The Ohio unemployment system does not work well for the jobless upper level executive. A close relative was downsized from a corporate management position nearly one year ago. He went from a very stable income to $350 in weekly unemployment benefits. The most difficult part of the process is watching him do all the things to qualify for unemployment benefits while at the same time doing what is really required to land an executive level job in Cleveland, Ohio.
Let’s start with unemployment. The basic rules for Ohio are:
- You need to apply for at least 2 jobs a week to qualify for the benefit. This is great if you are looking for work in retail or a factory. Just walk in and fill out an application. You can meet the minimum requirement in a few hours. On Sunday you report the applications. All it takes to meet the demands of unemployment are a phone book, transportation, and a pen.
- Go to required seminars. They are a joke. Basic resume writing is perfect for someone without a high school diploma and no computer skills. It’s worthless for the high level executive. It takes time away from the important work of networking so you can collect your pittance each week. No wonder Ohio is on the bottom rung of the income ladder.
It is a bit different for the person trying to find an upper level position. There is no Cleveland job market for upper level jobs. It is a full time job to discover an opening. You may have outplacement services from your prior job. You also need to find networking groups, and participate by attend weekly meetings and events.
Job applications are always online using outdated software. Once the application is submitted the serious work begins. You need to get your resume in front of a decision maker. This often involves more than 8 hours a day, every day, for a single job application.
The true injustice is that the unemployment process only values job applications, not the real networking efforts to get the application seen. They can’t be measure that with the antiquated systems. Government gives no credit for the work of finding the job. All that matters to them is the number of weekly applications. That statistic plays well in the media.
If you are one of the lucky few to actually get an interview, the work really starts. Landing a job in the Cleveland job market requires interviews without end, but I get ahead of myself. This person was a hiring manager in a former life. He is familiar with the behavioral interview process. That means researching the company, researching the interviewer, and preparing for the questions. Each interview takes days of preparation. Don’t forget, in spite of all this effort, you still need your two applications each week to keep the government happy.
I’ve never applied for a job that required more than a single interview. To find a manager level job in Cleveland you just about need to interview anyone who has heard the name of the company. At one he had 11 interviews.
A retired friend in southern Ohio decided to reenter the work force. He identified a position, applied, and they selected him for interview. After the 5th interview, he withdrew from consideration. He told them that any company that requires more than 5 interviews to fill a simple manager job has more problems than he can help them fix.
The most demeaning parts of the process are:
- You find something for which you are well qualified; you spend the hours to submit the online application and to tailor your resume, only to be told the position is being filled internally. The job description specifically called for an outside candidate.
- You have an interview, it goes very well, and you are told you are moving forward to the next level in the process and that is it. You never hear from that company again, and your emails and calls are not returned.
It hurts, and you don’t know why it is happening to you. The strength of the networking groups is that you learn it is not you. It is happening to everyone.
PS: The relative I write about did land a position (not at the company he interviewed 11 times where his application is still open.) Regardless of what you might hear on the news, the professional job market in Cleveland stinks. The weekly networking groups are filled with highly qualified executives for whom Cleveland does not have work.