I I have been looking for a full time job for over a year. I have applied for jobs that I am qualified for, jobs that I am overqualified for, jobs in my city and jobs that would require a long commute, jobs that I would like to do, and jobs that I am sure I would absolutely hate. I have applied for jobs in my field, jobs in one more field, jobs I have never considered before, jobs recommended by friends, jobs recommended by the website that has my information on file, jobs that I could do while I sleep. In all this time, I haven’t even gotten to the interview process.
While some of these jobs simply ask for a resume and cover letter, mostly when I have been applying for a job, I am asked to enter my information in a form on a website. I must choose my level of education from a drop down menu; I must write exactly my work schedule with precise dates. If I email someone a resume, I think they might have a shot. However, with the forms, I know it is useless even while I am doing it. My resume will be resolved and rejected before anyone sees it, for one simple reason: I didn’t graduate from college.
The algorithms are increasingly used by employers and headhunting firms to find the “best” and most qualified candidates. Before your potential future employer has a chance to view your job application, it is very likely that your application has been rejected by a computer for specific criteria and will never be seen by a person. Some of these algorithms were implemented to try to break through unconscious human biases, to give people with names that don’t scream “white man” a better chance, or to address the problem of slim, attractive people who perform better in Job search. than those who do not meet conventional beauty standards.
Employers like these sorting apps, then, because it gives them the sheen of pure objectivity. Opportunities are simply offered to the most qualified. How can a computer be harmed? It probably won’t surprise you to learn, however, that algorithms, which are created by humans, also recreate human bias. The working class; single mothers; people with chronic health problems; People who have spent time in prison or in rehabilitation facilities: all are more likely to have gaps in their work history. And while there are countless websites offering advice on how to explain those gaps or overcome a lack of references or credentials during an interview, that explanation doesn’t matter if you can’t even present your application or resume to a human. And because many of these processes they are not transparent, it can be difficult to challenge the algorithm’s evaluation or even to know which part of your application is causing the rejection.
These changes also affect those looking for a job that is generally understood to be in demand. The New York Times recently ran a story in doctors who were unable to find work, even during a pandemic. Many were unable to obtain interviews, despite applying for dozens of positions, due to “gaps” in their applications. The algorithms rejected applicants for things like taking too long to complete their education or being out of work for too long. The reasons for those shortcomings on their resumes were quite predictable, from caregiving responsibilities to financial concerns.
Most of us have moments in our lives that need explanation. There are gaps in our stories, moments when we somehow just step out of other people’s expectations and our own expectations of how things are going to go, moments when we look up from the ditch thinking, well, how do we? heck did this happen? ? These things leave their mark, not only on our psyche, but also on the material world and our reputation through our credit scores, our rental histories, our work deadlines, the Google results that appear when someone searches our name. .
After you’ve done the hard work of going back and repairing the relationships and deficits you abandoned during your sojourn in the desert, it turns out that these official stories are the least forgiving.
I went to college with all the expectations of graduating and this would lead to the beginning of a consistent and stable work future. Instead, I arrived for about a year and a tangled knot of complications (family, emotional, financial, etc.) completely blocked that path and I dropped out of school. I intended to return, but frequently found employment in organizations that required me to be there at unpredictable hours, including last-minute shifts, making it nearly impossible to balance school and work. So it never happened and as a result I have been out of a full-time job for about 15 years, with the precarious financial situation and work history to match.
The pandemic and related lockdowns have forced many people out of work. The service industry, which is not the place of long-term stable employment, even in the best of years, has been hit hard, many people with long distance Covid have had to receive disability benefits and others have had to absent from work o Reduce hours to fulfill the responsibilities of caring for your loved ones. The question, when this is all over, is: will these workers find themselves increasingly disadvantaged when they try to find employment again? Will they be classified by some program as unacceptable and unreliable because they took a year off to care for a sick parent or educate their children? It should be understood that those who were able to keep a job are lucky, not better. But try to explain it to a computer program.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism