But that doesn’t take away your morality or your sense of fairness. I mean, do you really think your brand new employee is going to feel inherently loyal after you strung him along for a month just to hand over a contract?The person standing before you isn't just another potential cog in the wheel of your company, but an actual human being who might be worried about how they'll be feeding their kids soon. Click To Tweet
4) Rejection Letters… the Right Way
Finally, shore up the process of applications. And stop saying nonsense in rejection letters!
The vast majority of my application flops looked like this: I saw a job on LinkedIn that looked mildly interesting, definitely something I could do. So I clicked a button and tossed my resume that way.
Then I forgot about it and moved on.
Several days later or so I would get an email saying generic blah blah. We were impressed with you. But we’ve decided to go with another candidate. Please feel free to apply to other roles. We will keep you in our system in case anything matching your skillset opens up in the future.
And so on.
The first time you receive something like this, it feels a bit nice. At least they saw you. And they were impressed! And who knows, the chapter might not be closed yet.
The Truth about Rejection Letters
They never looked at your resume.
And you will never hear from them again.
They were not impressed by you, and your existence has fallen into the abyss. You have been forever forgotten by the company.
The chapter is 100% closed.
There is no reason for this. Any of this. There is nothing wrong with being brutally honest.
Don’t string people along and make them think there’s still a chance. It’s painful and ultimately harmful.
For sure, get back to people. The quicker, the better. Be blunt. Don’t lead people to believe the matter is still open. And better yet: Don’t pretend like you’re looking at resumes in the first place. Stop advertising your jobs on LinkedIn and just tell the world: We ain’t hiring anyone unless someone we know plops the resume down on our table.
Unemployment is miserable.
We’re all in this game together. One day I’m unemployed, the next day it might be you. There’s no reason to make the process any worse. Let’s all work together to make things better for everyone.