I have ... about five thousand job ... inthe last two years (that's about 7 per day) and I ... you this - most of them stink !Not ... of course - but when it comes to methods
I have processed about five thousand job applicants in the last two years (that's about 7 per day) and I gotta tell you this - most of them stink !
Not literally of course - but when it comes to methods of stupidly & unnecessarily blowing a "no-brainer" interview process to get selected for a "no-brainer" job, then my cleaning agency has just about seen them all !
DO YOU QUALIFY ? I really didn't think we were asking too much. Applicants needed to be able to do housework. They needed a car & a license to drive it. They needed to read, write & speak English. Okay, they also needed a resume, but it didn't have to be full of spectacular cleaning-related careers - any kind of checkable work history was fine.
Likewise, the application procedure was also (we believed) not too demanding. The applicant telephones us. We have a chat to them about the job requirements and ask them if they fit the above qualifications. We ask them to make copies of their resume & references and then we schedule them for an interview in about 3 - 6 days. We interview them for about 40 minutes (though about 30 minutes of that is us doing the talking - a fierce interrogation it ain't). Within a day or two we start giving them cleaning jobs. Fairly simple, we thought.
Unfortunately for my agency's collective sanity, most of the job applicant population saw it differently.
To start with the most basic of errors we encountered, quite a number of people making the initial phone call didn't have a driver's licence, despite our job advertisements clearly stating this requirement. Or if they did have a licence, they didn't have a car. Or if they did have a car, it wasn't actually theirs and they have to share it with several other people. Or if they did actually own the car, it was broken down & was undergoing lengthy and extensive repairs.
Still, this major obstacle was attacked with determination by almost all car-less applicants. It usually went something along the lines of "But my husband can drive me" or "I can take public transport" or "I can ride my bicycle". What a revelation ! Now why didn't WE think of that ? These applicants are sitting there thinking "This employer has only paid out good money to insert 'CAR & LICENSE ESSENTIAL' in huge letters in the job advertisement because I was not around at the time to point out other possibilities"
Hint for jobseekers (1) - If a job advertisement specifies a requirement, and you do not have that requirement, DON'T bother applying for that job, EVEN IF you think you have an alternative that the employer hasn't thought of yet. It's a bit like a prospective surgeon saying that he's hopeless with a scalpel, but is VERY handy with a butter-knife. **** DON'T INTERRUPT Still at the initial phone-call stage, another fundamental error is not allowing the employer to do his spiel. You are not the only person ringing up about the position. You are more likely to be the 75th person, so please assume that the employer has his routine all worked out. He does NOT need prompting to fill you in on all the details - he knows what you need to know and he will tell you in his own good time.
The correct time to ask questions is when he finishes explaining what the job is about & what the application procedure is and when he finishes asking YOU questions.
Hint for jobseekers (2) - Let the employer talk. Do not interrupt. Taking over a conversation and putting your potential boss on the back foot is not going make a good impression. **** DON'T GET LOST Okay, so about 25% of people make it through the gruelling 2 minute phone interview and are then scheduled for a "real" interview.
To deal with the simplest situation first, approximately 50% to 80% of these applicants do not show up at the appointed time and are never heard from again. While it's annoying, and as employer I never really get used to the fact that people go to a lot of trouble to apply for jobs they don't actually want, at least that person is out of the way and we can concentrate instead on the serious people.
But it's not that simple. There are a number of variations on the "not showing up" trick that conspire to further annoy & waste the valuable time of the prospective employer.
For example, those people who have had 5 days notice of the interview, but neglect to look up the actual location of the interview until they are hopelessly lost in a neighboring suburb with only 2 minutes to go. They ring up from a phone box asking for directions. They invariably arrive at the interview flustered & late.
Hint for jobseekers (3) - Make sure you know exactly where the interview is being held. If you don't know, do a practise run the day before. **** DON'T BE LATE Even worse than the people who get lost (who at least deserve a tiny amount of sympathy) are those who turn up 20 - 40 minutes late for no apparent good reason. "Oh hi, I'm here for the interview" "Which interview, the 3 o'clock or the 4 o'clock ?" "The 3 o'clock. I'm a bit late"
This type of applicant doesn't see a problem with being late, probably because it's not a problem for THEM. However an applicant needs to understand that businesses are constantly running to deadlines, and punctuality is vital. If we sit around waiting for a late applicant and start an interview later than planned, it means the NEXT interview is going to be delayed and, more importantly, whatever I had planned for AFTER the interviews is going to be delayed, and possibly even postponed until the next day.
Hint for jobseekers (4). Time is money. Don't be late for an interview. No matter how dazzling you may be in the interview, the main thing the employer will remember the next day is that you were late, and therefore probably unreliable. **** ONLY APPLY ONCE Then there are what we term the "serial-applicants". These people are constantly applying for jobs over an extended period of time, to the extent that they actually apply to us more than once, perhaps several months apart.
Here at the agency, we sometimes collectively shake our heads at the nerve of these people who fail to show up for a scheduled interview, and then a couple of months later apply again, expecting us to welcome them with open arms.
Hint for jobseekers (5) - If you apply for a job and don't get it, don't apply for exactly the same job later on. They don't want you. **** DON'T BRING THE FAMILY So let's suppose an applicant makes it through the complicated business of turning up on time.
Question - What else could go wrong or annoy the employer before the interview actually begins ?
Answer - A couple of things that happen more often than you might expect. Applicants turning up with one or more relatives expecting to also participate in the interview are a classic.
Hint for jobseekers (6) - If you are not brave enough to face an interview by yourself, employers will not respect you. The WORST thing to do is bring your mother. This basically proves that you should be back in school. **** IF YOU ARE A SPECIAL CASE, SAY SOMETHING One other thing on a rather more touchy subject are the problems associated with scheduling Islamic ladies for interviews. Arriving fully-masked except for their eyes, their religion does not permit them to be alone in a room with a man. But of course they only tell me this AFTER THEY ARRIVE. So if my (female) business partner is not available at short-notice to take over the interview, then we have no choice but to send the lady home. Her time is wasted and so is ours.
And it's not quite as simple as just asking someone on the phone what religion they are. There are different degrees of Islam, and many such ladies do not have a problem with showing their face or being alone in a room with someone who happens to be a man.
Of course, there's also the legal aspect. Businesses these days must be VERY careful about exposing themselves to the threat of court action from an irate applicant. If we asked someone what their religion was, and then later on did not give that person a job for whatever reason, there is nothing to stop that person getting up in court & proclaiming that we rejected them solely due to religious discrimination. So we don't ask.
And for similar legal reasons, when any regular applicant asks us why they haven't been given any work, we do not give them any ammunition that could later be used against us in court. Instead of saying the truth like, "We think your phone manner is awful and university students are usually completely hopeless at housework anyway", we would say something safe like, "We had 87 people applying for only 2 positions, so unfortunately someone had to miss out. I'm so sorry. I can give you the number of another agency who may be able to help ..."
Hint for jobseekers (7) - If you have religious or moral objections to any aspect of a normal job interview process, tell the employer on the phone beforehand. Don't just spring it on them when you arrive. **** DON'T INVENT QUALIFICATIONS So the applicant is finally through the door and getting comfortable in our big lounge-type interview chairs.
Some people don't even get through the first minute and here's why - they don't possess the documentation or qualifications that they said they had on the phone. For example "To start, could I just have your driver's license please ?" "I don't have my license" "But I asked you on the phone if you had a car & license and you said 'yes' " "I'm having lessons. I'll have it soon." "When ? When are you going for your test ?" "Soon" "Have you set a date" "No date. Soon." "Give us a call when you actually get your license. Good-bye. I'll show you out."
Or this, "Could I just have your resume and references please?" "I don't have a resume" "But I asked you on the phone if you had a resume and you said 'yes' ". "I haven't worked before ....".
You get the picture by now I'm sure.
Hint for jobseekers (8)- Don't pretend to have qualifications that you don't actually have. **** SAY YOU'LL NEVER LEAVE In the 21st Century, applying for a job without a resume is a waste of time. You will not be accepted. Whether you think it is fair or not to have your life story reduced to a few lines on a page is completely irrelevant. With large numbers of applicants competing for small numbers of vacancies, an employer has no choice but to filter out many applicants in the most efficient way possible.
When an applicant hands over their resume to me, I go to an adjoining room to read it over while they fill out the application form.
The first thing I look for is the authenticity of the references. Sometimes references are handwritten, and it has happened on occasion that I begin to suspect they are all written by the same person. Similar handwriting, similar paper, similar format, similar spelling mistakes, sentence construction & grammar.
Most resume templates have a space for "Career Objectives". I received a resume today from a gentleman whose objective was "To make use of extensive experience in stores, logistics and warehouse operations ....". Well that's all very admirable, but not much use for housework. Not until people start buying forklifts to tidy up the house. Jobseekers should try making just a little bit of effort to customise their career objectives to fit the job they are applying for. Employers only care about your ambitions if they contribute to their own.
While I initially assume that all jobs listed in the resume are genuine, I am not impressed by people who have four, five or six pages full of jobs they have done in the past few years. I think our record here is a 12 page resume. It was spectacular & impressive, but the person didn't get the job because it was quite obvious they were a job-hopper. They kept moving their place of residence and frequently went on big holidays. So why would I hire someone who clearly isn't interested in staying in a job for any length of time ?
Hint for jobseekers (9) - Don't proudly announce in your resume that you can't hold a job. Don't fake references. **** YOU MUST ACTUALLY WORK Of the few people who manage to make it all the way through an interview at our cleaning agency, some still find further ways to stumble. Within a day or two, successful applicants are given their first cleaning assignment. A small percentage will accept the job, ring the client to confirm they will be coming and then on the day, simply not show up. They then refuse to answer their phones for several days.
To this day I wonder why some applicants go through the whole process - and I acknowledge that applying for a job is not the easiest thing in the world - only to give up & disappear just as the money is about to start rolling in.
Final hint for jobseekers - When someone offers you a job - take it.
Darren Robinson - firstname.lastname@example.org The author of this article recommends WEB POSITION GOLD. WEBMASTERS - This is your FREE TRIAL DOWNLOAD OF WebPosition Gold. Improve your search engine rankings on Alta Vista, Infoseek, Yahoo, HotBot, Webcrawler, Open Text and many more. Climb above the competition. http://invite.to/webposition