I conduct a seminar on Bullying in the Workplace. Usually it refers to employees but I think in this labor market, the new bullies are some employers. I hear such horror stories every day about how potential employees are treated and what goes on with employees “lucky enough” to be employed. Sadly, that is the attitude of a lot of employers these days: You are lucky to have a job and if you don’t like what’s going on here, goodbye and good riddance.
Before the “crash” we were looking at a talent shortage. I gave programs on “How to Retain Your Key Employees”. Baby Boomers were going to be retiring and leaving the workforce; our concern was how to manage the knowledge drain. Of course everything changed and suddenly baby boomers lost their retirement dreams and were hanging on for dear life to their jobs. Benefits started shrinking and 401K matches disappeared. Companies started downsizing, many starting with the long term employees who were at the highest pay.
A friend of mine who was an I.T. professional in California and close to 60 years old, tried everything he could to find a new job, even applying for positions overseas. He finally found something local but with at least a one hour commute each way and at 70% lower pay. Oh, and it was a temporary position with no benefits. To top it off, he is expected to work all kinds of overtime with no additional pay. One day his Bully Employer asked their “team” to write down everything they were doing on a daily basis and turn it in at closing time. The next day two people were let go.
Everywhere employees are being asked to do more with less resources and the attitude is “do it or leave”. It’s even worse for those out looking for jobs these days . Even though an employer can set up an automatic letter when they advertise on sites like Monster and Career Builder, they fail to do so and I can only imagine the frustration of applying for job after job and receiving no response. I also hear about applicants who go through the hiring process, are rejected and never hear a word from the potential employer. Does this economy give everyone a pass on being polite and kind?
The worst practice is unfair screening. There are companies choosing to not interview someone who isn’t currently unemployed. Many talented employees are being let go and are out there seeking to take their talents to a new employer. What makes recruiters think this person was somehow at fault? Some overtly advertise that you should not apply if you are unemployed and others do it more subtly by having a computer screen-out the resume of an unemployed applicant; it is never even seen by the employer. Another friend of mine had applied to a certain company several times with no result. He happened to see that they had a booth at a job fair so he went up and talked to the recruiters. They were I. T. recruiters so not the ones he needed to contact but they did tell him that “by the way, the computer screens you out if you are unemployed”.
This situation is cyclical and the pendulum will eventually swing the other way and applicants will once again be in the driver’s seat. They have good memories, though, Mr. or Ms. Employer.