A Mostly Fractured Take On Current Events

Some Days You Ride The Bull; Others, Well, He Dumps On You

In Essays on December 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm

When people ask me how challenging this job market is, naturally I tell them about bulls. A recent study by ResumeDoctor found that recruiters spend about 10 seconds looking at the average job candidate’s resume. As a job seeker, that seems woefully inadequate. The only other person who’s given a shorter time span to prove himself is a professional bull rider. A bull rarely lets its rider advance past eight seconds without rejecting them.

Sadly, in my quest to find a rewarding career, my recruiter has slightly more patience than a crazed and angry steer looking for a fight. Terrific. While I have no reason to doubt the 10-second rule, some people are claiming success at landing jobs in this economy. I know, I don’t believe them either. With unemployment above 9 percent, finding a job in this market is a bit like searching for Jimmy Hoffa, the Lindbergh baby and the Holy Grail simultaneously while blindfolded.

Of course, to land any job you must ace the interview. And to ace the interview, you must first choose one of two paths: Either make certain your competition includes people with IQs lower than Homer Simpson. Or prepare like crazy. There is, of course, no substitute for preparation. Large stacks of books have been written advising me on what to say during a job interview. These canned responses are about as exciting as Al Gore trying to tell a joke. Reading phone book entries would sound more natural. But nobody ever tells me what not to say. Thus, as a public service to all job seekers, I’d like to give you the top-three questions you’ll likely hear in an interview followed by the worst answer you could supply for each. If you disagree, I encourage you to submit alternate responses. Together, I believe we can solve this jobs crisis one dumb answer at a time. Let’s get started:

Tell me about yourself. “Jeez…someone is sure being nosy. Let the interrogation begin. Professionally, I have a reputation for being a team player. “I get along with just about everyone as long as they don’t call me, email me or talk to me. Privately, I have an encyclopedic knowledge of Justin Bieber and his music. In fact, I believe I could hum his songs all day long in public if given the chance.”

Where do you see yourself in five years? “God willing, I hope I’m not still on parole for robbing that convenience store back in 2008. Since we’re on the subject of theft, a friend of mine once told me you can make a pretty good living stealing printer cartridges from offices and then selling them on Craigslist. Is this true?”

What has been your biggest accomplishment? “I’m ambitious, so I’ll give you two examples. A few years ago, I managed to eat three pieces of cake at a department birthday celebration. “It wasn’t easy, but when I start something, I tend to finish it. My other big accomplishment is punctuality. “I take pride in being on time and I shall always remember that day fondly: Nov. 4, 2004.”

All kidding aside, I do wish those of you who are trying genuine success in your search for employment. The right job for you is out there and you’ll find it. Some people think this job market is gaining steam, much like the hot air that comes out of a bull’s snout. Unfortunately, they have the equation half-right. As job seekers, we think it more closely resembles something that comes out the other end of a bull.

© 2011 Pat Hester

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