The evolution of my job search

My career today mostly involves freelancing as a website designer, developer, and consultant. While I maintain the sites of nearly 20 different clients, and I work on three to four major projects per year, I keep my toes in the employment search waters. I have my name listed with probably a half-dozen recruiters specializing in placing creative types such as myself. Unfortunately, as I wrote earlier, the technical aspect of my work dominates the creative, leaving me spending less time doing actual design.

In the past six years listed with these agencies, I’ve landed exactly one pleasant three-week gig with a small agency that went nowhere. Otherwise, I’ve interviewed with prospective employers about maybe twice a year. Back in the day, when I straddled the fence about continuing with my magazine, I often interviewed at least a dozen times per year. Clearly, the landscape has changed.

My current reality involves receiving calls from a recruiter every nine months or so — always with a new person. It seems that whenever a new hire comes on board, I get a call as they go through their predecessor’s files. We invariably have a happy, hopeful conversation, where they remark about my impressive background and experience. Most times they mention a client that is looking for someone with my skills. Then… crickets. I’ve grown so accustomed to this farce, I almost laugh during these calls.

Last week, this happened again. A fresh face from Workbridge Associates, which I first contacted five years ago but hadn’t heard much from in the past few years, called me to talk about my availability. At the end of the lively conversation, the recruiter asked me to come into the office to “meet the team”. She had a client that wanted someone with my skillset. We set a date and a time, and I waited for the promised email confirmation — which didn’t come.

Last Monday morning, I woke up and sent this recruiter a message via LinkedIn two hours before the appointed time asking for that confirmation with the agency’s address. The recruiter called me about a half hour later, blaming the bad weather for her delayed response. However, the enthusiasm on display the previous week had evaporated and turned into buyer’s remorse.

“We don’t really have an opportunity that fits your skillset.”

Someone stunned, I nevertheless pressed on. “Well, we talked about having me come in to meet with your team. I know the weather is awful, so I can come in tomorrow if you prefer. Or whatever.”

“I’m not sure that’s really necessary, but we’ll certainly keep you in mind if something comes up.”

“Yeah. Okay.”

And that was that.

With plenty of experience in the job search, I know well enough to let these setbacks roll off my my back, but this particular instance bothered me. I never sent a recruiter a “Randy-Gram”, but this time it was different.

I find what happened this morning unacceptable. When I discussed with your associate a potential opportunity, she specifically requested that I take the time to come into your office to meet with your team. We set not only the date, but also the time — 10 A.M. — for us to meet. Despite the weather, I was fully prepared to set aside what would have been two-to-three hours of my morning at your office.

Whatever signals got crossed between Friday and this morning potentially caused me a huge inconvenience, and in any setting, would have been considered unprofessional, if not disrespectful.

While I’ve received exactly zero placements from Workbridge to this date, I’ve always remained hopeful that something might match my skills. However, it’s clear to me that your team has little interest my skillset, much less understanding their depth and breadth enough to present them properly. This clearly is not only a loss for your firm, but also for your clients.

Respectfully, please remove me from your database and do not contact me in the future.

Let’s hope this is a learning experience for you.

Maybe this is the end of my employability. Maybe not.