I recently did a 30-minute radio interview about how social science research can improve the job search on a delightful radio show called The Measure of Everyday Life on WNCU (90.7) in Durham, NC. The show is devoted to exploring the interesting ways social science research can be applied to improve the human condition.
It’s a fast-moving and fun conversation, and we covered a number of job search topics not included in the book as well (including how social science can help you answer “Tell me about yourself,” which I described in a recent Huffington Post article here).
One highlight of the conversation was about how new technology can distract job seekers from simpler yet far more impactful tasks. (question at 8:10, comments below at 9:30):
I think tech can be seen as a red herring… [it can be used to] postpone the really scary part of the job search [networking], where you face rejection, where you reach out to strangers and ask them for their help, where you get ignored time and time again.
* I enjoyed some free therapy about my own “accidental” (or iterative) career path at 20:12.
* I compare the modern job search to hurling yourself into a clear plexiglass wall at 21:36.
[Because of online job postings] People feel like they’re five feet away from the job of their dreams, but in reality they’re separated by a six-inch pane of plexiglass that goes as far and wide as the eye can see…
Every time people apply to an online job posting, they’re hurling themselves into that plexiglass wall… You’ve got to walk around it, but [career coaches must] give infrastructure… a backpack full of water and food to help [job seekers] start that journey and to give an alternative to hurling themselves into that wall.
* I discuss the “defensive job search” at 24:00, where job seekers prioritize quantity of job search efforts over quality (because loved ones mistakenly equate quantity — like # of resumes dropped — with the degree of effort, despite its low correlation to success).
[Job seekers have a low expectation of success, so] people do a very defensive job search, and by that I mean they’re job searching not for success but for stats: how many resumes did you submit today? how many hours did you spend?
To me, that’s devastating because people are trying to win social proof through their efforts rather than actually be successful — they know [online job postings] are black holes, but they just don’t know what else to do.
* I suggest what universities can do to better prepare a new generation of workers at 25:55