Adventures in job hunting: a clarification

I know that my adventures in job hunting series can, for the most part, come across as quite negative. Anyone who’s been unemployed for any length of time is aware that job hunting is quite stressful and can be filled with a lot of false leads, unfortunate events and people who just don’t seem willing to be honest and up front about what they’re looking for.

This is not to say there aren’t positives in this process. Because there are. But I like to talk about the negatives and rant about the employers who seem to be conducting their hiring processes all wrong because, quite frankly, I know I’m not alone. These types of things happen to everyone.

Through the past few months, being selected as one of the final two candidates several times, getting hired and then having my job offer rescinded (due to “corporate restructuring”) and so on and so forth, I’ve learned to be a little more mum about the things I’m excited about… the things I’m hopeful for. Why? Because when I get excited, it often ends in disappointment. Actually, since I’m still technically unemployed, I’m batting 0 for the year and, it always ends in disappointment. That doesn’t mean these weren’t good experiences though. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good HR people out there. That doesn’t mean that nothing good ever comes from job hunting.

For me, it’s hard to get my hopes up, to get excited about it and to really believe it’s going to happen only to have my dreams quashed when they ‘take a different route’. That’s not to say I have any negative feelings or ill-will towards that company, that’s just to say they didn’t want me.

There are good people working in HR. I’m sorry if it comes across as my bashing HR. I have had good experiences. There are good hiring managers in this world. I’m sorry if it comes across as my consistently bashing these workers. Because in spite of all the idiots and assholes I cross paths with, there are some really good ones in this world.

It’s just, when I’m dealing with the disappointment of making it all the way to being final two and then I don’t get selected, it’s tough to then turn around and tell stories of my consistently not being good enough. For that reason, ‘Adventures in Job Hunting’ tends to be a series more about the epic failures of companies that I cross paths with in this unemployment journey. Adventures in Job Hunting is all about the struggles that I, and all too many people go through to try and find a job. It is by no means a reflection of job hunting as a whole.

I just like to vent about the shitty stuff, the assholes and the liars. Because venting about it helps me get over it and move on faster.

Because… I’m onto the next. I’m not giving up. I can’t give up. Someone, somewhere out there is going to realize my value and what I could bring to their office. Someone is going to know they need to hire me. Until they do though, I’m sure there’ll be many more ‘Adventures in Job Hunting’ posts to come.

Sorry, not sorry. That’s life.

Adventures in job hunting: I got an actual apology!

At 11:22 this morning, I get the following email:

Hello [CANDIDATE_FIRSTNAME],

Thank you for applying to our Junior Marketing Coordinator opportunity at [X Company].

We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to review and apply to our organization. For this position, we received a high volume of candidates and although your qualifications were impressive, we will not be moving forward with your application at this time. Please feel free to apply to other opportunities that become available with [X Company]

We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Kind regards,

Holly [——–] , HR Manager

The email was indeed addressed to ‘CANDIDATE_FIRSTNAME’. I edited out the company name and her last name for privacy reasons. She may suck at her job but I still don’t want to be mean enough to publicly put her on blast. Anyways, my rejection email came addressed to “Candidate_FirstName”.

Naturally, my first thought was “Wow, they couldn’t even take the extra step to insert my actual name in the form field for the automatic response they send to candidates they’re not considering!”

COOL!

I clearly didn’t get considered for this position at all. Which is sad because I spent over a half hour on the application. What a waste of my time…

At 11:37 am, I get another email:

Hello [My Actual Full Name Used],

My sincere apologies for the recent email I sent you. Unfortunately the template did not update correctly to insert your name and for that I am truly sorry.  

Regards,

Holly [——–] , HR Manager

Okay, so she apologized. Do I give her credit? I mean, at least she apologized. On the other hand, she is still sending out pretty tone-deaf generic emails to people and form-filling their names so she doesn’t even have to type them in. So, does she really get credit for not being able to do the one and only step required to sending a rejection email?

I spent a half hour to submit my application and had to submit three references up front and she couldn’t even form-fill my name in the rejection email? LOL What is life?

Some days… some days I feel like I’m really wasting my time with this whole working world. I think I’m just going to run away to the Seychelles and sell fruit on the beach for the rest of my days…

Sincerely,

CANDIDATE_FIRSTNAME (lol)

Hello… can you hear me?

Sometimes I feel like people just really don’t hear me when I talk. Like they ignore me because I’ve somehow become ‘that person’ in everyone’s life… that person that people roll their eyes at, that person that people laugh about because they’re so damn stupid and they just don’t realize it.

I guess it’s just one of those days.

Grin and bear it, right? Tomorrow will be better, right?

Adventures in job hunting: I’m burning bridges all over the place!

This post is in follow up to “The Phone Interview”.

During this phone interview, the HR Manager who was doing hiring for the position told me that I was one of the final five candidates and that, because I was only one of five, they would contact me whether I was selected or not. She said, I will contact you by October 4th, no matter what, to let you know the outcome. And the outcome will be one of three things:

  1. You are selected for an in-person interview and we ask you to come out.
  2. You are not selected for an in-person interview and we wish to let you know so that you’re not left wondering.
  3. The hiring process gets put on hold for a few weeks. The boss of this position is heavily pregnant and could go into labour any day. Though she’s not taking a maternity leave, she may need a few days off when she has the baby to recover.

I’m including the fact that they promised they’d contact me REGARDLESS of the outcome, because it’s an important piece to this story.

October 4th came and went and I heard nothing. Not a thing.

I thought to myself, ‘Okay maybe they’re busy. But, she said that she really liked me, so perhaps I’ll wait and see if they contact me on Monday (Oct 7). After Monday, then I’ll reach out’.

October 7th came and went and I heard nothing.

On October 8th I decided to send over a quick email. It was something along the lines of “Hi! Just wondering if the phone interview process had wrapped up yet? I know you’d mentioned I’d hear from you about the outcomes on Oct 4, so I just wanted to check in! Hope things are going well. Thanks!” It was just more so meant to be a brief ‘Hi! Remember me?’ type of email.

On October 8th, about an hour after sending that email I got an email back that said:

‘Hi Vee (my real name used), We had some delays in the process last week so we’re still conducting phone interviews this week. We’ll be in touch once phone interviews are finished this week to let all candidates know if they were selected for an in-person interview or not. Great to see you’re so excited about the position! Will be in touch on Friday.”

So, I waited. Somewhere in here I went to a really useless job fair. I kept applying for other jobs, but my fingers were crossed with this one. It would have been a really cool position. It was one I knew that I was more than qualified for. I thought, with how well I’d impressed them, that I’d at least scored myself an in-person interview so that I could really wow them.

Oct 11th (the end of that week) came and went and I heard nothing.

October 18th (the end of the next week) came and went and I heard nothing.

On Oct 20th (Sunday) I decided to send another email – something I figured they’d find on Monday morning and hopefully respond to. At this point I was presuming they had counted me out for the position and were just hoping I forgot about them. But truthfully, I didn’t want to let them off the hook that easily. I really cared about this position and I didn’t want to just disappear.

I sent an email, a very brief email, that said “Hi there, I haven’t heard from you in a couple of weeks. Is this hiring process still ongoing? If it is, that’s great! But if it isn’t, could you please tell me so that I don’t have to keep wondering when someone is going to contact me?’

On Oct 21st I get an email.

“Hi Vee (full name used), We’re sorry to inform you that a candidate was hired for this position on October 10th.”

The email went on to give two more paragraphs of token HR bullshit – you know the whole ‘You’re a strong candidate and we were really impressed with your skills and qualifications’ and ‘Don’t give up. We have no doubt you’ll be a great success in your career endeavors.’ Just the typical HR language for ‘Please fuck off!’

I was mad.

It wasn’t even that I didn’t get the position. At this stage of the year, I’m well used to rejection and not being selected. I know the feeling of being rejected all too well and I can deal with that.

What pissed me off was that they promised me they were going to contact me NO MATTER WHAT, and then I got ghosted. What pissed me off was that they didn’t bother to contact me unless I initiated the conversation. They hired someone on the 10th, and I didn’t get to hear about it until I email them on the 20th.

Is this how job hunting works these days? Do I literally have to beg to find out that I wasn’t selected for a job? Why couldn’t she just fire off a quick email that said ‘Hi Vee, we’ve hired someone’? Why couldn’t she just phone me? Or text me? Or send me a carrier pigeon? What’s with this notion that… if we don’t contact a candidate then they’ll forget about us…?

Angry at their complete lack of communication, professionalism and candor, I wrote a finely worded email back to her. Content of this email included:

Stating you’re going to communicate with candidates for any and all outcomes and then ghosting them is extremely disrespectful and a big part of what makes unemployment so difficult for so many people.

Also:

I wish you the best with the candidate hired I hope they bring great benefit to the organization and that you have nothing but success with them at the helm. I also hope that you change your attitude towards how you treat all candidates in the future.All candidates deserve a lot better treatment than I’ve been given in this process.

There were some other paragraphs in there too, but I’m keeping the brief points because of cataloging. Bottom line – though I wanted to call her out, tell her all sorts of nasty comments, I tried to keep it as professionally constructive as possible.

Am I burning a bridge with this email that I sent to them? Probably. Should I have even sent it? Probably not. I guess I just don’t care at this point. I’m passed a point in my life where I’m willing to tolerate this behaviour. Potential employers need to be called out for their bullshit. If no one calls them out, they continue with these stupid actions and continue to get away with it. I can absolutely respect a company that is up front about rejection. I cannot respect a company that just chooses not to contact you and hopes you forget about them when you don’t get selected.

Anyways, I guess my email struck a chord. I was called this afternoon. I didn’t have my phone with me at the time so they left a voicemail.

The four minute long voicemail explained that ‘If a company decides they do not want to contact candidates who’ve already been interviewed for a job, they’re not required to do so and that I don’t get to tell them how to conduct business.’ They also went on to say that my email was extremely unprofessional to send to them and perhaps I should consider my own behaviours as a contributing factor to why I am still unemployed.

Alright. Got it. You told me I was one of only five candidates, promised me you’d contacted me NO MATTER WHAT, ghosted me, and I’m the asshole. I guess I’ll be the asshole then. Hey, if I need to be the asshole, I’ll take one for the team.

If you don’t want someone to call you out for lying then don’t promise to contact a candidate no matter the outcome… You didn’t have to say that. You didn’t have to say that you’d ever contact me again. You promised, though, that you would.

Do I regret sending the email? Not at all. Will I be working for them, or any of their ‘friends’ any time in the future? Not likely. Will they take a new approach to hiring? Probably not. I would hope they do. But, if I know anything about the human race, my email made them mad enough to leave me a nasty voicemail but not mad enough to think they did anything wrong.

Ideas for the most incredible jobs on earth.

I’m job hunting today. Well, I’m job hunting every day, but today my mind has been wandering and it’s been hard to get back on track. In my ideal world, this is what my career prospects look like:

Airline Tester. Go with me on this… wouldn’t it be an incredible resource to have one database, one place, somewhere on the internet that broke down the important aspects of flying with different airlines? Things like customer service, food quality, amount of leg room, cabin space for carry-on baggage, hidden fees and so on and so forth… For the people of which money is not an issue, having a resource that shows them the incredible ‘benefits’ they could get with certain airlines they won’t get with others would likely be a very valuable list. And for those looking for the ‘best bang for our buck’, when tickets can so often be the same, or very close in price with multiple airlines, I think it would be a great resource to help people find the best, cheapest option so they don’t have to gamble and hope for the best. And no, this person cannot be a Youtube star or ‘Influencer’ of any kind because this list needs to be done in a manner that is not sponsored in any way, shape or form.

Google Earth Mapper. I think it would be very cool to spend my time driving through neighbourhoods and locales around the world capturing footage of that place to ensure their images get added to google earth. Sure, it does seem like a lot of places are presently on Google Earth already. But I can attest that in my area of the world, at least, small towns have largely been ignored for google earth. And that, I’m betting is a part of the project Google will get to eventually. It’s likely they’ve just focused on major locales first, and slowly trickled down from there. For that reason, I think I’d be a great person to drive through neighbourhoods and capture footage of small towns.

Fan experience coordinator for a professional sports league. It’s important to note that I don’t think this person should be hired by an individual team, I think they should be an employee of the league to ensure that their opinions and reviews of certain franchises aren’t biased by being an employee of said franchise. Professional sport leagues across North America (and I’m guessing elsewhere in the world as well) are all looking to grow their audience and bring in new fans. The sad thing is, the majority of teams are operating under the notion that if they do silly things like add a cheerleading squad, that will bring more people to the field, the stadium or the rink. None seem to be willing to truly invest in bettering their product/experience, yet tickets to sporting events continue to get more and more expensive with each passing season. These leagues need someone who is honest, unbiased and ruthless to experience what each team provides and report back as to how to make the experience not suck so hard.

Professional house sitter. I read once that wealthy people who own multiple properties around the world will often times hire people to house sit their properties when they’re not in them. Given that in North Vancouver alone, the majority of properties are empty mansions owned by wealthy foreigners, I think this could be an incredibly luxurious and lucrative career if you knew how to break-into the industry. (I have a hunch that a lot of it is through who you know) I’d be happy to house-sit for someone for the months of the year they’re not using the property and then go travelling for the period when they show up to use their mansion.

Mattress Tester. Have you ever seen commercials for mattresses which they proclaim the mattresses have been tested? Who does this testing? Do they get to take the mattress home and sleep on it to give their honest thoughts in return? Or do they have to go to a warehouse and sleep there, under a controlled environment? Either way, getting paid to sleep on comfy beds seems like a great career.

Travel guide. Not a tourism guide, but a travel guide. Someone who gets paid not to show you the Eiffel tower, but rather, to take you to Paro Takstang to share a meal with the Buddhist Monks and to show you the culture of the penguins who call the Falkland Islands home. Your cell phone won’t work in these places, but your heart will be full, your head happy and your soul fulfilled. There’s so much more to the world than what the tourism companies lead you to believe. Being someone who can show you the nitty gritty of greatness, that would be a really great career.

Career Guidance Faciliator. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could go to a career fair on the internet? You wouldn’t have to go out and interact with people who may or may not be any worth to you and your career in some hall or banquet room, but rather, you could wow someone from the comfort of your own home. Since in 2019 you already need to blindly send your resume to said companies anyway, what if you knew that on October 20th at 2:00 pm, said HR representative of X company you’re looking to work for will be online in chat, doling out advice, chatting with job seekers, accepting resumes and talking about what it really takes to get hired at X company? Would you go? You could have the opportunity to wow them from the comfort of your own home, and even if you didn’t wow them during that session, you’d still have earned the career advice they doled out. The idea, it’s a work in progress, but I think it could be a lucrative option partnerships alone, if executed properly…

Wasted my time and money for a career fair today.

There’s a certain large media conglomeration in Western Canada that runs career fairs throughout Western Canada over the year with promise of ‘Jobs for EVERYONE!’

The advertisement, I’ve seen it for years, reads ‘Come one come all! Dress to impress and bring your resume and get ready to work!’ The advertisement also lists that it’s for those serious about taking the next step with their career and that companies would be present from all over Western Canada, including some big logo brands that operate on a National and International scale.

I thought to myself ‘You need to go. You don’t have a job and if there’s big brands there, you could use that as a means to connect yourself to the offices in Calgary that you want to be at. It’s a better option than not going.’

So I went.

I drove half an hour to get there.

I paid $25 to get into the career fair because I believed that, like the advertisement suggested, I would be face to face with HR managers of some of the best companies and organizations in Western Canada.

$25 is not a lot of money, in the grand scheme of things. But it is also a lot of money when you are presently unemployed, as I am. I felt a little as though they were taking advantage of people who were unemployed in charging a fee to enter this career fair, but I also tried to remind myself that probably not everyone there was unemployed, there were probably some people who have jobs who just want better jobs or to change their career. So I let it go… at the time.

What I found upon spending some time in this career fair was that it was not, in fact, a ‘Come one come all’ type of career fair. This career fair was not for everyone. This career fair was almost strictly for those who work trades/labour positions – mechanics, electricians, builders, etc…

Possessing none of the skills or education required for a trades position, I felt as though I was duped out of $25.

There also no major companies there – not the one’s listed on the flyer. All of these companies were local. They were advertising people being able to be in front of hiring managers for these big, wide reaching companies and what my $25 got me was in front of the people who own the mom and pop shops downtown.

I have nothing wrong with mom and pop shops, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t need to pay $25 to talk to them. I can go in there any day of the week and talk to them. The reason that none of these mom and pop shops have given me a job thus far is because I do not work in trades. I am not an electrician, I don’t drive logging trucks, etc… so having me work for their company would do them no good.

This was a really disheartening activity for me to try and take part in. In trying to salvage the experience so that it wasn’t a total waste, I tried to hang my resume to three places, telling them if they had any office positions open up they should keep me in mind. The response I was met with was ‘Oh, we’re not actually accepting any resumes here today. You need to apply online. We’re only here to inform candidates of our existence’.

This had me thinking ‘why did the advertisement read ‘bring your resume and be ready to work’ if no one actually wants to collect resumes? I asked one of the women why she wasn’t taking resumes and she said ‘It’s all done online these days!’ I kindly responded with ‘Then what’s the point in taking part in a career fair?’ Her response was ‘To meet new candidates and direct them to our website!’ I, as nicely as I could, said ‘Thank you so much for wasting my time and money today’. She herself probably didn’t deserve that level of snark. It was more the organizers that should have suffered the wrath of my snark but at this point I was really pissed off.

They advertise ‘Come one come all’ for a career fair that isn’t actually a career fair, but rather an information session about how to find the website to apply for jobs. They make it seem as though this career fair is for everyone across all industries when in reality, it was 90% for trades and labour positions and 10% educational institutions trying to convince people to sign up for more schooling. They include logos of big brands, big companies that operate Canada wide and make note of their being positions available across the Province and beyond leading people to believe these companies might just be there… when they’re not. Not one company who’s logo was on the flyer was at the career fair today. They say ‘Bring your resume’ and then no one who is there is accepting resumes.

I just… I’m so disappointed that I was this easily duped.

Needless to say I’ll think twice before I attend a career fair any time soon.

I didn’t have high hopes going in, but I had hopes. Hopes that if I could talk to the right person I could wow them with my sparkling personality start a genuine business connection. I was met with a lackluster excuse of a ‘Career Fair’ in which I’m ultimately sure the organizers took a lot of money from A LOT of people today who don’t work in trades and got duped just as I did.

On the way out I mentioned to one of the women doing reception that the career fair was largely geared towards those in trades and wasn’t meant for someone without a trades education, like myself. She agreed with me. I inquired if I could get a refund of my $25 or, at the very least some of my money back. She said ‘No, you went in, it was your choice whether or not you used that opportunity to make the connections you needed.’

I don’t say this a lot because I try not to call people this name… but she was an ignorant bitch.

I got duped.

Onto the next, I guess.

I am woman, hear me roar.

There are days in which people have a heightened propensity to piss me off. Today is most definitely one of those days.

When did it become appropriate for employers to conducting hiring processes to contact, and make requests of potential candidates via text message? Last night I spent nearly an hour filling out a job application for a particular tech company. This application was R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S. Things were asked on this application that I doubt would come up in an actual interview of someone in person it was so thorough. And I filled it out.

Today the company reached out to me via text message. TEXT MESSAGE! No phone call, no formal form of communication whatsoever. They sent me a text message that didn’t even include a name on the message. It just said “He, we received your application for [X Company]”. This text message went on to request that I record a video of myself on my phone and text it to them as a part of the hiring process.

I’m sorry but when did it become a requirement in job hunting that I send videos of myself to a nameless, faceless corporate phone?

I called the number to speak with whomever was sending the text messages and no one answered. The voice mail was a man’s voice that said ‘Hi you have reached [X Company], please leave a message after the beep.’

Something about this stinks to me.

I texted them back and asked who I was speaking with and if they could phone me. The response that I got, not thirty seconds after they did not answer my phone call, was ‘This is [X Company] and we’re requesting videos from candidates who’ve applied for the position. We don’t phone any candidates until they’re being considered for the position’.

I take soooooooooooo many issues with that statement.

  1. Why wouldn’t they answer my call if they could text me 30 seconds later?
  2. Why do they think it’s appropriate to conduct hiring processes via text messages?
  3. Why will they not provide me a name of who I am speaking with?
  4. Why do they get to request videos from candidates if they’re not even willing to tell us their name? Are they judging us based on our appearance? (That’s the only reason I can think of a company asking for a video.)
  5. Why do we have to send you a video in order to just be considered for the position?

Again, something stinks about this to me.

About 20 minutes later whomever is on the other end of this text message interaction sent me a message that said ‘Do you want the job or not? Videos are due in one hour. Please respond with whether or not you’re willing to take part’.

This is not a phone number that I can find listed for the company anywhere on the internet. It’s not on their website, it’s not on google. When I called the company to verify this is a legitimate request I was told I’d have to talk to ‘Jeff in HR’ and when I was transferred to ‘Jeff in HR’, I got a voicemail and he still hasn’t called me back.

This whole thing makes me so angry. I spent an hour filling out an application answering things that were really none of their business, only to get texted by a nameless phone number, that I cannot even verify is someone who is an employee at this company, asking for a video of myself to be sent.

I haven’t decided how I want to respond to ‘Do you want the job or not? Videos are due in one hour’ message. Part of me wants to just be a total asshole and let them know how unprofessional I find this whole thing. Another part of me wants to ‘play the game’ because I need a job and another part of me wants to keep calling ‘Jeff in HR’ to see if he’ll pick up his damn phone. If I had to hazard a guess, I’m going to bet that I respond with a really snarky response in about a half hour. Because this whole thing is really making me want to bust out my inner asshole.

This is what job hunting has come to… this is what companies deem appropriate. It’s fucking ridiculous.