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March 8, 2012 / flogginwater

Robot HR – the future of rejection, today?

So it’s been a couple weeks since I was officially laid off. No big deal. I’ve been sending our resumes, filling out job applications, and waiting for call backs, emails, and just waiting. It’s not too bad – I’m taking a test for a position with the TSA on Monday. Yes, that TSA, the one which I have indeed personally criticized for their organizational stupidity at times. It’s a job – and hell, if I get hired, maybe I can make things better – at least in some small part.

I’m also undergoing a background check for a job as a corrections officer – I can’t/won’t say which agency it’s for – but it’d be a good opportunity if I get it. I’ve been trying since I was 19 to get into the law enforcement/corrections field – and it’s a damn tough market to break into, but especially so when the economy is in the shitter. My old man was a CO once upon a time for the same agency, and he liked it. He worked for them for over a decade before being offered a position with the campus police for a teaching hospital in Portland – a job which he did until he retired from the state back in the 90’s.

My only complaint, if you can call it that, is that generally, when seeking employment in the public sector, the process can seem plodding. That’s probably mostly because of the number of applicants those jobs get, along with mandatory testing or background checks, etc. All I can do is wait and keep my fingers crossed that something comes through sooner rather than later, and keep filling out those job applications, sending out resumes, and trying to find something.

And that leads me to tonight – I finally remembered to get online with Dick’s Sporting Goods website – their local store is hiring, and all of their applications are done online now. Lot of companies are going that way. So I applied – I figured I could be a pretty good fit in their “Lodge” department, which covers hunting/fishing/camping gear.

After you finish filling out your typical application, there was a 20 minute questionnaire. I must’ve answered a few too many questions wrong, because within an hour of sending in my application (which I finished up about 10PM Pacific time) I got an email back from their HR computers stating that I would not be getting an interview any time soon, but “we hold your application on file for a year” – you know that old line.

I shouldn’t be surprised that computers and bots have replaced people for certain HR functions – but somehow I am. Everything about a person and their answers is now picked apart, turned into a numerical score, and if you don’t meet the score – you don’t get the job, or the interview, or a second chance I guess. They are effectively taking the “human” out of “human resources”. Probably good for their bottom line, but I wonder how many good candidates get cast aside for jobs with companies that have automated their applications?

I can only think of how life will be like in the future, as we as a society get more computerized, digitized, and automated. Will we eventually have a world like in the fictional movie “Minority Report”? In that movie, there are Pre Crime Police who are set after someone *before* they commit a crime. Will there also be Pre-application rejection letters, sent out before you ever apply for a job? Spooky thought.

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