Computers can be cruel

Watching both my sons struggle to get fully employed has been painful for them….and me. The online application process is just out of control. There’s no personal interaction-the applicant tosses their resume into the pre-programmed decision making tree which is designed to scan for key words and employers are inundated with resumes which spit out a few “lucky” applicants chosen to continue to run the gauntlet of virtually begging for a position they are often over qualified for. Such is the current state of the economy and well, rejection is just part of the game.

Yesterday, I applied for a position at a large healthcare hospital system in Chicago… Advocate. I upload my resume and complete the tedious application because I know how it goes. I submit the application and almost immediately I get an email saying I need to take a “Patient Experience Profile” within 72 hours. I know how this works, their computer has scanned my application and determined that I meet the basic requirements. So, I open up the link they sent me and it says there’s no right or wrong answer just try to pick the “best” answer. I go through the 50-60 “questions” -some are 3 words like compassionate, determined and frugal (?) which of these describes you best and which least.  A bunch of other questions ask how many times you’ve had unexcused absences or how would your co-workers/supervisor describe you. It’s all really ambiguous and annoying but I muddle though.

So keeping in mind that they say there are no right or wrong answers- imagine my surprise when I finish and get the following message:

Thank you for completing Advocate’s Patient Experience Profile.

Candidates must receive a passing score in order to continue in the selection process. At this time, you will not move forward in the selection process for positions that have patient contact. You will be eligible to re-take this assessment in six months. Until then, you may apply for a position that does not require patient contact.

Clearly there are right and wrong answers??

I am really starting to understand what my sons have been putting up with. I obviously have  a very good job and this gives me some insulation from the harshness of this message but what about people who are desperately trying to get a foot in the door?

Today I got the same message in an email and here is my reply:

Dear Advocate Health Care Recruitment,
I have provided compassionate and professional care to all of my patients, received positive feedback from colleagues and outstanding performance evaluations from managers over the past 20 years.
I have never been so insulted and degraded in my whole career as to be told by a computer that I am incompetent for a position with patient contact.
I am truly shocked and speechless.
Regards, Tracy A
To think this all took place over the weekend without any human intervention whatsoever. I wouldn’t want to work at a place that treats people like that anyway…

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