While I’m not fussy on the type of jobs I’m applying for, I always read the qualifications of the position. For example, there’s no point in applying for a job that requires me to lift up to 60 kilograms because I can’t lift 60 kilograms. If a job requires a valid driver’s license, then forget it, because I can’t drive and a transit pass simply won’t do. In both of these examples, the qualifications listed are fair requirements for the position offered.
On the other side of the coin are those qualifications that make me exclaim, “I need to know this as a job requirement?! Are you @?#!&*$ kidding me????”. Here’s my all time favourite example that to this day makes me shake my head in bewilderment.
Yes, you read that right: the successful applicant must be able to play at least one instrument in order to work as a shipper/receiver at this company. Trust me, if someone was able to play at least one instrument, they would not be working as a shipper. They would be playing in a band. I’m tempted, so sorely tempted in fact, to search for the antithesis of this ad where an open bassist position requires the applicant to “work with standard shipping documents and online shipping systems”. The only thing stopping me is the fear of accidentally discovering a wormhole connecting our universe to DC Comic’s Bizarro World, and I’ll get sucked in, never to be seen again. Oh well, at least if that happened, my unemployment situation would no longer be a pressing issue.
All kidding aside, this is proof that credential creep (the trend where requirements for a position are rising) exists and is a serious challenge for job-seekers, particular those new to Canada and today’s young people trying to break that work experience Catch-22.
Why is this happening? In one case, it could be the result of downsizing. For example, the head librarian and a system administrator used to be separate positions in a library. Now, it’s not unusual for these positions to be merged since libraries are going online, and the Dewey Decimal System is merely the offline cousin of a relational database, which in turn have given way to SQL and XML hierarchies. Another example is the nurse-practitioner, which was created not only to make government funding dollars work harder, it also streamlines the wait time for patients to see a general practitioner. In both cases, the increase in the applicant requirements was done for the sake of efficiency. Nothing too unreasonable there.
Or is it? Some examples of increasing the requirements come out of not understanding the job description, of which my musical instrument example would certainly qualify under. It could also be the issue of the time to train: one blog post I made involved me not getting a cashier’s job because the manager had no time to train me. While some positions open do require a high degree of knowledge and expertise that would take too much time to learn from on the job training, a cashier’;s job is not rocket science. With the right training, anyone can be proficient to run a POS terminal within a few hours, a couple of days, or at the most a week (for the very slow learner).
Employers might think this approach ensures the proper fit for the job, but what it does instead is leave them wondering why they cannot find someone to fill an opening, complaining about a labour shortage that they created themselves.
Thanks for reading!