The psychology of job hunting

By Sue Trollip

I’m looking for a job. It’s tedious and soul destroying in a place where I have no reference points and no one knows that I exist.

There are the chancers like the company wanting a payroll clerk with a bachelor’s degree to do the company bookkeeping and offering juav-_9st above minimum wage.

And the adverts that say you must be able to deal with unhappy customers. (Who wants to deal with unhappy customers? Shouldn’t they rather say looking for employees who will generate happy customers?)

What about the warehousing company looking for a bookkeeper/administrator who must like mountain biking. (Have they attached Quickbooks to the bicycle handlebars so I can work and ride at the same time?)

It makes no sense and it scares me somewhat.

I got confused when I saw an advert for a gift shop assistant; these were the questions to be answered when you sent in your resume.
1. Coffee or tea?
2. Book on your nightstand?
3. Favourite meal of the day?
4. Anyone living or dead you would want to have coffee with?
5. What’s the last thing you made?
6. Title of your memoir?
7. Top 3 ingredients you cook with?
8. Your favourite artist?

Can anyone help me with the answers? What does it say about me whether I like tea or coffee and bear in mind that tea here is berry tea, it’s seldom tea as I know it?

Question 2 is understandable, you want to know where my interests lie.

And while my favourite meal of the day may be breakfast, if I had big dinner, or am running late, it’s probably going to be lunch, or if I’m going out for dinner, I have a feeling it will be dinner. Then again when Mom is baking it’s definitely tea time. (Do you think they want one word answers?)

I never know what to say for the meet anyone living or dead I feel like there’s a correct answer and I am sure I don’t have it. Do they want to know who my heroes are, in which case how am I supposed to pick one? Memoir I can do that, are you happy or unhappy with your life so far … question 7 are you a baker, a cook or an open a box add 2 ingredients and there’s your meal kind of person. Okay, but is that going to affect your work performance?

Does no one trust their own judgment anymore? Is there no more good old-fashioned handshake and a bit of basic chemistry. By all means check my credentials, but then use a bit of gut instinct people!av-_275

I think my biggest worry is, what if I am the exception to all these psychological rules? Will I remain unemployed forever?

I am not static. I like lists, ask me my top five, not for my favourite, those fluctuate. Perhaps it has something to do with my coffee addiction … I like to think it makes me more interesting.

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5 thoughts on “The psychology of job hunting

  1. Susan says:

    The mind boggles, Sue. I have this image in my mind of a warehousing company that gives its bookkeeper a bicycle instead of an extension phone, so you have to ride an obstacle course between the various warehouses containing the company archives and accounts to track down your info and recalcitrant debtors. (I guess the big plus is if you already have your own bicycle, then they don’t have to spend company money getting you one!) The other company’s 8 questions are quite fun and I don’t think there are ever any wrong answers for those things; they just want to have an idea of what makes you tick, and if you are artistic or engaging enough for their gift shop. My suggestion would be to give them your most outlandish answers so that they simply have to call you in for an interview to find out if you really are that interesting and of course you are so go for it!

  2. jacky says:

    Absolutely Susan; right on the button. Outlandish answers to outlandish questions. Sounds to me as if the HR lot, or whoever places the ads, live in cloud cuckoo land and haven’t much to do other than to ask pretty stupid questions and scrutinise their knees. Sue, you just haven’t found the right coffee drinker/non-cyclist/gift shop owner yet and, when you do, it’ll be a bigger and brighter position which suits your great capabilities – and all will be well.

  3. Penny M says:

    Oh dear, Sue.

    For what it’s worth, I think the mountain bike thing might be because the company office is situated somewhere beyond passable roads. Goodness knows what’s in the warehouse – drugs? Research lab? Nuclear? Maybe a story there.

    The gift shop advert is fascinating. I have visions of a twenty-four hour Gift Shop that sells homemade gifts and books, has a coffee shop and needs a keen sales person who is devoted to coffee, reading, art, knitting, cooking and has no objection to shift work.
    Let me explain –
    1. If you don’t drink either, how can you promote the various speciality beverages they stock and serve?
    2. They are looking for a reader who can sell the books they have and recommend replacement stock.
    3. If it’s breakfast, you will get the night shift. If it’s lunch, you will get the morning shift and if it’s dinner, you will get the afternoon shift.
    4. In other words, get on the phone and bring those customers through the door. Or maybe they just want to know if you read biographies and can sell same.
    5. The want to know if you are crafty as they probably sell craft kits, homemade doilies and things.
    6. Interesting, but you seem to have this one sorted so no comment.
    7. I think this might indicate if you are a health freak or maybe if you can cook at all. They probably sell fresh produce too.
    8. If you have one, you are well on your way to selling all the art books they have too many of.
    I’d be inclined to express your intrigue and turn up to the interview with a body guard.

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