Mother of Necessity

because sometimes, you just have to.


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My Journey: Job Searching-Phone interviews

telephone

Part 3:  Phone interviews.

This week I had 2 phone interviews. YAY!!!! I am moving right along on this job searching process. Looking for a job is like having a job. You got to get up early to be on top of your game. I should explain how you get to a phone interview first.

You’ve got to do your research and find the right website to find a job. Once you do that then you can start applying for jobs online. If you are lucky you may hear back from 1-2 of the 67 companies you applied for and they will set you up for the next step (hoops they want you to jump through).

The next step could be filling out an application which follows a silly questionnaire, online. It also could be one of those assessments I mentioned in the last blog about job searching. You complete those and again wait for a response. Sometime the response is within 24 hours or it could be weeks.

A response from the company is exciting till you read the e-mail and realize it’s a denial letter saying they appreciate you applying but you are not what they want or do not qualify. 

So you wait and continue to apply for jobs. Then you get an e-mail. Now this one says they like you. Now you may have to take and assessment at this time too or they will say in the e-mail they would like to talk with you and what is a good time.

This is the e-mail you have been waiting for. So you schedule the perfect time of the day where you know you will not any distractions so you will do well on the call.

Lots of prepping, hoops, and waiting to do just to get a phone call from a company you contacted 2-6 weeks ago.  Yes, I know…I am not good at being patient.

Now it’s an hour before the call. I put on some nice clothes, do my hair, make sure my breath is not yucky, get my resume and references together, make sure I have a pen and paper ready, clean up the living room and wait for the call.

Ok, I know, I am over the top but I want to feel like I am having a face to face with this person. I want to feel like a professional. I want to be prepared for anything. See, I’ve been telling you that I am an over-organized person. Now it’s in black and white for proof.

I get the first call for the interview. This young man was not enthused at all. He’s monotone, and kind of sounds like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. I think to myself, well this is not going to be good. He already has his mind made up.

That’s when I figured this would be a great opportunity to show off my skills as a customer service phone representative.  I put on my customer service face and began to treat him like a bad caller from my last job. I was upbeat, had a smile on my face when I spoke, I even made him laugh. I did what I could to make him feel better. I wanted to leave him with a good impression.

I must have done something right in that phone interview because he invited me to have a face to face interview.

YAY!!!! On to the next phone interview.

I have to say, these phone interviews are intimidating. You have no clue who you talking to. You can’t read their body language or facial expressions. You don’t know if they are mufti-tasking and not really listening to you. It’s a little stressful.

The next phone interview was amazing. This woman was personable, attentive and had a great personality. We hit it off within the first 2 minutes of our conversation.

We were going through the questions she is required to ask of me. When I answered one of those questions, I slipped and let my real personality come through. I made a sarcastic remark and quickly apologized and said that my personality sometimes forgets that it has a brain attached and has a mind of its own.

Thank goodness she had a sense of humor because she laughed and told me she was glad I slipped.

Kim is her name and she and talked for over 40 minutes. The interview was supposed to be about 15 minutes long. We surpassed that.

We talked about what I had been doing this past year since I hadn’t been working. I told her about writing a couple of books, helping families get organized, writing the blog and taking photos.

Kim was so sweet she asked about the blog and I shared the website information with her. While we were talking she went to the site. She loved it. So now I have a new follower just because of a phone call. 

Needless to say, Kim invited me for a face to face interview too.

I did learn that it’s best to be yourself and let your personality shine through. The phone interview is the first step where you can impress the company you want to work for.

Still learning, growing and embracing this whole new process. Some things are better than others. But this one was pretty good for me so far.

I guess the next entry on the job searching process will be the face to face interviews. This should be fun..…I hope.


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My Journey: Job Searching-Assessments

 

testHere’s the second part of the job searching adventure. I think I will be giving updates on the search till I find the right job. In the last post I talked about my frustration about the process of submitting an online resume and online job search websites.

Today I am discussing or more likely disgusted about online assessments.

Again this is something new to me. I am used to being tested on-site and in a face to face interview, not in my home.  Tests used to be about the job, not your personality, thinking skills or your IQ.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to take an assessment for a job. This test took almost 2 hours of my time. RIDICULOUS!

I was applying for a call center inbound call position. The first part was 4 simulated calls that had a 3 part question, where I had to navigate the system correctly and give the correct verbal responses to questions. Each call was timed for my response. I was given less than 2 minutes to complete the navigation for a multiple step process and respond correctly to the questions. This part for me was simple and I did great. No big deal, I have done that type of stuff for 13 years.

The second part was a personality Q & A.  Which took almost 40 minutes to complete and had over 35 questions. Really, how much can they learn from these questions? Don’t they realize that most people lie on these things anyway and give response they think the company wants to hear?  Anyway…… I answered all questions honestly.  Again, no biggie, we’ve all taken those kind of tests.

The Third part was on critical thinking. Still a Q & A type of test this part had over 30 questions and it took 40 minutes or so. It was pretty easy. Some of these questions are just weird.

EXAMPLE:

2 supervisors were having a contest.  The first supervisor said that John came in first and Sally was third.  The second supervisor said that Sally was first and Mike didn’t place at all.

Both supervisor are incorrect…….which statement is true?

  1. Sally was second and Mike was third
  2. John was second and Sally first
  3. Mike was first and Sally was second

This is nuts!!!! What kind of question is this? To me this was just logical thinking. If both supervisors are wrong then the only correct answer is “C”.

But seriously, who in their right mind comes up with these questions?

The fourth and final step of the assessment was about the job. This was a timed test to answer 20 questions in 10 minutes. That means I had 30 seconds to answer all the questions.

For each question they give you a graph that has codes and what the codes mean. There was 10 to 30 different codes for each graph. Some of the codes were alpha and numeric and some were just one or the other.

As soon as you clicked the next button, you have 30 seconds to read and understand the coding and then answer 4 different questions based upon the codes. All answers required more than 3 codes.  Crazy, I know.

Needless to say…….I failed this part of the assessment. There is no way my old school brain can comprehend the graph, codes and match the correct codes to a question in 30 seconds. I needed at least 90 seconds. My brain just doesn’t work like that, or that quick anymore.

The sad part is, I am not going to be given a chance to prove myself all because of a silly assessment that I know I could pass if it weren’t timed. This company will never know how good I could have been for them. They missed out, all because of a goofy test that truly does not measure my capabilities.

Thank goodness I haven’t come across that type of assessment since then. I have taken a few more but those have been pretty much routine.

I understand the purpose of these tests are to help weed out the unbelievable amount of idiots out there. It also hinders those that are qualified but don’t do well in a testing atmosphere.

Back in the day these types of questions were asked by the interviewer or manager. I guess that skill is no longer needed in the workforce. But this poses the question: If that skill is no longer needed then who is really smarter in the interview process?  You or the interviewer. Because if they don’t hold these skills, what are they looking for?

As you see the job search continues and each hoop I have to jump through gets me closer to an interview and a job….I hope.

I know one thing. This is a great learning opportunity I have. It is teaching me to embrace the ‘tech world’ and to be more open minded to new things.

Wish me luck. I am hoping the next segment on the job searching blog will be one that says, I have a job and I am on a new path.

 

 


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Adventure: Job Searching-Frustration

job searchIt’s been 14 years since I had to look for a job. I am amazed how things have changed so much. The past few weeks while job searching, has confirmed that I am getting old. Or I’m already old and it’s time to change.

I am so ‘old school’ that this new process is daunting to me. I am open to new things but this process is time consuming and there’s no reassurance that the process even works.

Here are a few things I have encountered in the past few weeks while searching for a job.

The process of sending your resume to the company online is fantastic. It’s quick and easy. No fuss at all. I like this step. I don’t have to make a zillion copies of my resume.

The downside is, there’s no follow up. I can’t call the company or drop by the office to check on my resume. I miss that one on one conversation with a real person. I miss the opportunity to bug someone so much that they give me a chance, just to shut me up. I have to wait on them. And most of you know I am not a patient waiter. I like taking action.

You can’t just use one job search website. You have to use 6,000. This gets confusing. Keeping track of the website, your username and password is bad enough. Now you have to track the company you applied for and the position. This is overwhelming.

Once you sign up for one website 500 more have your e-mail and now your in-box is full every day with new sites to look at and the sites that send you updates on jobs. Researching the jobs from the updates take a lot of time. Now I have to sort the good sites from the bad, is time consuming. I don’t have time for all of that…I am looking for a job!

Now if all those sites would just pay me every time I open their e-mail and evaluate it, give feedback and inform them if I like their site or not. Then that will be my full time job, because it can take me 6-8 hours out of my day just to sort, read, accept or decline the site. Now that’s a job I can do with gusto. Someone please pay me to do this job. I would be brutally honest and I would love to help make this process easier. The older folks (like myself) enjoy simplicity with a purpose and the younger people will learn what it’s like not be so complicated all the time.

Sorry, got off track for a minute.

When you finally find a site or 50 that you like, you start selecting the jobs you want and submit those resumes. That part is great. I get a sense of accomplishment and hope that a company sends me an e-mail for the next process. I have the opportunity to apply to 20 or more jobs a day if I want.

The sad part is, when you apply for a job online, half the sites don’t offer the company’s name or location you are applying for, just the position that is open and the city and state. That just isn’t cool. I need to know who you are, so I can research your company to help me in the interview process or even decide if I want to apply. I also need to know how far away you are, and will I have to move if I get the job. Don’t give me just the city where the company is located, I need an address. CRAZY!!!!!

Some of these sites are great. They give you daily updates, inform you that your resume was sent and received and sometimes let you know what the next step will be when/if the company contacts you. Love those sites but still so much to keep track of.

I have to remind myself that I am not getting any younger and the world around me is changing or has already changed. It’s up to me to jump over the hurdles. Pull my boot straps up and dig in, as my Mom would say. I need to be grateful that I know how to do all these changes. Acknowledge that I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to.

I guess it comes down to this:  I am getting old and I NEED to adapt to the new style of job searching. “I will get through this and find the right job”.  I think this will be my mantra for a while.


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And So The Job Search Begins……Doubts

finding a jobWell, the time has come. I have to start looking for a real job. I have been hiatus for over a year and my money is running out. I have enjoyed my time off. I have gotten to explore myself a little more. Started blogging, wrote two small books and started back with my photography. I have organized my house, went on a vacation, visited family and relaxed. I am not looking forward to the job search. It’s been over 14 years since I had to apply for a job.

I have so many doubts about my skills. I am terrified since I do not have a college degree or any higher education. I am scared no one will hire me because of my weight.  Don’t get me wrong, I know I have some great work skills but the doubt comes in because I may not have the right skills that are needed in today’s world.

I really don’t know what I want from my career at this time. I have questions:  Do I want to work in the same field (customer service) or do I want to try and venture out of that comfort zone? Do I want to relocate? If so, where do I want to go?

I do enjoy customer service (I’m good at it) as long as I am really helping a person. I enjoyed my last job helping people with their medications and insurance. I made a difference to many people. I liked that tremendously. What I didn’t like was the company I worked for they forgot that we worked for people, real people that were searching for help. The company looked at the customers as a number and the bottom line.  The company got lost in sales and profit, they forgot about their own mission statement.

I don’t want to do meaningless sales, or a dead end job. I want to help others. I want to grow as a person in my job. I want to make a difference. It can be a small difference but I still would like to have that impact. How can I do this and make a living? (Seriously. Any suggestions?)

I have started putting in my resumes to several companies this past week. Now there’s something new to me. Applying online, that is something very simple and easy but still foreign territory for me.

I am used to going to each company, speaking to the HR (human resources) personnel and then calling every week to check on the resume/application. There’s a whole new process involved now and it’s all online. What a huge difference 14 years can make.

Making a new resume was difficult too. The style of the resume is different, the wording is different, and the format is different. It’s all new to me. You now have to have key’ words that help you stand out. You have to be unique but not so unique that you are not taken seriously. Did you know that you only have between 15-30 seconds to impress someone with your resume?  Did you know that if you don’t have those ‘key’ words they will dismiss your resume?  So much pressure to do the resume right.

It’s a new work world. I have doubts whether there is a place for me in it.

I would love to blog, take photos and write for a living but I know I am not a professional at any of these things. (((SIGH!)))

Here I am searching for what I want in a career. I am still searching within myself on what I want out of life and for my life. Searching myself if I want to relocate for a job.  Searching for joy in a job. Searching for a job that will add to my happiness.  So much searching to be done, all the while doubting my abilities.

Here I am asking for help. Here I am leaving my comfort zone. Here I am trying to stay motivated. Here I am trying to add to my happiness and self-worth.  I may have to re-read my own blogs just to get through this (insert big belly laugh).

The best part is, in my heart I know everything will work out in the end. I WILL find the right job, I WILL be in the right location and I know I will still be blogging and taking photos.

It’s the journey that gets ya……and so the journey begins.