Thursday, November 12, 2009

How cheap will you work?

I woke up coughing this morning. I've had a fever and a headache most of the day - not really incapacitating, but not fun nonetheless. I did carry out a small anti-procrastination project - I bagged up the garbage I had created by cleaning out my desk and took it to the curb for garbage day tomorrow.

I also checked the job listings as usual. There's one job that sounds interesting and I'm 95% qualified for, but it has an odd requirement - they want applicants to put their salary expectations in the subject line of the e-mail.

Keep in mind that they don't share details on their web page about benefits, vacation, business hours, or sick time.

It strikes me as a way to eliminate people without bothering to open the e-mail and read the cover letter or resume.

I haven't decided if I'm going to bother to apply. Do I really want to work somewhere where the primary hiring criteria is how much they have to pay you? Do I want to put the effort into composing a cover letter & adapting my resume if I'm going to be screened out without anyone reading either?


  1. That's...insane. But, I'm horribly ashamed to say that I'm not surprised. I don't know if you will agree, but I think that this job hunting experience for me [the past year] has really, really jaded me. Nothing shocks me anymore and it seems like things are going downhill and quick.

    What an odd request, though. I resent when I'm asked about salary expectation as part of my resume/cover letter. You're right - it's rare that a potential employer will give you any information to help you shape your expectation. I do still apply for those types of jobs, I just omit that information. When/if they contact me for an interview [and I have had some contact me] I explain that I need more information from them before I have a conversation on salary.

  2. It's ridiculous. I've found that - in my industry at least - employers have become very specific about what their "mandatory skills" are. It's really limiting - especially since some of their mandatory criteria are things I could learn in a week on the job.

    If I have 4/5 mandatory requirements and 3/3 "nice to haves", do I apply? (I do, but am not doing well with ever hearing back.)

    I can see why people get discouraged and quit job hunting.

  3. It's that way in my industry, so much as I have an industry [most jobs I'm applying for are in development/fundraising and very basic/entry-level communications]. The mandatory requirements are very strict and yes, much of the time the things I don't know I either have related skills or it's something anyone with half a brain [myself included] could learn on the job. Employers seem to want to hire people who already know everything.

    Another problem with that logic is that if you have all of these qualifications - would you want a job like that? Wouldn't you want a step up? Moving laterally in one's career isn't terribly attractive for people [unless you get a lot more money].