The Job Market Series – Part 1

The Veracity Report

If you are trying to make heads or tails of the current job market, this series might just be for you – by Investigative Reporter Jennifer Amato

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Veracity editorial note to readers:

This unbiased, non-satirical, and fully attributed article, was written by Investigative Reporter Jennifer Amato. The sources used in compiling the data reported herein are: Dorian Lassiter, a former General Manager for Dollar Tree, and Crystal Courtney, a current cashier at Walmart.

If you’re like me, you're perplexed because you hear all around you how great the job market is, how many new jobs were created, and how low unemployment is (record lows for half of a century, blah, blah, blah). Yet, for many job seekers, the reality of today’s job market just isn’t so cut and dry, and certainly not so bountiful.

This leaves many of the frustrated unemployed to ask themselves; what is the deal with the job market these days? And why are all these people trying to tell us that it’s phenomenal?

What’s more, we hear about how understaffed everyone is, yet all of the people I have spoken with during the course of this investigation, who have applied via some form of a job board or employment app, say they can’t get even a ‘Dear John - type' letter (or email) of rejection.

More than one person I've talked to couldn’t escape the feeling that the companies they interacted with weren’t actually looking to hire help, but presenting the appearance of seeking help while all the time purposefully keeping the business understaffed – maybe in an effort to try and force their current employees to take on more responsibility for their same wages? Who knows? At least that's what Crystal Courtney believes.

"We're always shorthanded, yet the company supposedly hires like five people a day. I just don't get it," Ms. Courtney said during our meeting.

At this point, I don’t believe there is any clear-cut answer or one-size-fits-all explanation. The suggestions and tentative solutions we will be exploring in this series are, of course, pure speculation.

We are not the ones running these businesses, nor can we usually get clear and concise answers from those who are. However, when I was searching for a job, I ran into this exact same issue on the job board, Indeed.

I would apply to sometimes thirty or more jobs in a single day, then repeat this process, day after day, sometimes for a week straight, never to hear anything back from a single employer I had queried.

We also hear a lot of the old hats saying “Well, ya gotta call them and show interest little lady.” Normally, this is the exact response I would give to my own children about the workforce application process. However, it's come to my attention that this is not always encouraged by employers and in fact, isn't even always a possibility with online applications becoming as common as they are today.

Further, especially in the case in the case of retail position applications, hiring managers in those fields are required to perform physical job duties as part of their daily routine. When you call them unsolicited to “check on the status of your application,” this causes them to stop what they are doing and usually forces them to walk to the front of the store or to go into the store office, to field your call.

Multiply this by 10 or 15 'status checks' per day, and, as you can imagine, you have one very frustrated store manager who probably won’t value your application any more than you value their time. More than one such manager has also told me that this demonstrates that an applicant just doesn’t understand the nature of the retail work environment.

"Most of my typical day is spent precariously positioned atop a pallet of boxes, unloading a truck, stocking shelves, or in the freezer. When I get paged by a cashier for a phone call, I have to stop all of that and make my way to the front of the store. All out of breath and disheveled, I answer the holding call, only to find out it's someone who filled out a paper application a month ago wanting to check on the status of it," says Dorian Lassiter, a former General Manager for Dollar Tree Stores.
"When this happens, I have half a mind to terminate them before even hiring them," he joked. "This really demonstrates that they either don't value my time, or that they have no functional concept of what a typical retail work day consists of. Either way, this tells me that this is someone I don't really want working for me."

That's the way of the old paper applications. The new, tech-savvy way is now to apply online directly with the company or have job boards like Indeed, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, and Monster (Yes, Monster is still around).

With most of those job marketplaces and apps, job seekers store their resumes` digitally with each platform. When you complete a search, using keywords or other job search criteria such as location, salary, or job title, searchers can locate one that fits their experience, education, or preferences. Jobs can be located all over the nation using various keyword searches.

For some of these job searches, the names of the companies are kept hidden during the initial part of the query. This would also prevent a would-be job seeker from calling to follow up on their application, however, most of them do allow applicants to correspond with them through the platform's internal messaging system.

These are only some of the questions I would like to address in much greater detail throughout the course of this series. If you have a personal story, are a frustrated job seeker, or are a hiring manager that would like to offer up your input, please email me at: jamato@veracitreport.org.

We here at The Veracity Report are dedicated to helping our readers be more prepared to face real-life situations. We would love to hear from you if you think you might be able to help inform our readers, many of which are or will be future job applicants.

Compiled by Investigative Reporter Jennifer Amato – Because the Truth Matters!

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