Make us your home page
Instagram

Job seekers frustrated by job fair 'recruiters'

Job seeker Hector Pupo, left, talks with Chad Tiedt, a recruiter for Colonial Life, at a job fair April 22 in Davie. Many job seekers are demoralized by online recruiting, but HR experts say it’s necessary.

Getty Images

Job seeker Hector Pupo, left, talks with Chad Tiedt, a recruiter for Colonial Life, at a job fair April 22 in Davie. Many job seekers are demoralized by online recruiting, but HR experts say it’s necessary.

When Becky Cole lost her grant-writing job to the recession two years ago, she began scouring job fairs. She didn't like what she saw. • Several recruiters refused to take her resume or give their business cards. They just referred her to the company website and told her to apply online. Others had brochures and a dish full of candy but no jobs. Several recruiters admitted that they were only there to fill a quota for their marketing department.

"It annoys me to no end," Cole said. "People come to a job fair expecting to be able to apply for a job. And if you don't have job openings and can't do an interview, don't tell me to go apply online."

Not every recruiter dismisses candidates with a swift nod to the Web. But anecdotal evidence abounds that such practices are alive and well, cropping up 10 to 25 percent of the time at job fairs in Minnesota, for example. Employment experts insist it's simply part of a modern, high-tech, less-touch world, one in which online recruiting reigns supreme.

Human resource managers argue that the online job application process helps them manage herds of hungry candidates. It's not uncommon for one job opening to solicit hundreds of resumes, they say.

On the flip side are tens of thousands of frustrated job seekers like Cole who say they are demoralized by the faceless black hole of today's employment hunt.

"People feel very defeated working with online applications," said Jane Samargia, executive director of Hired, which does job placement for the state of Minnesota.

Young job seekers recently told Hired counselors that they believe online job applications "are just a big scam," Samargia said. "They've never heard a response back from any employer, so they don't believe that online is a real avenue to applying for a job. They really think it's just fiction and a way for others to get their personal information."

Samargia's team encourages job searchers to network like mad. "If you only use the computer, you will never find a job."

'Submit it online'

At first glance, the February job fair organized by U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., at a Bloomington, Minn., community college seemed a stunning success: 50 recruiters, reams of jobs and scores of patient job seekers.

But closer inspection revealed an unsettling trend. One recruiter at Starkey Labs said it was inefficient to take resumes on site because they would just have to be scanned manually back at the office. Better to submit it online. A recruiter at Thomson Reuters gave out business cards that didn't have her name — just an address, e-mail and phone number for a "global legal recruiting team."

Agents recruiting for Frontier Communications gave out business cards with nothing but an e-mail address.

Paulsen's aides said they were surprised. Job candidates floating through the fair that day said they noticed it but chose to focus on recruiters with real information and descriptions of jobs available at Starkey, Target Corp., Strategic Financial and others. Many said they had been looking for jobs for six months to two years.

HR bombarded

Employers often are bombarded with applications. Samargia said Hired recently posted an online ad for a front desk clerk and had more than 500 applications in four days. Large corporations see even higher volume.

"Again and again, (HR managers) say they are completely overwhelmed and defeated. They put out one job opening and their systems are quickly overwhelmed. . . . They don't have enough staff to handle them. So it's kind of a vicious circle," Samargia said.

Some job seekers are perceiving slights when there aren't any, said Hired senior program manager John Klem.

A representative for a hospital recently stated that its "Equal Employment Opportunity rules require all applicants to apply online and . . . (for) all applications to first be reviewed by someone to ensure . . . basic qualifications for the job," Klem said. Even if a recruiter likes a candidate, all steps must be followed before scheduling an interview.

Becky Cole of Minneapolis doesn't want to hear it. She became so fed up with online applications and dead-end job fairs that she began hosting her own job fairs last year. She has strict rules about what she will and won't tolerate from recruiters.

"My approach is that if I can't be invited to a party, then I will create my own," Cole said. Leave that candy dish at the office and come to the job fair with real jobs, she tells companies that pay $20 to $40 to set up a booth. Her fees include lunch. She won't give space to a recruiter who refuses to interview job seekers, look over resumes and give feedback.

"When I do it, I can be more particular about who I like . . . and don't," she said. "If I host, then I can say to certain organizations, 'No. You stay home.' "

Job seekers frustrated by job fair 'recruiters' 05/08/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 7, 2010 5:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Star Tribune (Minneapolis).
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  2. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  3. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Coming soon at two Tampa Bay area hospitals: a cancer treatment that could replace chemo

    Health

    A new cancer treatment that could eventually replace chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants — along with their debilitating side effects — soon will be offered at two of Tampa Bay's top-tier hospitals.

    Dr. Frederick Locke at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa is a principal investigator for an experimental therapy that retrains white blood cells in the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved these so-called "CAR-T" treatments for adults this month. In trials, 82 percent of cases responded well to the treatment, and 44 percent are still in remission at least eight months later, Locke said. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Regulator blasts Wells Fargo for deceptive auto insurance program

    Banking

    Wells Fargo engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, failed to properly manage risks and hasn't set aside enough money to pay back the customers it harmed, according to a confidential report by federal regulators.

    Wells Fargo engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, failed to properly manage risks and hasn't set aside enough money to pay back the customers it harmed, according to a confidential report by federal regulators.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images, 2017]