March 12, 2017

Job searching

Job application process in Germany - not exactly Agile... 

Currently I am between projects, and hence I am looking for a new position or a new project - preferably a fixed one. 

While I am flexible when it comes to location I would prefer to stay in Germany, at least now. I like Düsseldorf, I wouldn't mind staying here, but I also don't mind moving. 

Companies are also looking for staff, not the least in IT. OK, many of them are looking for programmers and I am not a programmer even if I have a good conceptual understanding of programming and even if I do know a bit - it's been a very long time since I did anything in that field - I got pulled into sysadmin, database management and so forth when I first started, and even that was quite a while ago - I have been doing a lot of project management, and the list of IT projects is long. 

And there are a lot of interesting positions out there. 

Yet there are a lot of positions I never apply to.

Many German companies are, sadly, missing out on a lot of good people, simply by being too stuck in their ways, many claim to want to be agile - but the HR process is anything BUT agile. 

If I can send a personal letter and my CV, I am happy. 

If I have to register in a database, where they require me to give in every piece of information about myself, before I even know if they are interested in someone with my profile or not - I am not going to waste my time.
It's not just time consuming, it's also about data privacy!
The application databases; Nowhere do they tell me, before I register, what they are doing with my data, who has access to it, how do they check it and keep it safe. In most cases I can't even find out after I register! 

It is crazy

I have only registered in a few cases, most of the time I simply move on, it's just too time consuming and there are so many other interesting jobs out there.

And I haven't even started talking about the mandatory data that can really be misused if ending up in the wrong hands:

  • Birth data - fine if I have the CHOICE, not OK when mandatory - and besides, if a company has already decided before hand what age you are supposed to have there is no point in applying anyhow.
"Too young, she can't have the experience". "Too old, she will be too stuck in her ways". "Too much in fertile age, she'll just hurry up, get pregnant and go on maternity leave". And do you know how many times in Germany I have to give for example my Internet provider my birth date to identify myself when talking to them?

I am not going to put that information in random databases, managed by I don't know whom, spreading information to I don't know where, I have been too involved in data privacy and IT security for that.

Plus, it feels too much like I am signing up for a dating site, not to find a new position. 

  • And full address details - why? City, OK, even if we candidates are generally flexible, we wouldn't apply if we weren't interested in the location, would we - but why street address?  Again - the systems are potentially spreading my information around and full address is only ever relevant when it is time to actually sign a contract, and hardly then. 
  • Photo is another thing many companies in Germany ask for - it used to be mandatory but it is slowly starting to change, luckily.  I do not want to work for a company where my looks matter (or where they can't use Google or look at LinkedIn for my photo if that is necessary). Have you got ANY idea how uncomfortable applying using a photo makes me as a woman? Yes, I get it, when it is time for an interview they will anyhow see me/what I look like but that is different - by then they have seen my CV, hopefully spoken to me as well. I am even OK if they snap a photo of me when I am there, so they can remember who's who when they talk about the interviews but before that? Nonsense. I will never send a photo with an application. 
  • Did I mention many want you to fill in whether you are single, in a relationship, married etc. In their DATABASE. It is apparently common to have that in your CV in Germany? I can't think of ANY situation where that would be of ANY relevance to an employer. 
However it's not just about data and data privacy. It takes hours to fill in all these databases, time I can definitely use more wisely - just because I am between major projects doesn't mean I can waste my time in front of the computer filling in databases for HR people who cannot read a CV. I have things to learn, courses to take, smaller projects I am working on an quite a few other things happening. 


If the old traditional companies in Germany are going to stand a chance in the competition and be able to attract the brainpower, also in the future, the HR processes really need to change, and so do HR. If you claim to want to work agile - let that show in ALL parts of the organisation.

Be aware that we, the applicants, judge you as well. 

Do it right, and it is a win-win - but don't waste our time. If you want to have the database where we do the work for you, fine, but either offer an alternative where we can send in our CV/resume and a letter, or  be aware that you miss candidates who really don't feel it's worth their time. 

By the way: Since I, like many others, have my own domain(s), I register with unique mail addresses every time I register for something. It is SCARY to see how much information that is leaking across, and how often I get newsletters and other spam where I can immediately see who it was that leaked, based on what mail the sender used...
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Photos have nothing to do with the post really, I just wanted to have illustrations, and water just seems to have a calming effect - although I added a photo of myself, for those companies who DO have HR people who knows how to use Google... 








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