From the BlogSubscribe Now

10 Things I Hate About Looking for Jobs


Applying for jobs is no fun, especially given our current economic climate. Why? Because if you’re looking for work, you’re either (1) unemployed, (2) unhappy in your current position, or (3) self-employed and panicking because something happened that dried up your main source of income (not that I would know personally or anything).

None of those situations are a cause for celebration, but the process of finding, applying to, and interviewing for jobs can kill the hopes of even the most optimistic job seekers. WHY does it have to be so complicated to find a place to work? Seriously, if you know, please fill me in.

Anyway, here are 10 things I despise when it comes to job searching, coming from my perspective as a searcher AND as a former manager:

Vague Job Listings

“We are looking for a motivated professional who is capable of performing a multitude of tasks as part of a multidisciplinary team in a fast-paced environment.” WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN? I wish that, just one time, a company would tell the truth: “You’re going to sit at a computer all day and input information into spreadsheets. You’ll also have to answer phone calls, and you’ll drive to our other office all the time because no one else wants to do it.”


I will never understand why it’s necessary to input all the information from my resume onto a separate form. Can’t hiring managers just look at my resume, or is that too much to ask? And those online import tools NEVER work – I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve almost submitted an application under the name “July 2008″ because the importer put everything in the wrong place. And does a potential employer really need to know the full address of my old high school? Are they planning to send a Christmas card?

Cover Letters

If employers want cover letters, they really need to tell applicants who will receive them. “To Whom It May Concern” is just awkward, and I really don’t think I should have to comb the internet to figure out the name of the hiring manager. If you’re looking for evidence of my research skills, just say so and I’ll start googling. Otherwise, is it necessary for me to spend time constructing a second resume in prose form? One that will likely never be read?

Ambiguous Updates, or Lack Thereof

It would be really awesome if companies told applicants what would happen next. “We’ll take applications until April 20th, then we’ll start calling people for interviews. If you don’t hear from us by the 8th, you weren’t selected for an interview. Don’t call or email us because that will automatically mark your application for the trash.” Wouldn’t that be better than, “Your application has been received,” followed by tons of people sitting around waiting for months? Even a form email stating that the position was filled would help.


Is it just me, or are job interviews the most pointless, fake experiences on the planet? You wear clothes you normally wouldn’t wear (unless you’re interviewing for a job at a bank or something). You give rehearsed answers to stupid questions like, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” or “Give us an example of a time when you overcame adversity.” You only see the side of the company they want you to see, and unless you’re a complete failure as an adult, that’s all the company gets from you.

Why can’t job interviews be real? I’d much rather someone stick me at a desk and say, “Here – type this letter while I watch,” than ask me if I’d be comfortable working at a computer. I’d much prefer being interrogated about whether I’ve ever showed up to work drunk to taking a “personality test.” JUST ASK ME THE QUESTIONS AND I WILL BE HONEST!

Unwritten Rules

If the application doesn’t contain X and Y buzzwords, toss it. If the person has had more than 4 jobs in 4 years, toss it. If the person graduated from State University instead of Expensive University, toss it. What’s up with that? Seems to me a company could save a lot of time and energy by being upfront about what type of candidate they want. Personally, I’d rather save MY time and energy if some element of my past automatically excludes me.

Internal Candidates

I know employers are required to post a job externally before they can fill it internally. I know they usually interview outside applicants “just to be sure.” But if you know you’re probably going to hire Leslie from Accounting, tell me that when you call so I know whether I should bother interviewing. “We have an internal candidate, but we’re interested in talking to others as well. Do you still want to schedule an interview?” Many people would say yes, but I wouldn’t. And I wouldn’t be mad about it, either. I’d be glad I could move on with my life.

Potential Employers Who Snoop

Have you seen this new thing where employers are asking for social media logins and passwords on job applications? Oh yes, if I want to work for minimum wage, I have to allow someone to access my Facebook and Twitter accounts – not just look at them, but go through anything from my private messages to my photos. Because clearly the things I do on my own time are relevant to the job. I could understand slightly more if I was going to run for President or some other really important job, but when the only jobs in my area are for truck drivers or tobacco workers, I’m not sure why it’s important for someone to read my Facebook wall timeline.

Conversations About Salary

There’s nothing I hate more than seeing “desired salary” on a job application. Everyone knows that the first person to come forward with a number loses. I also hate being asked about salary in an interview. Here’s a thought: What if interviewers said, out loud, what the pay range is and where they would start a person with your qualifications? That’s what I used to do when I interviewed people, and it was great. If the pay was too low, I didn’t go through the trouble of extending an offer (the pay was fixed, so I couldn’t negotiate). If the person seemed okay with the pay, I could get him/her drug tested and scheduled for orientation.

Status: Floating in the Abyss

The absolute worst part of searching for work is applying or interviewing, then hearing…. nothing. Your calls or emails aren’t returned, the position is still listed (or worse, re-listed), and you have no clue what went wrong. You don’t know whether to reapply in case your application was lost (since you never heard anything) or take it as a sign that you suck and no one wants to hire you. Or, even more stress-inducing, you have a great interview and the person says they’ll let you know something. BUT THEY DON’T LET YOU KNOW ANYTHING. Would it kill the person to send a quick email or something?

Job Searching Sucks!

I’ll probably never get an interview after this post, but I just can’t take it anymore. Was there ever a time when people could just apply for jobs and be hired without jumping through 500 flaming hoops? Things are bad enough right now for people in need of work – I think it’s time companies stopped making it so difficult for qualified people to get a job. I’ve only scratched the surface of the issues, but is it any wonder people think companies don’t really want to hire people?

Okay, stepping off my soapbox. What do you think? Am I being a drama queen? Do you perceive the same kinds of issues when it comes to finding a job? Got any interview horror stories?

About Andrea Whitmer

Andrea is a freelance web designer and single mom trying to maintain a sense of humor in an otherwise chaotic world. She blogs in hopes of helping others avoid the same mistakes she made in the past. Join in the discussion here on So Over This, or connect on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Google Plus. You can also subscribe to new posts via RSS so you never miss out!


  1. Yes! This is exactly what is so frustrating about searching for a job. I've been especially aggravated lately on how much time it takes to do an application because of #2 on your list. Seriously?!? Do these people need to take up so much of my time when chances are they aren't going to be interested in me anyway?

    • I'm the same way. I wish there was a quick "introductory application" you could fill out, then if they were interested you could spend the time to fill out the real one. Would be much easier!

  2. Agreed! Job searching is the worst… I'm hoping I don't have to do it again for awhile, or that when I do, I'll be the "internal candidate" getting in the way of everyone else.

    • I got to be the internal candidate once. Knocked out a guy who was pretty much guaranteed to get the job, and I felt bad. Especially once I started and the job sucked – I should have let him have it!

  3. I LOVE IT!! You said exactly what I was thinking when I was job hunting. I hope you don't mind but I linked this post on my blog (not that I have many readers).

  4. You are NOT being a drama queen, because I hate hate hate hate hate job searching. Okay, now maybe I'm being a drama queen but I don't care. I would rather carve my eyes out with a spork than job search. I've done soooo much of it over the past year, and it's torture .

  5. Pretty sure the horror of job searching is what keeps me in my terrible job. Searching is worse than what I'm dealing with. That seems unfair somehow.

    • I worked a job I despised for two years for the same reason. I did interview a few times, but I never found anything that wasn't just as bad as what I was already doing.

  6. Job seraching was horrible so if you are being a drama queen that means I was being a drama queen as well. I hated writing thank you emails and letters and then not hearing about the fact that someone was hired until I noticed that the advertisement went down.

    • Thank you letters are the worst. I always do them, because people say you should, but then when I don't hear anything, it's like, did I not use nice enough stationery? Is my handwriting too sloppy? Drives me insane.

  7. I understand having more complex hiring requirements for some career positions, but the crap you have to go through for part-time work is ridiculous. I think resume's should be the standard because they would actually show if you are competent enough to write a small paper about yourself. And yes, after the first interview, you should be told when to expect further correspondence. And I HATE that you cannot ask how much money you will be making – if they don't advertise it then whoever is hiring needs to present that information in the first interview.

    • I agree re: pay. It's unfair to make someone jump through a bunch of hoops without telling them how they'll be compensated. I remember going through multiple interviews for a job that only paid $30k a year, and I was making about $42k at the time. Total waste!

      • Grr, I had one when I was looking seven years ago (before I got the job I was just laid off from). It was for a receptionist position at a law firm. They didn’t tell me until two-thirds of the way through a second interview that it only paid minimum wage. They were not willing to negotiate for experience either; it was that or nothing. I politely told them no thank you.

  8. I've always wanted to fill out a bunch of applications just as a social experiment and list "desired salary" as "$2.5 million per year, negotiable." I mean, that's really my desired salary and I'm willing to negotiate, so it's not a lie. I assume their counter would be "$0, negotiable," in which case I'd offer to meet in the middle… :)

    Easy to do if you're not actually searching for a job though. If I were searching I'd focus on working connections through people I knew instead of filling out applications. It seems like a pretty rough process to be doing applications.

    There's also a growing trend to AVOID social media checks apparently. I guess there are a growing number of lawsuits by people who are ready to be hired and the company requests logins and then decides not to hire the person. If most of the things on their facebook page are things that show they have a "trait" that's protected so they sue because they claim the only reason they aren't being hired is because of that trait.

    • I might start doing that! It's not like I'm getting any response to my applications anyway, so maybe some eye-popping figure like that would at least get their attention. 😀

  9. Oh my gosh this brings back bad memories of my job hunt when I first graduated in 2009. It was a full-time job itself just looking for one. You had to spend money by paying for parking, using up all of your minutes on phone interviews, wasting gas by driving far for interviews, and all that fun stuff. I must have gone to 15 interviews, and 90% of those interviews were for jobs I didn't even want. It was just that I was trying to get a job. It's a lot of work and it sucks feeling judged by people. It took an toll on me emotionally too since you are always up and down with your feelings.

    Great post!

    • I was lucky to graduate in 2006, when jobs were everywhere and it was pretty easy to be hired. It still took me 6 months to find a job, but I only interviewed 3 or 4 times before I got one. It's a whole different universe now!

  10. Okay wait wait. I've heard about companies checking social network profiles of job candidates on the sly, but asking for LOGIN details point-blank as a requirement for the JOB??? That CANNOT be legal!! How can they do that? I smell a Supreme Court case in the next 3-5 years. Maybe sooner. Unreal.

    • Even Facebook is throwing a fit about it because it violates their TOS – you aren't supposed to let other people log into your account. I definitely think there will be some kind of legal ramifications, and there should be.

  11. One wy around these issues is networking. You bypass most of the game playing and you are in a much better position.

    • See, I think the opposite. To me, getting a job just because you know someone is a bigger game than trying to get one on your own merits. I don't want to be hired because of who I know; I want to be hired because of what I can do!

  12. My favorite thing to see on an application is "solves complex problems". WTF does that mean? I work in computers all day, so what seems trivial to me seems like rocket science to non-computer people.

    • Hahahaha, I've seen that before. Right up there with "ensures day to day operation." I wish I could take a class on deciphering job descriptions – would be like learning a foreign language!

  13. Alice @ Dont Debt says:

    I hate vague job postings, too. A friend of mine just quit a TERRIBLE job and when they posted it, I wanted to tell them that they should have put, "must be able to sit at the desk without a break for at least four hours at a time – and don't even think about potty breaks."

    One thing that I can say about cover letters (from the hiring perspective) is that if used effectively, it gives us an idea of why you are applying for a specific job. As an example, I'm in the process of hiring a part time employee. What I want them to tell me in that cover letter is that they are looking for part time employment for a specific reason and not just so that they can get a foot in the door.

    Updates, or lack thereof. I hate that, too. When I applied with my current employer there was a four month wait before I even got called for the interview. Another month before I was offered the job. It's red tape for the most part. It takes an ungodly amount of time to hire someone here. Post the job, has to be open for a set amount of time. Then HR has to send the log in information so that we can print the applications. Go through them and select who you want to interview. Submit list of names you'd like to interview. Wait for approval of list of names. Submit reasons why certain other people didn't get chosen for interview. Give each applicant a rating on a scale of 1-5 as to how qualified they are for the job. Finally get approval TO DO THE INTERVIEW. Call applicants to schedule interviews. Do interviews. Decide on the candidate. Submit name of candidate for approval. Wait. Get approval to offer job to candidate. Pray like there's no tomorrow that candidate didn't get another job during this whole process and call and actually offer the job to the chosen candidate. Trust me, it's frustrating from the hiring end, too.

    Internal candidates: wow. This is a terrible fact where I work. All areas are guilty of this. However, I will say that one time we had an internal candidate that seemed like a shoe-in for the position and she didn't get it. We had someone come in and knock our socks off in the interview and we couldn't imagine not hiring her.

    Interviews. Yep, they stink most of the time. It seems like most people who are doing interviews aren't trained properly on how to do them. I usually try to ask the person what their favorite parts of their last few jobs were. Then I ask them what their least favorite parts were. I want to know if they are going to love coming to work or hate it. I'll be honest with them if what they said they hate is what we're looking for someone to do.

    Sorry – didn't mean to write a novel in the comment section. It's that silly HR degree coming through. :)

    • Oh no, don't apologize! That's good information, and I will totally remember your HR background so I can bug you for tips!

      Cover letters bother me because companies never TELL the applicants what they want to know. If they mentioned, "Tell us why you're qualified for the position, your availability, and your reasons for applying," it would be a lot easier to include the things they want. But I know that's like asking for the moon!

  14. I hate it when job postings don't list the agency that is hiring and instead just put a P.O box or a newspaper id # or use a hiring agency. Why would I want to waste my time applying to a mystery company?!

    • OMG I hate that, too! I remember being scared it was my current employer and they'd be like, "Um, why are you trying to leave?"

      • One job listing I applied for a few months ago was this way.

        I thought I was going to work for this company, but as it turns out the job position itself was offered by another company who happened to use their facilities as part of the whole plan. I ended up getting declined, but why have to be anonymous until you get to the interview?

  15. Wow! This really hits home for me. I was unemployed last year and struggled for a while to find a job. It was exhausting, expensive (sunk deeper into debt) and depressing. 'Was finally hired right before Thanksgiving and am now frantically looking again because my job is in education. So come mid June I will no longer have a job and will not know about next school year until August!! In addition, as far as interviews they are totally ridiculous in many cases. I had an interview that was conducted by two people and they/it were terrible. I kept saying to myself during the interview "I really hope they don't hire me because I don't think I want this job!" AND I was desperate for employment! I found out later the person they chose was totally inept at meeting the expectations. The process usually sucks and I agree with your thoughts on the subject.

    • I've always been glad I don't work in the school system.. My brother-in-law is a teacher and my sister is a librarian – luckily he's a football coach, so his jobs are relatively secure, but my sister has been stuck in that summer limbo for the past few years. I don't think I could handle the stress!

      • One company, whom I will not name for specific reasons, gave me a bad hair day.

        They gave out a Hiring Event which I gladly attended. After a 10-minute interview I was told to do an entire application online. Well for one, why couldn’t they have just had us interviewees fill out an application right on the spot? Would of saved the trouble of weeding through several pages of company propaganda to get to the application page online. Also before the interview I was told to fill and turn in two sheets of paper regarding company values and such and such.

        Then a week later, after submitting many applications in my spare time, I was told to do another interview. Problem was, I forgotten all about submitting an application online, even though I had to spend half a hour to drive over to the hiring event, fill out two sheets of paper, and go through a 10-15 minute interview beforehand. After a quick check up I was automatically denied the interview because of no submitted application. The HR employee who told me this was Hispanic. Now a HR employee who can speak good English regardless of background or race is acceptable. Having a Hispanic guy being a HR employee who can’t speak good English at all is not.

        So how is it that someone with broken English gets a HR position and make good money out of it, whereas I struggle to even find a part-time minimum wage job despite being qualified and/or overqualified for these positions?

  16. I agree with all of these points! When I was looking for a job, I just assumed that I'd send out hundreds of resumes, fill out hundreds of pointless applications, tailor my cover letter to hundreds of different companies…and then never hear back from the majority. It's a really stupid system, in my opinion.

    • Agreed. There really needs to be a better way… I can't even find many jobs to apply for, but I'd like to think it wasn't a TOTAL waste of my time when I do apply for one. Yet I send in my stuff, I'm well qualified, and I hear nothing. Sigh.

  17. Interviews are like first dates. Dress up pretty, smile and flirt a bit, pretend to be extremely interested in everything they say, and hope they call you afterward.

  18. Teinegurl says:

    How about paying going to a "job fair" driving down there, getting a sitter, paying $3.00 for most companies at the job fair to tell you to apply online? Well why did i come here then?

    • Are you serious? That's crazy! Did they at least TALK to you about the job openings? I'd be mad as hell.

      • Been there done that.

        The best part is when you know these people representing their respectable companies don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.

        I also love it when those representing the Temp Agencies have no clue regarding who posted what job position, they just say “Apply online and see how well that goes for you”. These unnamed companies had to let the Temp Agencies know who they were right? I mean cmon are you kidding me?

  19. So with you on the application hatred. Read the damn resume!

  20. I agree with all of the above. But…. I would love to apply for a job. But alas those days for me are over. Okay I run two very busy small businesses. But sometimes I think wouldn't it be nice if I could just throw in the towel and work for the man. Then I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is rotate my ankles and pray for no charlie horse. Then my wrists and pray I have no horrible pain. Next I open a close my hands slowly and see which fingers will lock or not bend. This will determine how long it will take my to brush my teeth and hair. I pray to be presentable my 10 a.m. and it is getting harder. Okay so this prevents any early morning job. Maybe I could start at noon? I am still employable. Yeah and today I sewed about $100.00 worth of product by 4:30 I left for the studio late and I could not start the truck because I could not turn over the key. Husband had to come out and start it for me. Oh yeah I am employable alright. I just really don't want to be disabled or even take out a disability. Be grateful you can still look at an employer and be employed.

    • I feel for you, Kim. I know it must suck to have physical health issues getting in the way when you want to work. I admire you for striving to keep going, but I also think there is no shame in drawing disability for those who actually need it!

  21. The last job interview I went to was a group interview. All of us (4) were given an item and advised to sell it. But we could make stuff up like the object was a secret rocket-ship. I did really well because for the first time an interview played to my strengths. But I thought it was a strange way to do interviews. Because after the group interview the only other contact was a 12min over the phone interview. o.O??

    • That's pretty weird, but I'm so glad to read that you got the job! Actually, I think I would like an interview where I got to do something instead of just answering questions. Not a formal presentation, necessarily, because that's a little nerve-wracking, but something like selling a rocket ship would be pretty awesome.

  22. Drama Queen! :) kidding I cant really relate as last time I interviewed was when I got out of the marine corps back in '88 I think. I interviewed for 2 jobs and got them. first one was an entry level low on the totem pole. Second was a bit better for a technician position. I was then recruited for the next company and was with them for 20+ years till I went on my own.

    I was a manager and a department head at that company and had to do interviews and hiring and I can honestly say I never asked those dorky questions.

    Now self employed I do dread having to re enter the job market and there are times I fear that I would have to. Hoping neither of us does!

    • Oh, I hope I don't have to. You have no idea how much. Every time I fill out an application, I remember why I left my job in the first place!

  23. Edward Antrobus says:

    I absolutely hate those automated form systems that try to plug in your resume. I used to work at a place called Major Greenhouses (family owned, by a guy who's last name is Major). Those systems always enter it that I was a Major at a company called Greenhouses. Really? Oh yeah, after I had a military rank at "Greenhouses," maybe I could have been a "The"?

  24. I hate those bots that search for keywords more than anything. I'd love to see a study of their (in)effectiveness. Ridiculous!!!! And I agree, if the employers were more specific, they wouldn't get thousands of unqualified applicants & then have to come up with a bot.

    • Exactly! I think it would save everyone a LOT of time if they were very specific. "We want 3 years of experience in X. If you have 2 years, we might consider you, but don't apply if you have less than that." That would be SO helpful!!!

  25. Andrea, you always crack me up! "Are they going to send my high school a Christmas card?!" Haha – such a great point! I also hate when they don't tell you "to whom" you are writing the covor letter – can't they be a little friendlier? Good luck on the job search!

  26. Thank you for changing the comments form!!! I can comment now during the day:).

    I've been laid off twice in my post-college life and thrust into job-searching…and yes, it stinks. Even finding jobs that seem suitable and aren't for selling insurance was difficult for me to do those two times.

    Good luck with everything! What sort of position are you seeking?

    • I'm looking for anything at this point. Considering the fact that I got an email from CareerBuilder titled "new jobs in your area" and the spot for listings was blank, I can't afford to be too picky!

  27. I love this list. I loathe job searching and interviewing. As others have said networking is the best way to do it. It seems more and more companies these days, you have to know someone to even get looked at as a candidate.

    • I think that can be true, depending on the field. I know people in just about every agency within 75 miles, but other people do too since we've all worked together on various things. So it was never really an advantage for me unless one of my good friends was doing the hiring.

  28. You're so not being a drama queen!

    I have to say I agree with everything you've listed. As an external recruiter/headhunter, I HATE, HATE, HATE last minute internal candidates. It's a waste time and I don't see why companies post externally before posting and exhausting internal options.

    I'm also embarrassed to say that I rarely read cover letter, I want to get to the meat AKA the resume.

    The potential employers who snoop is something I recently heard about and can't believe is happening. Outrageous!

    Interview horrors? You probably meant from the interviewee's perspective, but I'll give you the other side… I had an interview last week where the candidate brought his 6-year-old daughter and another one who swore through the entire interview.

    • I remember getting a resume one time where the guy had an entire page dedicated to the things he liked doing with his kids. And while I can appreciate a dad who enjoys Legos and playing in the sandbox, I never did figure out how it was supposed to relate to the position. I also interviewed a guy I REALLY liked, only to have him ask me at the end, "Does it matter that I'm in DUI classes right now?" Um, yes….

  29. Excellent points.

    Our DS1 recently got a job with a bank and he went through an exhaustive selection procedure. At the final interview, where he was one of 6 out of about 100, he was asked if he had any questions and he asked a brilliant one – he asked the interviewer what did he like about working in this particular bank. What are the pluses and minuses.

    Because a job interview is a two-way process – you also need to see whether this employer is worth working for.

    • I totally agree! It's really hard to get a feel for a company based on an interview where they ask all the questions. I usually ask why the position is vacant – not that I really expect an honest answer, but I figure it's worth a shot.

  30. It's been interesting for me to go from job-hunting, to being in a position now where I (occasionally) interview people. When there are a bunch of applications, it sucks, but we're looking for reasons to weed people out – so stuff like typos or incorrect grammar become reasons not to even give someone an interview.

    All that being said, we want every person who walks through the door to be It – the perfect candidate. Otherwise, we'd have to keep looking! So, I think if applicants can harness that and make themselves appear as It, that would go a long way to convincing the interviewers!

    • Oh, I ALWAYS weeded people out based on grammar and spelling. To me, that's just common sense – if that's the best presentation you've got, I don't want to hire you. Even someone who can't spell for shit could get people to proofread a resume first.

      Re: the perfect candidate, I think it's hard for people to appear that way in interviews when the listings are so vague. If I knew what companies were looking for, I'd be much better able to pretend to be what they want. :)

      • People that don't have a command of the English language should not be weeded out automatically. I know a lot of smart people that know English as a second or a third language.

        • That’s a two-edged sword, Steve.

          Yes, it would be nice if we could cut all non-native English speakers that much slack. But: it’s almost as discriminatory to give non-native speakers that kind of edge as it would be to not do so. If you didn’t weed those out, native speakers would then cry– you just want to import some visa worker to save money!

          Additionally, you have to keep in mind that nowadays businesses need effective communicators as much (and sometimes more) than people who master the technical aspects of a given role. If a candidate can’t convey his/her thoughts effectively in the native language, what kinds of issues could occur?

          • That’s a true statement… I just read an article this weekend about how U.S. based companies are now bringing their call centers back from overseas. Effective communication is pivotal to sales, only a fool wouldn’t think so.

      • Here's the problem: You're never going to find the "perfect candidate". Ever. I repeat: You will never find "the perfect candidate." That perfect candidate does not exist. Even in the interview, if the person comes dressed in their Sunday best and sports a great smile and seems like "the perfect candidate", it is all a facade. There's a slight sliver of truth in their character, but 99% of the presentation is smoke and mirrors. The whole entire interview process is the biggest load of bull that's out there. The interviewee lies to the interviewer, trying to hide the imperfections that make him human, while the interviewer lies to the interviewee about the greatness and flawlessness of the company. Here's the thing: people have flaws. Can't we just get over this fact and acknowledge it without being judged so harshly by other people who… guess what… also have flaws??? Sorry, I'm venting. I'm expressing my contempt for humanity that's been brought on by the soul-sucking black hole of anonymity that is job hunting. I guess the most frustrating thing about losing your identity to job hunting (which you do do, because, according to HR, you're just a "little shit" …I mean pest), is all the niceties that they feel they have to go through. Give me a deadline. Tell me I didn't get the job. I'd rather have a rejection (aka ANSWER) than have my hope obliterated with words like "we'll be in touch next week". And I promise, if I didn't get the job, I wouldn't call you and inquire on if I got the job. If I knew I were rejected, I WOULD LEAVE YOU ALONE!!!!

  31. I agree about interviews. Some of the questions are predictable, and silly. My daughter went for an interview a few weeks ago, and when she came home she went through some of the questions she got asked. One was, "Where do you see yourself three years from now?" I immediately said "Sat in your seat." and my daughter said to me, "yes, although I gave a different answer, and my interviewer said my answer should have been exactly that." How did I know? The question, and 'correct' answer were predictable.

    • That question in particular drives me insane. I know I'm supposed to say, "I see myself here, working my ass off for this company for the same pay I was hired in at!" but how do I know that before I've even been hired? It's not like that answer guarantees that people will stay. I think it would be better if they asked, "What would we need to do to keep you from quitting after 3 months?"

  32. It's been such a long time since I've been on a job interview. Thank Goodness!

    I remember one particular application I filled out back in the 80's. I was applying for an office job with a national discount store chain. (not Wal-Mart) There were several pages of health-related questions. Every disease/condition known to humankind was listed. I was supposed to put a check mark next to all those that afflicted me!

    The really icky questions were sexual in nature. What forms of birth control had I used? Had I ever had a miscarriage or abortion? WTF!?! Was I applying to work in a brothel? I didn't answer any of the health-related questions. Maybe that's why I was never called for an interview? ;o)

    • Really? How did they get away with questions like that? Can questions like those be asked now in job application forms do you know? Here in the UK they would be considered obtrusive, and in fact probably illegal.

    • I'm really surprised that a company would be allowed to ask questions like that on an application! I don't blame you for leaving them blank. Ridiculous.

  33. Hi Geoff! I don't know how they got away with the questions because they were breaking federal laws by asking them. Those questions are still illegal today.

  34. Ugg, I hate looking for jobs and I hate hiring people. Both are a long and arduous process. Cover letters are boring and basically useless. When I'm hiring I barely look at them until I've chosen the 5 people I want to telephone interview (and then I only use them to make sure the candidate can put together a coherent and grammatically correct sentence). Internal candidates are frustrating and interview questions, lame. They can't ask you what they really want to ask so they skirt around the questions. I can't wait to look for my next job, can't you tell 😉

  35. Andrea, just noticed your $1,810 income tracker. Do you have a post that highlights why $1,810?

    I ask b/c the California unemployment benefits insurance is basically that, at $1,800 a month. Don't know if this is a coincidence or not, but not bad right? In Hawaii, you get $2,000 a month!

    • $1810 is my goal because that's what I need to meet expenses and pay taxes @ 20%. My income and spending post from February 29th breaks it down into categories.

  36. Wow I thought I was the only one who hated job searching for these exact reasons! Being a quiet person with just so-so communication skills makes it even worse. Thankfully I some how avoided the interview to get my current job (because it's temporary), otherwise I'd probably still be unemployed.

  37. No, you’re not! I’m job hunting again after being unexpectedly laid off. I hate all these things!

    The worst thing is having to take generic clerical tests. I understand the rationale behind testing skills that DIRECTLY RELATE TO THE JOB. Random testing used to screen applicants seems like a waste of everybody’s time.

    I think these tests need to be tailored to the job, or eliminated entirely. And look at applicants’ experience and prior positions. Most applicants who can use a computer can keyboard and fill out forms. Otherwise, why do we even bother to construct a resume that speaks to our skills?

  38. lindsaywelbers says:

    I'm a writer. I applied to one ad I saw last week and got a reply this morning. It read that they're very interested in having me write X many pieces per week for them, "and while this is an unpaid position right now you will get plenty of exposure and bylines."

    Ugh, I wouldn't have applied if I thought it was unpaid because I cannot pay my rent in exposure and bylines. I wish it had stated that up front.

    • Oh, I won't even get started on writing jobs. “We'd like you to write 1000 articles for a quarter each.” Um, no thanks. Sometimes exposure is great – I'd gladly write for a major magazine or newspaper for free – but when it comes down to it, I need to pay my bills! I feel your frustration on that one.

    • That's pathetic! The very least they should do is make it clear in their ad that it is an unpaid position.

    • Ridiculous! I've been applying for a lot of admin jobs and I have to be careful about that too. Some of them look exactly like a regular job posting and even want X years of experience and then I look closer and see that it is an "unpaid internship" or some other nonsense.

  39. Your #2 hits it on the head. And why, oh why, must we register on a different site for each job we apply for?

  40. There is so much truth in this I almost cried. I have been out of work for two years now, surviving somehow or another. I have filled out hundreds of applications and nothing ever comes of it. I recently went to a group interview for Bank of America and they said they would let us know EITHER way by call or Email and guess what? I haven't heard squat and that was almost three months ago. I think you forgot one thing though. I absolutely despise those 2359425 question "Assessments" that take 45 to 90 minutes to complete. Those take away so much time from filling out other applications that might actually consider you. I wish there was a universal application for the specific job you are looking for…. After filling out 6 applications today and 3 calls with so far no call backs. I'm majorly frustrated and I feel your pain.

  41. Elizabeth says:

    This is a great list. I am graduating in May and hoping to break into the IT field. My husband recently became unemployed. I read this list aloud to him and we both agreed that this is the best list we've seen on this topic in a long time. Hiring managers and recruiters around the world need to read this blog entry. Keep up the good work!

  42. On the salary line, you're supposed to put "One Million Dollars!"

  43. I friggin hate it. All of it. All applications are bull. Especially the personality ones. All you have to do is ask a friend, they'll ask someone, and on and on. Something will stick.. It's who you know.
    Also, my last job. I jumped through 2 months worth of fire hoops only to discover the job was too physically demanding. Oh, that job I got online. And I only got the job because the bosses wife and I went to the same college. Absolute coincidence. ..
    P.S. I'm unemployed now…. life is gravy. A sweet vacation…

  44. I like interview more as i get the chance to express myself

  45. My pet peeve is salary – I've reached the point I won't even apply unless there is an expected range posted, or I know the position is high enough to pay more than I'm earning now (which is nearly 6 figures). It just wastes too much time otherwise!

  46. You see, the problem with you Andrea, is that you are a realist. Sadly, the only way any of these things would ever happen is if you run your own company and of course I would like a job there.

    I feel your pain, especially being lost in the abyss. I've applied for about 14 jobs for the year and only heard back from two, and those two were fancy written rejection letters.

  47. I had a great phone interview with one organization which led to a really good in-person interview (I was there for over 2 hours) and they told me they would make a hiring decision by the next week. So I go home and receive an email the next day to set up a call…and she apologized for bringing me in because "they wanted to meet me" but they had already hired someone before they even called me – said I would have been their pick if they hadn't already hired someone else.

    She then said that she was going to pass my resume to a couple of other positions in the organization that she knew would be available soon…and that's nice and all but I feel like that is disrespectful to not be up front with people and to LIE to my face when I ask when they will make a hiring decision.

    Right now I'm unemployed so I've got time, but I would have been livid if I had taken time off work for that.

  48. I TOTALLY agree.

  49. Found this post on a random search, and the sad thing is it's all true.

    I've had zero job offers after 5 straight years of searching. I've been both the internal candidate and the outside applicant, but it never seemed to matter. My practical skills are nothing short of incredible, but I always get brushed off. I'm overwhelmingly qualified for every job I apply to, and yet most of them give me automated refusal. I've been wondering if I'm going to die of starvation because the brain-dead industry can't do something so simple as put me (honor student with vast experience during and after work hours) in the job I've devoted most of my life into learning.

    This week I got another rejection letter after being invited to a 2nd interview for the first time in my life. For this job, I had to complete an essay-based test, fill out an ap, do a whole lot of research and prep for 2 interviews, all for one pointless rejection letter. Of course we see the whole "Wish you success on your job search/future endeavors" stuff. Yea, how's about you stop wishing and start hiring?

    Car insurance is required by law to drive, so governments have ways of getting you a policy if all the companies say no. I say we instigate something like this for jobs. If enough companies refuse to hire a person, he/she should have recourse to go to the state's labor department, take a practical skills test, and depending on the score, the labor board chooses the job the person is best suited for and forces a company to hire him/her. Forced hires would be distributed based on posted profits.

  50. You've nailed it wonderfully! I am not sure wonderful is correct term here because job searching is really frustrating, but unfortunately necessary unless we were born Kim Jong Il's son.

    The worst is it's dangerous for self esteem – and mental health, if I may take it that far. I hate it during interview that we have to babble of how good we are, moulding ourselves to fit the interviewer's expectation (as far as we can imagine). Liars and smooth talkers have the advantages.

  51. I loved reading this, I've been put through the windmill for a part-time $8/ hour job. Can you imagine making only $180 a week. You have to register customers, answer phones, data entry. They have 3 final candidates and I am one of them. They still wont call a week and a half later to tell me if I got the job or not. I have a Bachelor's Degree and 10 years of experience, seriously? The sent a checklist to my prevous employers about my job performance , umm who does that anymore and made a big fuss when one had not sent it yet. I don't understand what all the fuss is.

    I have sent about 15 applications in 3 weeks and no calls, no follow-ups it's really bad. I wish I could be more positive. maybe this will lead me to start some type of business???

  52. thefreelancerstory says:

    Agree! That`s the reality :(

  53. goldengate902 says:

    Looking for a job has to be the most miserable experience. You're going to get rejection and you won't receive call backs or any type of word whatsoever but this is to be expected. The part I hated was all the people jerking you around and wasting your time. I graduated at a bad time with it being the late 80s early 90s which was before the internet so you had to look for jobs in newspapers etc.

    I lived in a major city and I had someone call me and say they wanted me to come in for an interview. The interview was way on the other side of town so it took about 1.25 hours to get there in traffic. I sat down and the first thing they asked what was my GPA and I told them and they said it wasn't high enough then told me good bye. Um, couldn't they have asked that on the phone.

    I moved to a smaller town that was about 2.25 hours away from the major city in a different state. Someone called me to come in for an interview and I drove all the way there and the first thing he said is I didn't have enough experience. Then why did you call me. Um, I don't know.

    Had another guy interview me and he said he wanted me to take a test so I said fair enough so I bought a book and studied and then I called him to let him know I was ready and he then jerked me around saying he'd get back to me. He never did so I wasted money on the book and the time studying.

    Good luck to all. I cringe at the thought of looking for work.

  54. This is so true. I was reading it and thinking: this is exactly how I felt every time I needed a new job. I remember one time I was applying for a job at some University, going through dozens of pages. I probably spend 2 hours filling out all information they needed. After I clicked "Submit" button I immediately received an automated notification that I wasn't selected for a job. I had to email the HR and beg them to review my resume. A week letter I received an email from the hiring manager with 2 words "OK, I will". A month later I had received another automated message from the university that told me that they have found "more qualified candidate." I am sure this job was filled even before it became available on public search sites. I really hate looking for a new job.

  55. Actually there is one that you forgot on here, what about the fact that when you go online now a lot of sites make you create a username and a password to apply for jobs. Now I have to go through the trouble of remembering a username and password to input the information from my resume to their online application to never get a call back? This is probably the main reasons that people don't have jobs, not so much the economy but the fact that the job market is so complicated now

    • this has to be one of my biggest pet peeves! ugh i'm so annoyed with applying that i google searched to find an article exactly like this, just to relate on how much i hate this shit.

  56. I haven't had a job since September 2011. It's now January 2013, and the fact that I'm struggling to find even a minimum wage job is really hurting my optimism.

    You know, it doesn't have to be this complicated. I worked with McDonalds for a few years, and even then the only reason I was really hired was because they had fired a few workers right before I turned in my application. They're good if you have little to no experience on the job, but otherwise it's best to find a better job while you're still working so you can move forward in your life.

  57. I've been job searching for a long time. I'm a writer, and unlike years ago when i was between jobs, i see more and more employers asking you to do an (unpaid) writing assignment as a 'test." Not only that, but several have asked for a second writing assignment (which actually includes 2 separate assignments). Of course, after investing several hours into these writing assignments, do you think the employer would let you know if you don't get the job, you know, as a simple courtesy???? Only in my dreams.

    I think this is getting ridiculous; isn't an in person interview, seeing my portfolio and ONE writing assignment enough to tell whether I'd be a good fit?

    The employer/employee relationship is SUCH an uneven playing field. Why do employers insist on your giving them 2 weeks notice before you leave while they can ask you to leave immediately, if you're laid off?

    I hate it when your online job application won't be accepted unless you put in some kind of number for "desired salary." OK. Even worse, in my opinion, is asking what you made in previous positions, It's none of their business! Once you disclose your previous salaries, you hand over whatever leverage you might have had and you're simply empowering the employer to get a better deal at your expense. So yeah, i always lie about what i made before becus legally they can't get that information by calling and previous employers don't want a lawsuit on their hands. When I can, I avoid answering the question. Just becus I made X dollars more at other jobs doesn't mean i'm not willing to work for less now.

    Employers are ruthless. There is no humanity. They want to hire you for the very least they can pay, regardless of your qualifications.

  58. Jessica says:


  59. ineluctable says:

    Personally, I think the job search is so difficult because of class war, that’s really why there’s so many hoops. The employers usually consider themselves better than everyone else that’s why the process of getting a job is so inhumane and discouraging and also why those on the inside have a better chance of getting the job, I believe the term is networking, which is really a form of discrimination. Everyone who can’t network or doesn’t know how get the short end of the stick, just like how if you were black 50, 60 years ago you were treated differently, or if you were a woman back then you wouldn’t be paid as much as men. It’s the same game today only the name has changed. Many people don’t realize this. As for myself it’s been almost 4 years since I graduated from the university with my degree, I moved back to my hometown after I graduated and have been searching for a job ever since. I’ve applied to what seemed like great jobs and I even applied for horrible jobs that I would hate to do, like flipping burgers at Mcdonald’s or stocking shelves at 711, I even applied for cheap dishwasher jobs, thinking I’d have a better chance getting a bad job than a good one. Nope, all the applications I sent out, did not receive one single reply for. When I was in school I had no idea it would be this tough, I was too busy in school to work at the same time, my parents helped with tuition, took me about 3 years to finish my degree, 4 years searching for a job, means I ended up with a 7 year gap on my resume in which I’ve been unemployed. I also have no experience since all this time I’ve been studying to get a good job, how do I get experience if no one will hire me? So I figured ok, maybe I need to start at the bottom and apply for an internship, so I applied for an internship that I was told would be available in the summer except after I submitted my resume the response was the internship I applied for didn’t exist. Seriously? I have had the worst luck trying to find a job and I’ve studied at the best schools in the country, expensive private schools and finished at an ivy-league university. Yet it doesn’t seem to matter how educated I am, in fact it seems the more intelligent I am the less chance I have of being hired. Which really doesn’t make any sense. Also I find the most difficult part of the application process is the cover letter, it’s so unnecessary, and seems like whatever I write in my cover letter is never good enough. As I stated before I feel it’s just another form of discrimination. I feel the job hiring process on some level is rigged. I wouldn’t be surprised if 50 years from now people discover the entire American system of hiring was corrupt. For now it’s just business as usual, the haves and the have-nots.

  60. It’s so very frustrating. Click here to upload your resume. Well done. Now enter everything that is on your resume. Same job but with a different company, now create a profile, confirm your email, log on, submit, and repeat with another company. I had a good laugh at the part about tobacco workers and truck drivers. The ones in my area are truck drivers, medical, and crew members/team members. Also when they post jobs like Vector Marketing in Wichita, KS owner/lease operator jobs where you have to put up cash to start working that’s not a job people. I hold a BS in Physics from Southwestern College and have worked as a field engineer in oil and have 3 years total experience in the industry yet despite my hundreds of applications to major companies I keep getting turned down for jobs I’m qualified for even though I checked their descriptions before I applied. I’ve even applied for some that said Associates Degree preferred but no luck. I’ve also shelled out cash for professional resume writing and to be displayed as a top candidate or to go to the top of the pile on sites like LinkedIn and rigzone. The interviews I have had have been terrible and the people conducting them seemed hurried or just flat out didn’t have it together. I interviewed in OKC for a job there and the guy conducting it was very haphazard because they were in the process of moving offices so my interview was conducted at a desk that he literally had just finished putting together and was plagued with constant interruptions by people calling, walking right in to ask questions, or by people who interviewing as well. I drove 9 hours from my house to Austin, TX for an interview and it went really well and I thought I had the job as I filled out a W4, direct deposit slips, and all other pertinent information. 2 months went by with no response and when I finally got a hold of one of the guys that interviewed me he lied and said that he had told me my interview went badly. When I sent him a pdf from my phone of the last email he sent me telling me I had done well and that I should be getting an assignment with the month he back pedaled in slick politician style and then said well my sales team sucks and they haven’t acquired the jobs in the region we were hoping to get into that’s why we haven’t called you back. I was like no thanks as I don’t tolerate being lied to and I don’t tolerate managers that don’t take responsibility for their actions. Well I’d like to keep you on as a candidate when we get those jobs. No thank you because if you lied to me about this what else do you lie about? I see why people turn to diploma mills and flat out lie on their resumes to get hired and the funny thing is it is usually people in the highest offices with the biggest salaries. My thoughts are when you do that you set a precedent and lead by example.

    • Tell me about it… Ive been going through the same issues recently yet again. You upload the resume, then have to enter every piece of it again manually..drives me nuts in this day and age.

      • Especially on the ones that use Taleo. I created a global profile with the purpose of being able to use that to log on with any company that uses Taleo. Taleo says my password is ok but about half of the companies say nope, must contain 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 special character, 1 number, blood sample, family history going back 300 years, etc.

  61. Just found this on a search for “Why I hate applying for a job”. Everything that has been said here is true. There is nothing that isn’t.

    I guess I can’t be too overly surprised. It’s been two years since this blog was posted. I am convinced that absolutely nothing has changed since then.

    Had my share of manually doing my resumes over and over again after uploading them. It’s just a flawed mechanism. For some companies I’ve probably submitted a resume five or six times, only to come to the realization that they probably never looked beyond the huge stack of resume papers they hold in their offices. And I’ve actually been in some of these offices. Papers are all over the place, folders are sticking out of others, file drawers are full of sticky notes and random assortments of binders, etc. The best part is is sometimes the companies won’t hire anybody, even though there are a few job positions open along with a hundred applicants just dying to see if they got accepted.

    My luck may be finally changing though. I passed a background check and several tests for one job I applied for, and I have an interview this week. Hopefully it goes well.

  62. I assume all of you guys are posting from the US? I am English but live in NZ now and let me assure you that this misery we are all suffering looking for quality employment is just the same in the UK and NZ. I have job searched in them all over the years and this crap is prevalent everywhere.

    I am 51 years old with no degree just a simple bonafide diploma which I obtained in MD many years ago while working at the British Embassy in DC. I finished a 9 mth contract with the NZ government 10 weeks ago. I tried very hard to secure a permanent role there but there were lots of grad students also on contracts who beat me every time an internal position came up.

    So now I am at home with my young son and wife driving them mad with my rantings about the pain and emotional stress of looking for work. I am like all the other posters on this most excellent blog, I detest and despise the following things:

    Recruitment agencies! I flat out will not use them to look for work because they are all liars and time wasters whose sole motivation is to have as many people on their books as they can get just to boost their ratings.

    Having to prepare a customised CV and then having to duplicate all of that information into a poorly formatted online form that will not play the cut and paste game.

    Wringing your brain dry trying to write a quality cover letter, knowing full well that your efforts are almost certainly going to go absolutely nowhere.

    Having to spend money out of your own almost empty pockets to fund travel and miscellaneous extra’s to attend an interview for a job where the successful applicant has probably already been decided upon.

    Being made to wait ridiculous amounts of time to get told something you already knew the answer to…UNFORTUNATELY DUE TO A HIGH LEVEL OF INTEREST FROM, you were unsuccessful blah blah blah . This really pisses me off!

    THE WORST BY FAR…..Being interviewed by a panel of uninterested clones who USE that same old tried and trusted archaic method of…yes that’s right…PLEASE CAN YOU GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE OF A TIME WHEN YOU……….and can you please use the STAR method to answer SITUATION TASK ACTION RESULT AARRGGHHH!!!!! i HATE THIS CRAP WITH A PASSION. What’s wrong with just talking to people.

    Finally. I am not sure if I am suffering brain fade with age or what? but I am now seeing a lot of online testing becoming the norm, and I in all honesty found it quite hard! I applied for a role with a major shipping line recently sent in my cover letter and CV and received a call saying how interested they were in me…Woohoo then I was sent a link to an online assessment which was a 50 question test to be completed in 12 minutes…Maths English Abstract Reasoning and so on, I managed to do 44 by the time my clock ran out and the test closed. Yes I was not chosen but I was also advised I cannot apply again to this company WTF! not mad about the no job thing, the test was hard and really challenged me but where is the relevance, the job was well within my skills level. Is this the way of the future, it’s scary.

    Hey thank you so much for starting this blog, it is definitely a relief to get my feelings out there. It was a rant granted, but a passionate one that has real emotion behind it.

    Good luck to all of you looking for and securing a job that you enjoy, that pays well and which has an intelligent understanding boss……! well there is no harm in wishing is there?

  63. And don’t forget, if you happen to be “ballsy” enough to ask ahead what the starting wage or salary will be, you’ve pretty much asked yourself right out of consideration. I usually ask something like, “May I be so bold as to ask what the position pays?” One of my very good friends once asked me, “Do you think that kind of question helps your cause?” I said, “Maybe not, but it sure beats spending an hour filling out an online questionnaire, then sitting through a 20-minute interview, only to find out the position starts at 3 bucks an hour LESS than what I need to make!”


Join the Discussion!