Getting A Job

It ain’t like it used to be!

In the past you went in to an interview from an ad, filled out a small form, took an oral interview and they hired you on the spot or within a few days.

Today almost every company of every size is using a standardized application form and they are sticklers on having everything filled in to the letter!

They want three past jobs (that they can call for references), three business references (supervisors who can vouch for you) and three personal references (friends).

Many companies are using psychological testing with computer tallies to see what your “profile” is like. These questions often center around tardiness, honesty, customer service, selling and drug use.

Some companies, such as Hollywood Video and J.C. Penny, use a computer for the application process. At Penny you file your application on an intranet web site and take their test instantly. Their test is centered more around customer service, selling, staying with the company for more than a few months and math. Penny’s wants to make sure their sales associates can do simple fractions and percentages in their head without a pencil, paper, calculator or cash register!

Many larger companies will accept job applications on-line and they often get back to you very promptly! Blockbuster Video and Hollywood Video generally respond within 48 hours if they have an opening near your location.

The interview process has also expanded considerably. In the past you were basically interviewed by a manager who could make a decision or at least consult with their boss and then pick from that roster. Today you go through committee at many major companies and this might require trips back for different interviews with different levels of managers. This could include department manager, assistant manager, store manager, personnel manager, district manager and even regional manager. It is not unusual to be asked back three or four times for a minimum wage job!

Even the interview process is laced with psychological questions such as the most popular: “What is the most impressive thing you’ve ever done in your life?” Don’t ask us what the answer to this one is! If you’re going for a sales job perhaps it was a super big sale! One thing we found is bland answers get you nowhere, while answers that are larger than the person who is interviewing you also get you nowhere!

Age is also a big factor, if you are over 40 your chances of getting almost any job without a major college degree and ten years experience are small. That’s right, they won’t even let you sweep floors or stock shelves if your are over 40 or 50 at most places. One 50 year old job applicant we talked to who was the only one who put into for the late night shift, working weekends, for only $7.50 an hour, possessing 20+ years experience janitorial work with floor buffers, wet moping and trash collection was not called back by the company after the interview. Another older applicant with 3 years grocery store retail experience, 5 years department store retail experience was also not called back in to one of these “Dollar” or “99 Cents” type stores for a stock clerking job, despite the fact this person said they would work any day or any shift. They also lived 5 blocks from the store! Instead a teenager with no experience was put into the job and many of these kids quickly leave a place such as this for better pay somewhere else.

Most larger companies are also doing drug testing prior to your being hired. You have to drive down to a lab within 24 hours of the application and provide a urine sample which checks for illegal drugs and recent alcohol usage. If you fail this examination some companies will never accept your application again – one strike and you’re out!


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