Djcnor’s Weblog

Jobhunting #2

Posted on: January 20, 2009

Excuse me, but applications are getting out of hand. I do wish someone would explain to me why an application to be an on-call manner of a window at the post office should take three hours. That’s really not counting all the time. First, the job was posted at the unemployment office (Job Centre Plus it is here) with directions to come to the post office to pick up an application. I did. There I was told that the application could only be gotten on-line. One hour swallowed. So I went home and set myself to download it.

But NO! Even to be allowed to fill out the application, I had to pass a series of multiple choice questions about how selflessly I would sacrifice my own time for the good of the post office. Finally, I was approved to be allowed to fill in the application.

Detail seemed to be extremely important, especially in terms of dates. I was expected to provide an exact record of my work over the past five years, including the times when I was not working, complete with exact dates. The same applied to where I’d lived over the past five years. I had no idea of the date on which I had started and ended a temp job I had in my first year here. I wouldn’t have known the beginning date of my main job had the agency handling my pay not been able to tell me it. It just doesn’t matter that much in US applications. The same applied to my living arrangements. I had no idea of the exact date I moved into the Bronx apartment I had before I moved to the UK. I was lucky to even remember the address, especially the zip code. I ask you, exactly how does knowing the exact dates of these things have anything to do with my ability to do this job?

In addition, there were about ten of the types of questions you get in interviews like how you sold someone something they hadn’t wanted when they first came in, and how you handled an especially difficult customer. Having worked in an atmosphere with customers only a few months out of my life, I have to get pretty creative with the quite respectable jobs I have had. The hardest was the one about when I had exceeded a target. Let’s see. I’ve been a research scientist and totally set my own targets. I’ve worked in publishing where the target is turning a manuscript into a book. What more can you do? I’ve worked in textile design in woman’s fashion where the object is to provide exactly what you will sell, preferrably no less, but certainly not more, and in tune with the current trends, not those earlier or later.

Still, I finally managed to work my way through the thing, declaring that I hadn’t learned much from the two jobs I’ve held in England, since they had nothing at all to do with any of my qualifications or interests and I was old enough to have long since learned the basics of holding down a job. That in itself may disqualifiy me of course. God help me, I tell the truth about such things. I sent off the application.

Not two minutes later, an e-mail came back notifying me that I was now eligible to undergo a further on-line assessment. Ah yes, the interminable series of personality questions. But to get them, I had to turn off the pop-up blocker on my computer and risk it’s security for long enough to answer them.

I will not be at all surprised if they put me through three levels of interviews before they make their decisions, if not even more games and competitions. It’s not over yet.

There was still a bit of the day left, so I headed out to walk a part of the town in search of store windows about open positions. My nine separate CV’s in hand (general, writing, science writing, science, publishing, design, teaching, retail, and “Pink”, more on “Pink” later). My procedure is also to visit and leave a CV with each recruitment office or temp visit I happen upon along the way.

There were three and a half. Each said times were slow and they would see if they could do anything at all. They didn’t sound very positive. The last told me that I had to go to another of their branches which specialized in my kind of position. I asked what kind of position they had in mind for me. I had mentioned advertising or marketing, for which I have a lot of appropriate skills. We’ll see.

On the way, I went past a charity shop that, for a donation to charity, posts valentines on their window. Remembering a website about a guy who printed a shirt with “I need a job!” on one side and his qualifications on the other, I did something similar. My valentine says “I need a job! (See back for experience.) P.S. Love to [my darling husband]” with my areas of experience, a first name and a contact number on the back.

I continued on to my target street. I found numerous empty buildings, a vast quality of used furniture shops, and that the sewing/needlework shop had downsized to a location one third of its original size. The other shop had no customers.

Perhaps I’ll talk about the “Pink” CV tomorrow. Anyone want to add any absurd experiences of their own?

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Djcnor’s Weblog

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