Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Hunt

I hate job hunting.

I have been on five interviews in two weeks. I have filled out more applications than I care to count. I have pasted on more fake smiles than I care to admit. I remain unemployed.

Here's a summary of my recent luck:

Last Monday I went to fill out an application at a local nursing home for an Admissions Clerk. Upon arriving, I was informed that I would be interviewed on the spot. I'm not one for surprises so I was not very happy with this news. I did the interview anyway, but I'm not so sure my fake smile and "Yes, I wanna work in a nursing home" attitude were believable. I was kinda up for it until the interviewer told me I would get one week vacation after one year, and two weeks only after five years. And, I would only be given four paid holidays all year--Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and July 4th. Seriously???

Wednesday I had two interviews scheduled. One with a small loan company and one with a home health care agency. That morning I called and canceled the interview with the small loan company. I realized when I had to wade through a cloud of cigarette smoke to get to the manager's desk that I didn't want to work there. I accepted the interview anyway, mostly just for practice, as I am HORRIBLE at interviews. But then, knowing the type of personality I have, I would either feel like a loser if I didn't get the job, or I would reject any job offer that was extended. So, I just decided to nip it in the bud.

Not five minutes later, I got a call from the health care agency. The nice lady stated that, because the lady that was going to interview me was out with sick kids, we would have to reschedule. The next available time was for next Monday! Gees, I was hoping to start work next Monday!!! Of course, I accepted the interview for 2:00 p.m.

Nothing much else happened Thursday, and then Friday I got a call from a small non-profit here in town. I had applied for an administrative assistant position and they were calling to set up an interview. She asked if I could come in at 1:20 on Monday. I explained to her that I already had an appointment scheduled for 2:00 and asked her if we could do it any earlier or even later in the afternoon. She told me 1:20 was the only opening that they had, but if I arrived around 1:00 we could probably get started early. She told me she would make a note on my application that I had a 2:00 appointment.

I showed up at the interview at 1:00 p.m. They called me back at 1:25 p.m. We spent around 15-20 minutes asking and answering questions. At around 1:45 p.m. they decided to put me on the computer and test my skills. They had me type up a letter in Word and then they decided they wanted me to create a spreadsheet in Excel. I reminded them twice of my 2:00 appointment. They continued to argue over what exactly it was that they wanted me to do. They left the room to retrieve a chart. They returned at 1:54 p.m., just as I was gathering my things to leave. They were completely shocked that I was actually leaving the interview. Again, I explained the situation, reminded them of the phone conversation when scheduling the interview, apologized too many times, and offered to come back after my other appointment and finish the interview. (In case you're wondering, yes, I wanted the second job much more than the first one. The second one pays 33% more than the first and offers better benefits and the opportunity for advancement.) They were obviously peeved and told me they would call me if they needed me to come back. Whatev.

So I hauled ass across town only to arrive at my 2:00 interview at 2:03 p.m. Dammit. She called me right back and after about 3 minutes of talking, she told me that the position really required someone with previous healthcare experience. But, of course, she will hold on to my resume and call me if something else comes up. Dammit.

So, I got online and applied for a position at DHS. My application was immediately accepted but the second step is to go to the city and take the State Merit test. I spoke with my friend who works for DHS and has for nearly 20 years. She assured me that the test is common sense and really just a type of personality test.

I'm here to tell you things change. There were six parts to the test. None of them had to do with my personality. They were:

Oral Communication Skills
Written Communication Skills
Basic Mathematics
Reading Comprehension
Something Else I Can't Quite Remember
Knowledge of Legal Terminology

My scores were, in order: 70, 77, 100, 80, 70, 45. My final score was a 73. I cried.

Okay, so I passed. But, the next step of the hiring process is that the hiring agency gathers the scores from all applicants and calls in the top 10 scores for interviews. I am not very hopeful.

I am so mad that I was not better prepared for the test. Although, I'm certain I could have been, seeing as how so many of the questions were job related. I clearly have not been trained for the job and I clearly do not have experience in the position, so I'm a little puzzled as how I would have known the answers to some of the questions.

One question that I remember some-what clearly was in the oral communication skills section. It read something like:

Someone that you do not know calls you asking for specific information regarding a case. She refers to herself as a concerned family member. You handle her call by:

a.) Taking down her name and phone number, calling the person the case is directly related to and getting permission to give the information to the caller, and calling him back to reveal the information.
b.) Giving the caller the information, but requesting that the not tell anyone.
c.) Telling the caller that it is against policy to reveal the information to persons not directly related to the case.
d.) Setting up an appointment for the caller to come in and discuss the case.

Now, I obviously chose "c", but my point is, I am not aware of agency policies, as I have never worked for the agency. Many, if not most of, the questions were written in this way. There were 'actual' court papers there to look at and answer related questions. I don't know. I guess it's just not what I expected. And once I started the test and realized I was totally unprepared, all I could think about was how I was totally bombing it. I really could not concentrate. And the real kicker is that I cannot retake it for six months.

Soooo, here I sit, exactly two weeks without work, with ZERO leads. This is depressing. Time for more brownies.

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