Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Job Interview: When You Aren't Chosen

names have been omitted in this post

February 2015 


So the past thirty to sixty days… (or has it been more like ninety? It's been such a time suck, I'm not sure when I was pulled into this vacuum, it's a little blurry at this point, so please bear with me) I have spent an inordinate amount of time refining my resume and cover letters to potential jobs and employers, carefully paying attention to all the details that involve making sure everything is specific to said job I'm applying for and double, triple checking for any typo's. It has been for lack of a better word hell, quite frankly. I hate the job searching process, I hate the interview process. (Does anyone really like it?) And yet with that being said… ninety percent of the jobs I've landed in the past I've been blessed to have been hired on the spot. Maybe I became a little over confident due to that stellar past record of connecting with a potential boss and after just chatting a few minutes and hearing the wonderfully sweet words of: "Okay… I like what I'm hearing and what I see. I'd like to offer you the job."

Or maybe the job market has changed since those glorious days… maybe bosses are getting more and more picky because they've been burned too many times by employees who didn't turn out to be who they thought they were either character-wise or qualified for the job-wise… or yikes, even both. I'm not sure… but I see signs of it online everywhere. Companies hiring for what I would consider entry level jobs like receptionists at law firms are demanding the moon and more qualification-wise and interview process wise. Jobs that at one time would entail answering a multi-line phone, making coffee, looking "purty", typing some documents and filing now requires three times the amount of work at the same measly pay of eight dollars an hour. I mean, seriously. I don't mind the extra work, I welcome it because in that extra work is more opportunity for growth and possibly advancement, yay! However, there is this little thing called INFLATION. And for whatever reason employers seem to have forgotten about that tiny detail.

This past month has been a hoop-filled multi-interview process for entry level-like jobs as described above… which just absolutely baffles me… maybe I'm showing my age but you'd think these employers were running Google or something for goodness sakes. And the interview questions often take me by surprise…  the questions alone make me wonder if anyone has any common sense anymore. For example, in an interview I did with an attorney many years ago… he actually asked me: "Now, do you go out and party? Do you drink? Do you go out all the time? Because we can't have that going on. I don't want to hire you and then have you coming in hung over in the morning. What do you typically do when you're not working?"

Stunned silence at first on my part.

I couldn't believe his question.

Call me naive but I was shocked that somebody was actually doing this at their job.

"No, let me assure you I wouldn't be doing that. First of all, I have maybe two drinks a year. I would never dream of coming in hung over. Second of all, I'm here to do a job and do it well. I won't be coming in drunk, painting my nails, or calling in, etc. Third, my life is the most boring life ever. In my free time I watch tv, go to the grocery store and read." I told him.

He smiled appreciatively with kind gray eyes, nodded and said he had a few more folks to interview but he would get back to me. The next day he called and offered me the job. Are there just few candidates out there that take their job seriously or are employers becoming more and more picky? I'm not sure… maybe a bit of both.

The interview I had a couple weeks ago went well… all seemed fine as I answered the paralegals questions. I left believing I had the job… they would be calling potential candidates for second follow-up interviews with the attorney she said as she shook my hand and led me out. I nodded, smiled and graciously thanked her. I thought I had it in the bag for a second interview and was genuinely excited.

Imagine my shock when a few days ago I see a new ad posted by the firm I interviewed with a couple weeks ago. In caps and exclamation points they go on how they will not be hiring a gang member, they will not be hiring anyone who does not know their abc's, they will not hire anyone who is lazy or lies, etc…because they are a law firm and will find out.

I sat there first appalled, absolutely stunned that anyone, especially someone who is to be of a professional nature would post an ad that read like that. I wracked my brain for anything I might have said during the interview that might have been perceived as undesirable. No… I thought to myself. Not at all. Hmmmm, I thought as I loaded dishes in the dishwasher, ran errands and restocked the fridge with groceries bought… I spent the afternoon mulling over it. As if I had a fine tooth comb I poured over each of their points one by one …. I wasn't a gang member. I lived with gang members having runaway from home twenty one years ago at seventeen… a lifetime ago. I can't undo that. Fast forward to now, I am a mom who goes to Target more times a week than I can count because I have a milk guzzler posing as a child, :-) I bake cinnamon muffins in the evening or maybe Pilsbury brownies with chocolate chunks in them and watch the news at nine p.m. I drive my daughter to and from school like all moms and navigate the car pool lane silently urging them to hurry along because for some reason there is always this one car that hangs back comparable to ten vehicles. I buy TREsemme extra conditioning shampoo because my hair tends to get really dry on the ends, I eat Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, I am meticulous about keeping my checkbook up to date, I am a stickler about recycling, I pay my taxes, I don't gamble, I keep current insurance on my car at all times, I don't smoke or do drugs (never have), I sleep with a myriad of stuffed animals like Sulley from Monsters Inc, a hedgehog, a doggie, and sometimes a baby doll that my daughter thinks is hilarious to leave in my bed so I'm not lonely. As you can see, my life is pretty calm and lacks anything that resembles Vegas or a mobster movie at this point. It's a pretty calm life devoid of any and all uproar and or excitement. I'm anything but lazy… both at home and at work. Whether it's a sink full of dirty dishes, a yard full of leaves to rake, or a stack of documents to type ----> hand it over, I'm not above doing it, I can get it done quick and well… I'm driven and determined. Being a writer, I know my ABC's (thank the good Lord)…. as that is kind of a necessity to write and I could rock the ABC song better than anyone as a kid and still could if need be. I'm not a liar, cheat or thief and after closer scrutiny I decided if anything negative was found… the only thing it could possibly be was if perhaps my dates didn't quite match up on employment. If they didn't, I'd truly apologize for that, as it wasn't of a malicious intent whatsoever… but likely because after approximately twenty moves (seriously) since meeting my now ex-husband back in 1997 my records were lost somewhere in the shuffle and I had to rely on my aging, fuzzy memory to reconstruct my dates of employment.

So, after a few perplexing hours of dissecting that ad and wracking my brain trying to figure out why I didn't land the job… I realized something. I hadn't hidden anything. I had been straight with them and said I had a blog and typically wrote about issues that were relevant to divorce. (You'd think I was telling people how to make grenades or something) Since it was a family law firm and I primarily write about divorce I felt that relevant to share. I was upfront. And even if I hadn't disclosed it… I wasn't hiding anything, my life story is on the internet for goodness sakes. I realized I needed to stop beating myself up. I had no reason to cringe or hide. I wasn't going to hide my life nor my faith. I had no reason to nit pick it all apart trying to figure out why I didn't get it. My past bosses (minus two) had been a delightful number of folks to work for, that I had admired and respected and I looked back on with fondness.

This whole mental narrative of "Why didn't they pick me? Like me?" mentality needed to come to a screeching halt right then and there.

At that point after thinking it all over it became downright laughable to me.

I shrugged, realizing… 
we can't make everyone happy
We simply can't please everybody. 
And we shouldn't even try.

Maybe you have done the same thing. Maybe you have ruminated, questioning why you didn't get a job you knew not only you were qualified for but that you KNEW you could do well. A job you knew you would enjoy. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you were left with questions wondering why not you? Why? Why? Why? It can definitely gnaw at us like an irksome habit.

I don't know why they didn't choose you… maybe because that is not where God wants you to be. Maybe because He has something better in mind. Perhaps we should not look at it as something lost or deprived from us and instead something we were protected from. After more thought and insight on the matter I realized I didn't want to work for anyone who behaved like that. An employer practically screaming at potential employees like a banshee in a job ad? Did I really want to sign on for enduring that type of behavior day in and day out? Because, like a toxic relationship that was a sign of what was to come with taking that job. That was the honest to goodness truth. Deep down I knew it too. No, I did not want that.

So, maybe something for us to keep in mind is…. just like relationships, we don't have to subscribe to a "Will they pick me?" mentality. At job interviews we can ask ourselves this question:

"Do we want them?"

© ~ 2015

Please know that as you go through the job search/interview process God is there with you… He intimately knows your frustration, your needs… but are we asking him for an increase in faith? Are we trusting Him? People often tell us God won't give us more than we can handle… but that simply isn't true… God gives us more so we can rely on him and not ourselves. When the storms pass and we walk away with a skip in our step we will know it was him who led us through not ourselves. Trust him. With much love, Jen

To My Readers; Thank you for reading & sharing!


Dear Friend: A Letter Of Love To You

Everyday Life: When The Toilet Explodes & You Do Too

Life: It's An Obstacle Course