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Examine the expectations and inferences underlying selected job positions. Consider timely topics in career preparation and the struggle for fulfilling employment. Analyze what could be improved in either situation. If this blog reminds you too much of work, then peruse my namesake blog for lighter fare.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Job Seeker Feedback Website Flops at Launch, Found Wanting for Functionality

While advocating against universities in a LinkedIn group for students and recent graduates, I happened upon a solicitation from an Internet startup called “Job Seeker Feedback,” also known herein as “N00bs with B00bs!” Why the blatantly misogynistic designation? Read on to find out how that West Coast crew earned such an ignominious moniker!

Its spokesperson, Tamlin Tromp, was “recruiting” -- more like requesting -- those who are searching for employment to join a research program that would evaluate the experiences of job seekers during their interactions with various employment applications. Monitoring and real-time Q & A would be conducted by Internet survey (with or without webcam), telephone conversation, and/or on-site observation.

Ever alert to emerging trends in the staffing industry, I entered my bid for starring in a focus group pertaining to the user experience of Job Application Systems (JAS), which are also known as Employment Applicant Tracking Systems (EATS) -- the latter term of which is especially apropos, considering how those online software apps tend to swallow applications without recourse!

There exist, however, myriad issues within the Job Seeker Feedback (JSF) evaluation model:

1) The primary problem is attracting professionals. Due to human nature, those who’ve struggled in the job market -- and therefore have scores to settle with the employment process as a whole -- will self-select more often than those who are content with their ability to find jobs. This will over-represent disgruntled job seekers in the JSF studies!

To wit: The reimbursement to focus group participants is a mere $50 gift card to Amazon, for those who travel to the on-site evaluation center. The interviewing location is kept secret until those selected for a study are given confidential directions. The remuneration to those completing a remote survey is nil. Considering the median time of a professional, white-collar worker exceeds $20 hourly, how few will deign to travel on-site and/or complete a remote evaluation of several hours -- for what amounts to less than $20 hourly?

The administrative owner of the Job Seeker Feedback website is privately registered via P.O. Box at the New Dream Network, LLC web host in Brea, California. The natural tendency would therefore be to over-sample Californians. Surely, those who live outside a normal commuting distance should at least have their travel expenses reimbursed!

One solution is to pay for qualified members of the labor force to take a “business trip.” This option would be more palatable to white-collar workers than to blue-collar workers: The former would be able to claim “professional development” expenditures and be paid on company time, whereas the others would predominantly be forced to either go on their time and dime or to not participate.

This would provide a counter-measure to the leftward skew of the respondent sample among occupations and income levels of job seekers. But knowing the geographic dispersion necessary to sample in-person EATS users from around the United States, I’d venture the Job Seeker Feedback crew rents time slots from Prometric and other testing centers, thereby limiting their on-site studies to major metropolitan areas.

Although the most intensive Job Seeker Feedback studies exclude most rural members of the labor force, that isn’t much of an impediment if enough country dwellers have a webcam so the JSF folk can monitor them -- when the NSA isn’t hogging the live feed! Then again, I’ll pass on that proposition!

Public eyes are watching you! They see your every move, baby! (Hall and Oates parody)

2) A compounding problem for Job Seeker Feedback is their horrible website. If you disbelieve me, then my annotated screen captures shall disabuse you of any contrary notions!

Exhibit 1: Cookie Cutter Home Page, Riddled with Errors!

The Job Seeker Feedback home page looks very generic and contains inconsistencies in capitalization and grammar.

Exhibit 2: Angst-Ridden Selfies of Staff on a Bad Hair Day!

The expressions on the visages of Job Seeker Feedback staff reveal traces of anxiety and doubt.

Exhibit 3: Awkward, Bumbling Unique Selling Proposition (USP)!

The Job Seeker Feedback overview page contains glaring grammatical gaffes that elicit great guffaws of, 'Good grief!'

Exhibit 4: Inappropriate Use of Latin to Obscure Incompetence!

Lingua 'Job Seeker Feedback F.A.Q.' discrepare contra sensus hominis laboris captare.

Exhibit 5: Demonstration of Primary Selling Point is Glitch-Ridden!

The Job Seeker Feedback staff don't know how to get their 'quick tests' running!

Exhibit 6: Refusal and/or Inability to Learn or Adapt!

The Job Seeker Feedback staff are rather resistant to constructive criticism!

Amicus Curie 1: Constructive Criticism!

A feedback group for those seeking jobs as budget and policy analyst? Perish the thought!

Amicus Curie 2: Confirmation of Received Suggestion!

Aspiring budget and policy analysts - including self-employed BPAs - do not qualify for a job seekers' focus group. Because New Dream, LLC is only the hosting service, any content, errors, and omissions are solely the fault of the Job Seeker Feedback staff. Who are they? Espy them below -- exposed for what they are!

Interactive Supplement 1: Monstrous Job Seeker Feedback Staff!

Job Seeker Feedback user experience (UX) crew, with aliases.

3) Finally, an obstinate refusal to acknowledge or utilize meta feedback is counter-intuitive for a firm called Job Seeker Feedback! If universities purport to teach one main idea -- besides the unquestioning embrace of diversity, except for those of confrontational personalities -- it is: Always learn what you can from everyone you meet!

Unfortunately for JSF, failure to grasp that concept means innumerable lessons are lost. Recounted below are verbatim messages that I sent directly to the JSF spokesperson. These demonstrate due diligence on my behalf to whip the Job Seeker Feedback project into shape.

Ultimately, those whom JSF interviews are best positioned to mention my article to staff, for the benefit of their eventual elucidation and a possible salvaging of what is presently a doomed endeavor (for the reasons thus described).

RE: Jobseekerfeedback (in response to the namesake LinkedIn group thread by The Tromp)
On 06/07/14 7:20 PM, Joseph Ohler, Jr. wrote to Tamlin Tromp:

I'm LOL’ing about all those who posted, “I’m interested!” without actually following the link and registering through the Job Seeker Feedback website. That probably explains why they're having a tough time!

As for me, it's been 4 years since I’ve had anything worth putting on a résumé -- I’m not counting Pizza Hut waiter or my 2-day stint working on an assembly line, where I developed tendonosis and was never placed again -- because no one wants to know me well enough to prep an employer for my application. That’s why it's always, “Who's this guy? We'll hire the person we know.”

I don’t need to be a mind reader to understand that goes on! And among the current cohort of graduates, those who did stay in touch with me don’t want to cash in their political chips on my behalf. Who knows what they say about me behind my back...

If you haven’t punched your monitor while reading about my situation, then you have more patience than most people I meet. They’re like, “Good luck!” and I'm like, “Enjoy your meaningless existence!”

Seriously, a lot of homeless people would do the jobs of employed people even better, but they don't “fit the mold.” They don’t make people feel “warm and fuzzy” inside, as the salespeople of finest fakery are wont to do.

Although I’m not homeless, that is not through my personal achievement but through the graciousness of family. The biggest opportunity right now is to draw upon my one clear strength: an ability to write in a manner both eloquent and primal.

At this point, I would feign consideration for your interests and ask, “How are you doing?” -- but I already know the stock response you'd give, being unable to emotionally commit to the hardships of the long-term unemployed, of the demimondaine who are an interpersonal half-world away.

When someone says, “I’m busy!” I then tell them, “I’m busier than you -- but at least you get paid!” That is an appropriate response to a bunch of smug, arrogant jerks who just happen to have a job.

Someone paid $50,000 might only be worth a tenth of that in actual, practical value. And many are virtually worthless from a human sense; even wicked people are nice to friends.

Who is nice to strangers? Do you refrain from slanting your eyes and wrinkling your nose when visiting the “off-putting” cousin of your husband on his uncle and aunt’s middle-of-nowhere manor?

If I had been in some office saying this, then I would have been escorted away by the second paragraph. But because this is the Internet and therefore a free speech forum, I spoke my mind to influence how you see the world.

Heed my words, Tromperoo, or Job Seeker Feedback shall remain mired in mediocrity!

10 days of silence transpired, during which I endeavored on miscellaneous tasks, one of which was the analysis of the many shortcomings shown in Tamlin’s terrible site.

I then sent a follow-up message on the morning of June 15th to give JSF staff -- not Joint Strike Fighter, but the Tromp and Troupe™ web crew ample time for fair rebuttal.

Because they declined to utilize this opportunity, I reiterated my findings directly to the PR pitchwoman who had been dispatched to various LinkedIn groups.

Your Funny Job Seeker Feedback Website
On 06/17/14 12:58 PM, Joseph Ohler, Jr. wrote to Tamlin Tromp:

Because you LIE on your “contact us” page by saying, “We respond within 48 hours, even on weekends!” -- I hereby re-send my June 15th message directly to bypass the webmaster:

I notice you use WordPress. In my experience, WP makes the customization process overly complicated because the bootstrap forces a bunch of includes to check each other for certain settings, and one wrench in the works grinds the site to a halt.

What should be easy tasks -- such as embedding “quick test” apps -- become a convoluted task of troubleshooting each component in the WP include hierarchy. Also, the sheer number of includes doubles the load time over a non-WP infrastructure that would be merely coded from scratch and then FTP’ed onto the server.

You end up spending more time removing fragile "features" from WP to prevent glitches than you do on getting the practice tests live -- not that the latter matters, unless considered by ATS designers alongside the non-practice feedback you receive.

(The practice tests might not be compensated, but they may be considered as part of the overall data picture for job application developers.)

In my “arrogance,” here are three unsolicited pieces of advice:

1) Although it's too early in the site's life to justify a migration from WP onto a platform-less “lean” infrastructure, fewer includes mean a better time for everyone involved.

In the meantime, append the text “(under development)” to the line, “Take one of your quick online tests” beneath the third icon on your home page. No one wants to waste his or her time clicking through to the page and waiting for it to load -- only to find there are no practice tests to take!

2) Your FAQ page is entirely in Latin and does not appear to actually address the subject matter of the questions in the headings when translated.

3) Your expectations page has minor typos that nonetheless have easy, one-minute fixes:

A) Insert the word “at” so that the fourth sentence reads, “You will be asked to look at a website or complete...”

B) Under the header “How to become a tester,” replace the comma with a semicolon, as in “Don’t be nervous; your perspective…” and “...plan for plenty of time to get there; late participants can be sent home.”

C) Stop the sentence altogether at “...late participants can be sent home.” If they are late, then the qualifier “if they are late” is redundant and therefore wasted space.

Let me know when you want more free advice, as I enjoy what I do.


I am now the registered owner of Although you will obviously pay more for it -- purchasing from me -- than what GoDaddy would charge, that is the price you pay for such incompetent planning on your behalf!

But you probably won’t bother buying the .net domain I hold, for your .com equivalent is already failing. “Good luck” in your future employment endeavors!

So much is wrong with the website, one can easily understand why the site founders are “entrepreneurs by necessity.” Even worse, as shown above: The founders are non-responsive to constructive criticism -- kind of reminds me of Honelife!

But whereas Honelife had a fairly experienced middle manager as a co-founder alongside a semi-proficient web developer, Job Seeker Feedback website is run by -- dare I say it again? -- n00bs with b00bs!

And that, appropriately enough, is just like a human resources department hiring candidates for unfamiliar positions; those which none in the selection committee ever worked but for a day, let alone long enough to grasp what is needed to play to the strengths of an already strong candidate. It would be like a political science graduate recruiting for engineering firms.

Closer to home for many readers, the HR hacks behind are akin to a visibly out-of-shape HR assistant claiming to be a better judge of a potential laborer’s on-the-job durability than the man who has trained his wrists with over 500 repetitions of weighted wrist exercises, every 3 days (to allow for muscle cells to regrow and thereby prevent injury), in preparation for such an opportunity.

It’s one thing to be written off by an expert who has been responsible for not only hiring organization-wide but also worked in most positions for which s/he hires. But it’s unacceptable to be dismissed by amateurs who proclaim each other to be “experts,” when their CVs are more transparent than the paper on which they’re written!

Job Seeker Feedback cannot bear to interview me, for I already know more -- than those pretenders! -- about the various Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) implemented throughout most national and many regional organizations. To wit: Chew on my Taleo Universal Profile (TUP) ATS review! A team of 4 has not yet produced what I have in solitaire.

Conclusion: The folks at Job Seeker Feedback are unlikely to respond to you, so don’t bother. The only thing they’re good for, as of this writing, is for an elaborate laugh -- such as what I’ve provided today.

Yet, I’ve published this article with the intent of creating public pressure against the misguided precepts and flawed implementation underlying the Job Seeker Feedback business model. Spread this information far and wide via strategic social sharing and indiscriminate word of mouth!