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A Cross-National Comparison

A Cross-National Comparison

The Israeli Specs Game

(p.86) Chapter Four A Cross-National Comparison
Flawed System/Flawed Self
Ofer Sharone
University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the role of Israeli labor market institutions in structuring the Israeli white-collar job search process. The chapter begins with a brief overview of Israel’s recent political-economic transformation from corporatism to neoliberalism, with a particular focus on the forces reshaping its labor-market institutions. The rest of the chapter describes the two Israeli labor-market institutions that have emerged in this political-economic context to shape the hiring process: staffing agencies and pre-employment testing institutes. These institutions have given rise to the specs game, a distinct set of job search discourses, practices, and strategies that focus on job seeker’s objective credentials, or factors assumed to be proxies for credentials or the lack thereof such as age, gender or gaps in one’s resume. As in the U.S., coexisting alongside the dominant specs game are other job search discourses and practices which shed light on the nature of the relationship between institutions and culture.

Keywords:   Israel, neoliberalism, staffing agencies, pre-employment testing, age discrimination, resume gaps, social networks, participant-observations

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