Now Hiring: Hiring Director, Humans Need Not Apply

Media Professional Benjamin Markus Questions Job-Application Process, Begins Investigation

The former soccer front-office professional has begun investigating the “dehumanized” processes behind finding full-time employment

Chicago, Ill. – Several weeks after his latest job application, and with no employer response to show for it, 30-year-old Benjamin Markus, of Miami, Fla., has begun investigating  the job-application process he calls both “dehumanizing” and “flawed”.

“I’m finding the whole process exasperating,” Markus said from his temporary home in Chicago.  “I think there’s something wrong here, something systemic, and I’m hoping to uncover some flaws and, if possible, suggest some improvements to the processes behind the job hunt.”

Markus’ frustrations began shortly after starting a job search that has now spanned more than two months and 30 jobs applied for.  Markus says the great majority of the jobs he’s applied for omit basic employer contact information, with even fewer including practical compensation details.

“I found myself crafting resumes and cover letters, spending upwards of five hours on each application, calling and even mailing physical copies of my application material, only to hear nothing in return,” Markus said.

As Markus’ frustration began to grow, he says, so did his persistence.  After hearing nothing from a particularly intriguing job, Markus says he began calling weekly and leaving messages.

“I thought to myself, ‘they wouldn’t be rude enough to ignore my messages, would they?’ But sure enough, they were ignored,” Markus recalled.

Having grown up in a home where manners, politeness and respect were valued and encouraged, Markus says he was puzzled and saddened that the “humanizing act” of returning an email, let alone a phone call, was being ignored.

After numerous emails, phone calls and a physical mailing to the aforementioned employer went unacknowledged, Markus says, he made one last attempt.

“I gave it one last try and, wouldn’t you know it, I got my job contact on the phone – and it wasn’t her voicemail,” Markus said.  “After introducing myself, she said ‘Oh, yes, I know who you are, and I’ve received your application in the mail, but our HR department doesn’t allow personal contact with applicants.  I’m really sorry, but this conversation shouldn’t be happening.'”

After the phone call, Markus says he realized that it wasn’t the persons involved that were neglecting common courtesies, but rather the processes in place.

“Then and there I realized that these companies that I had been applying to had totally dehumanized the process of finding a job candidate,” Markus said.  “They are literally removing the human component from the equation: automated application responses, no calls, no visitors.”

Markus says he plans on beginning his investigation at the moment an applicant hits the ‘send application’ button.  From there he says he’ll “work [his] way down the rabbit hole.”

“I’m just so curious about the whole applying and hiring process, particularly the human element, or lack of it, involved,” Markus said.  “When does an application get before human eyes, if it does at all, and what role do human elements like intuition, recall and foresight play in the process?”

Markus says that he hopes to continue the investigation in a series of blog posts throughout the summer, and that he’s not sure what he expects the eventual outcome to be.

“I think if I can just bring even a little attention to some of this system’s flaws, that would be a huge success in my eyes.  Or maybe someone will hire me before that just to quiet me down,” Markus said, smiling.  “Then again, someone will have to be listening first.”

 

305 Random Running Thoughts (44 – 52)

After a minor Random Running Thought (RRT) hiatus, let’s get back to it…

44. You may have heard this before, but a great way to get better as a runner, faster and more endurance, is to hit the weight room.

45.  Compound lifts like squats, deadlifts and lunges provide fantastic leg work for runners.  But upper-body lifts will give you muscular balance, improve your posture and work your core – all integral for runners looking to their improve form and, thus, time.

46. Anybody run with the Brickell running group in downtown Miami?  Thinking about giving it/them a try this week.  Thoughts, opinions?

47.  I’ve started lifting more often and running a little less often (2-3 times a week).

48.  Haven’t noticed any regression in my cardiovascular endurance, or in simple english, I still feel like I’m in good shape.

49.  I’m noticing the sapodilla fruit trees are starting to be full of fruit again!  See my September post about Miami fruits/sapodilla: Miami Sidewalk Fruit

50. Approximate number of degrees warmer it is right now than I’d like it to be.

51.  OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but please Miami, please.  Can’t we have one week of winter-like weather?  Just one?

52.  The number of one of the greatest football players I’ve ever had to the pleasure to watch, Ray Lewis (@RayLewis), a Miami guy who’s hanging it up after this playoff run – which will, as of right now, last one game longer at least!

Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis: the football Godfather

Are You Trying to “Figure Out” Running?

My advice?  Don’t.

Study it, sure.  Give it gallons of your sweat and some of your blood and tears, too.  Spend money on it.  Daydream about it.

But save yourself some time and energy by not trying to “figure out” running.  As if there’s a formula.  As if it can be controlled or mastered.

I found that running became easier, almost instantly, when I realized that so much of it was out of my immediate control.

It was a weight off my mind to realize and accept that, after six months of everyday running, I could have days when I felt like I had started all over again.  When, after a year of training, a half mile jog exhausted me.  When my feet started to hurt the minute I set out for a 45-minute run.  When I had to take a nap after warming up because my body just wasn’t feeling it that day.

Put another way, sometimes there’s just no rhyme nor reason to why you might have a disastrous running day or the best of your life.  It’s like trying to figure out why the back of your neck itched or why you felt the need to stretch just then.

Some things just aren’t made for solving.

When I learned that, and even more so when I accepted it, running became so much less confounding, less frustrating and less stressful.  I think part of the beauty of running, part of the reason it’s an art to some, is that you’ll have some of your best running moments when you’re least expecting them.  And, likewise, some of your worst moments when you’re least expecting them.  That’s why running never gets stale, why it never gets easy, only less hard.

So if you get outside today, whether it’s your first day running or you’re a marathoner, and you feel out-of-whack, or you try and can’t make it out the driveway, or you run 12 miles when you only intended five… don’t try to figure it out.  Just try again tomorrow =)

-Ben (@BenMarkus1985)

 

 

 

Exercise helps … everything

Do you ever ask yourself questions like:

‘How have I been productive today?’

‘How have I advanced my career today?’

‘Am I working as hard as others are?’

I know that I do, and pretty often.  It’s human nature to question and compare yourself, to others and to an ideal.  Living in a city like Miami probably doesn’t help either – the hustle and bustle, the displays of wealth and, sometimes, arrogance.

I ask myself these questions often, and while much of the time I can answer them with an honest satisfaction, more often than I’d like I can’t.  Sometimes I feel unmotivated and unproductive, and often I question where my career is going, if I’m working toward my future goals. (What were those, again?…)  I don’t want to make this a psychological discussion, but I’m fairly certain most people have these questions about themselves, and yet it’s still tough to not feel like you’re the only one struggling with these issues.

To all of us who question ourselves, I’d like to share the one drug that, time and time again, has helped me feel better about all of it:

Exercise.

I know that sounds zen-Buddhisty or cliche or like a load of steaming dog crap, but it’s true.  For me it’s been true.

Exercise has become the pillar, the backbone of my life in many ways.  I look at it this way:

  • I can’t always feel good about the money I’m making, especially when I’m not making any.
  • I can’t always feel good about my career path when I’m not sure it’s the right one.
  • I can’t always feel good about my love life when I’m not in love.

But,

  • I can always go for a walk or a run and feel good during (most of the time) or after (always).
  • I can always lift weights and feel stronger, more energetic and, in general, better after.
  • I can always trust that a reasonable amount of exercise is always good for my mind and body.

Maybe more than anything, fitness helps me keep the bigger picture in mind.  In life, what is more important than mental and physical health?  What is more important than guarding your mind and body from disease, cancer, depression?  What is more important than aging slowly and naturally?

If you’ve got substantial answers to these questions, please let me know because I don’t.

Exercise so wholly puts my mind at ease because it provides me answers – direction – in a damn confusing life.  It’s the one unwavering path I feel like I can follow with complete and utter trust at this time.  Exercise allows me to feel productive, accomplished and successful.

I didn’t intend this to come off as any kind of a sermon but rather a quick story of my experience.  If you’ve got any questions, or even just want to talk about any of this, shoot me an email: markusben@gmail.com

 

Have a great weekend, a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Ben (@BenMarkus1985)