SimplyHired lets job seekers be picky in a recession

Dog at workAs the recession lowers the bar on job searches, leaving many people who are out of work willing to take just about any job they're qualified for, it's nice to see that at least one job search engine is giving job hunters the chance to be picky. -- which searches job boards and Web sites of private companies, the government and non-profits -- has some fun filters to make finding the right job easier.

The special searches can be for companies that are friendly to dogs, moms, people 50 and older, gay, veterans, have a diverse workplace or one that is nice to the environment.
You can't combine the filters -- such as if you're a 55-year-old gay woman with a dog who recycles and is a war veteran -- but you can find companies with job openings in one area and then go from there on your other requirements.

With the national unemployment rate at 9.8% and the total unemployment rate at 17% if the underemployed and others are included, I question if job seekers can be so choosy. At the very least, filtering out companies that aren't dog friendly, for example, eliminates a lot of job prospects.

A recent search on SimplyHired for sales jobs in California turns up 54,087 positions. From there, the special searches lower the pool to 355 at dog-friendly companies, 432 for eco-friendly companies and 35 for companies that are friendly to people 50 and older.

"There still are people who have a value set where they've been looking for jobs with a particular value," SimplyHired President and Chief Operating Officer Dion Lim told me in a telephone interview.

More power to them.

Defining how a company is dog friendly is easy enough -- employers are listed if you can bring your dog to work or if you can work from home to care for a pet. But how do you define the other filters, such as if a company is helpful to people 50 and older?

Here are details on some the criteria that SimplyHired and its partners use in narrowing job searches: lists socially responsible companies that make it easy to live a healthy, green lifestyle.

Fortune Best companies is a list of the 100 best companies to work for as profiled by "Fortune" magazine.

Mom friendly:Working Mother Magazine gives information about companies that help women advance and to balance work and family.

Veteran friendly: Lists employers who take affirmative action to employ and advance veterans in accordance with affirmative action programs, the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act and the Jobs for Veterans Act.

Diversity friendly: DiversityInc's list of top 50 companies for diversity by surveying companies to track their culture.

GLBT friendly: The Human Rights Campaign has a list of the best companies to work for that support equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

50+ evaluates employers on criteria such as flexible hours, health benefits, training and a culture that is free of age bias.

In talking with Lim, I assumed that many people would want to work somewhere that offered flexible hours and health care benefits, as the 50+ friendly filter does in helping narrow companies, but it's not so, he said.

"People who are younger, that's not as important to them," Lim said of health benefits.

Some SimplyHired users have asked for filters on economic stimulus jobs, which Lim said he's considering. For now the site's blog does a good job of highlighting green jobs created by the U.S. government stimulus plan.

The site has other features that make it easy to use and useful in many other ways. Average salaries for the job you're looking for are available, as are employment trends and LinkedIn integration.

But if you're looking for a job and really want to bring your dog to work, the filters at SimplyHired will make your job search a lot easier. Or you can leave the dog at home and increase your chances.

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Reach him at
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