It used to be that applying for work was a simple matter of filling out a basic application, which for the fortunate was followed by an interview where the employer basically sized you up to figure out if a) you were qualified, and b) whether or not they liked you.
Not so, these days.
Having been out of meaningful full-time work for some eleven months now (side gig doing what I love most at Blogcritics for that precious beer money aside of course), I have applied for hundreds of jobs (most of which I am eminently qualified for). What I have found is that looking for work is the hardest full-time job I have ever had. Hands down.
There has to be a balance somewhere.
For those fortunate enough to get to that coveted first interview, what used to be a get-acquainted process of getting sized-up has become something more akin to a very hostile Roman arena where you are the Christian and they are the lions. These days a job interview is more about why they shouldn't hire you than why they should.
Meet the new boss, or maybe not. In today's reality, it's more like you better, you bet (God bless you, Pete Townshend).
But that isn't even what I want to talk about here. I want to talk about the application that is supposed to get you that ticket to the lion's den.
Quick question here:
How many of you keep a record of everything you have ever done for the past ten years, including names, dates, addresses, zip codes, and phone numbers handy? Well, you had best start doing so, just in case of the event you should ever find yourself laid off.
Most of the pre-screening process these days takes place online. And where it used to be about the easy task of securing accounts at Monster, Career Builder, and the rest, and just clicking your mouse to apply for a job — these days that single click increasingly just redirects you to an employer website. Once there, nothing less than a complete accounting of your last ten years on this earth will suffice. That means names, dates, addresses, e-mails, and phone numbers of everyone you have ever known or ever will. The Social Security and driver's license number invasions into your private life are now simply a warm-up to the real inquisition.