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The Sloppy Seconds Job Posting, Hamster World Version

Posted in Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on October 13, 2010
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PhotobucketRecently, Arnold described one of his experiences with a job posting that kept popping up again, year after year, never to be filled. After explaining his history interviewing for the job, he writes, “I’m passing on this position [this year], because I actually don’t believe in getting a second bite at what’s essentially the same apple.”

For those of you who want to make the leap from the Academic World to the Hamster World, you’ll soon discover that “sloppy seconds” job postings exist out there, too. One of our commenters wisely noted that repeated job postings are not necessarily the sign of a bad department, and that’s a good point to make regarding the academic world. As for the Hamster World, there’s a much greater chance that a repeated job posting is a red flag. Here’s why:

They’re not paying enough. Even with the bad economy, the job situation isn’t quite as dire as it is for academics, and most Hamsters won’t take a significant pay cut unless they need the money right away. If you don’t know what you’re worth, join Glassdoor, where you can look at salaries for your position at other companies in your area. Yes, I sound like an ad for Glassdoor, but the information that it provides helps keep you from–pardon me–getting screwed.

They’re dramatical. If they didn’t find what they were looking for the first time around, particularly in a bad job market when some really talented people are applying for work, something’s up. Either someone on the hiring team is fussy or there are obvious signs that it’s a bad place to work, no matter what the pay is.

They have high turnover. Some companies are better at hiding their problems during the interview process, or a person really really needs cash. So the person takes the job and discovers that the drama and the bullying isn’t worth it. The second the economy gets better or improves, that person will bail.

Of course, every situation is different. A person might take a job and then their spouse gets transferred to a new city. High turnover for a single position might not mean a workplace is a snake pit. So if a job keeps on coming up, you’ll need to ask around your network or even ask tough questions in the interview to get the full story.

Image of leftover pizza by Rick Audet from Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.

2 Responses to 'The Sloppy Seconds Job Posting, Hamster World Version'

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  1. missdisplaced said,

    I’ve often wondered about this myself. Having been laid off now for almost two years, I have begun seeing postings I applied for, or even interviewed for re-posted. It’s hard not to wonder.

    Who did they hire? What happened? Did they even hire?

    I have also noticed a position that is still posted after 6 months, where they apparently hired no one (I know someone at the company) and the case is they are being too picky. I even offered my design services on a contract basis, because the company was close by but they appear to keep wanting a search for the elusive “perfect” person. Something wrong here. Something IS wrong at that company. PASS

  2. Sad that this happens, but great advice — better to do the research on this one in the first place than find out the hard way!

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