If You’re a Boomer, You Can Add to This List of Job Seeking Lameness.
I‘ve had five or six employers during my lifetime (so far) and have been asked some pretty odd questions. I’ve also interviewed a fair number of people who wanted work and gotten some pretty odd answers.
Brett at the Nordquist Blog is doing some interviews and found these oddities from job candidates.
One person showed up for a second interview in ragged jeans and a sweatshirt to interview with my manager. Several email addresses didn’t give off a good first impression. I saw several with words like “party”, “hunk”, and “vixen” in them. One person asked to see the “company shirts”. My Favorite: One guy asked how “extensive” the required drug test is.
That last one is also my favorite of his bunch.
Careerbuilder.com has some outrageous behavior by job seekers. HR people are usually a pretty staid bunch – boring actually – the best HR person is an unemployed one.
Careerbuilder offered these gems:
— Candidate answered cell phone and asked the interviewer to leave her
own office because it was a “private” conversation.
— Candidate told the interviewer he wouldn’t be able to stay with the job
long because he thought he might get an inheritance if his uncle died
and his uncle wasn’t “looking too good.”
— Candidate asked the interviewer for a ride home after the interview.
— Candidate smelled his armpits on the way to the interview room.
— Candidate said she could not provide a writing sample because all of
her writing had been for the CIA and it was “classified.”
— Candidate told the interviewer he was fired for beating up his last
— When applicant was offered food before the interview, he declined
saying he didn’t want to line his stomach with grease before going out
— A candidate for an accounting position said she was a “people person”
not a “numbers person.”
— Candidate flushed the toilet while talking to interviewer during phone
Some experiences I can remember: one involved me and the other involved Nancy.
Nancy was asked by an attorney, first question out of his mouth, are you married to Going Like Sixty? Interview over, at least in Nancy’s mind!
I went through one of those all-day career psychologist’s interview with all the mental testing. When it came to talking to a person, one of the questions was “if you could be an animal, what would you be?” A raven you asshat, so I could peck your eyes out. The follow up was, if you had to pick another animal, what would it be. A fungus that would invade your va-jay-jay and give you never-ending crotch itch.
Another time I was questioned by a panel of nine people. Their boss was in the room, so there was an attitude of “who can stump the candidate.” (I got the job.)
Then there was the time I got fired by phone. Boss called on weekend, left message to call back. Long distance. So it cost me money to lose a job.
It was even funny then.
I can’t imagine any of this — my jaw is on the floor. The one thing I can understand is the “extensive” drug test question; since I take Restoril (one of the drugs that killed Heath Ledger!) for sleep, I would test positive for benzodiazepines, and also occasionally for opiates due to chronic pain treatment. Would this lose me jobs? Would it lose me more than smelling my own armpits or having an e-mail address like “hotmama69”?
Gretchen’s last blog post..Easter Dread.
@Gretchen: good point on the drugs. But I think I would get the job first. I’ve never taken an employment drug screen, don’t they ask what scrips you are on? Shirley they do.
I would imagine that might be considered an improper question. I know they’re not allowed to ask about your marital status, religion and so on. Wouldn’t that be improper intrusion into your privacy? I don’t have time to research it right now but my gut reaction is it would be.
Gretchen’s last blog post..Easter Dread.
These are priceless & thanks for the compliments. It’s funny how the bar is so low in HR that I actually come out looking pretty good!!
Laurie Ruettimann’s last blog post..You Are Not A Rocket Scientist, Gen Y Kid At Walgreens
I just turned 60 and after being retired for 2 years, have decided that I would like to go back to work.
I am not talking about a “Welcome-to-Wal-Mart-type job or a $9 an hour opportunity.
As of late, I have read several articles about how people who have retired are now going back to work and that big companies are anxious to have us. The articles tell us that research shows that we are perceived as good workers, loyal, dependable, experienced, and enthusiastic about returning to the workforce.
First, if you want to return to a similar position that you had, you will find that your company has replaced you with a younger person at half the salary you were making.
If you want to change careers, good luck! It has been reported that many retirees who go back to work are excited about doing something different — something they have always wanted to do. Well, that ain’t gonna happen. Try and find a job or start a new career in a field that you have absolutely no experience in.
Just about every large company has an online application that asks you for information on previous employment and the salary you were making. A dead giveaway that you are applying for a job that you are “unqualified” for.
An interview with a human resource person to explain your situation seems to be a thing of the past. Everything is online now. Applications are usually lengthily with multiple choice answers for you to choose from. No room for explanation, let alone an opportunity to present oneself.
And then there is the question about “your salary requirements.” I don’t want to undervalue my worth and give a low number or, by the same token, tell the truth and price myself out of the job. I’m always wondering if the number I gave was too low or too high. It would be nice if they told you what the job pays and then determine if you are worth that.
I have applied for jobs that I know that I would be 100% qualified for. The description of the kind of person they are looking for couldn’t be more perfect if they included a picture of me.
I can’t tell you how many times I received an automated response thanking me for wanting to join their company and that unfortunately there are no jobs currently available that fit my qualifications. For some reason I am not optimistic when they tell me that they will keep my application on file and if something comes up they will let me know.
I have read all those “tips” on how to conduct yourself at an interview, dress for success, firm handshakes,positive attitudes, look him in the eye, etc, etc. Unfortunately, I have had few opportunities to practice these “tips” on a live person.
Applying through Monster.com (and other similar job sites) is another thing that can get you crazy. I suspect that each want ad posted receives a few thousand responses from throughout the country. With that quantity, I would guess most times my application doesn’t even get looked at.
I am decent looking; I dress nicely; I’m intelligent, reliable and conscientious; I can multi-task; I’m in good shape, healthy and my energy level is right up there. I’m a quick learner and qualified for many things if given the chance; I like people and they seem to like me; I am generally an optimistic positive person but you probably would not think that from this posting.
I really want to believe all those second career stories. “I did it, so can you.” I think the few who do it are the rare ones they write about. I need a little more proof that those articles aren’t just another way of reassuring us that ‘everything is wonderful after 50.’
Cary’s last blog post..Gay and Lesbian Retirement Communities
@ Cary: I agree with what you have written.
But I’m confused. If the “comment luv” is right, why did you use Cary here and the post is written by Jan Cullinane.
I’ll leave your long comment up, but I’m skeptical that this isn’t spam for the blog your name links to.
BTW: hasn’t that blog written about the marvels of starting a new career after fifty?
Starting a new career after 50 means you know the right people to get you started in a new career after 50! And that’s the truth. Pffbt
Nancy’s last blog post..February Wrap-up
@Nancy: yep, true. Or you have very specialized skills that are in high demand. Like watching television, blogging, commenting, and eating chocolate pie.