Are you being stalked?

So I wrote earlier about an interview I had down in NYC with a law firm for an entry-level assistant position. Well it turned out that they were looking for an actual lawyer but had only wanted to meet with me to discuss my background/qualifications. As the interviewer stated “You (me) have a very interesting professional/academic background”.

Well walking away from the interviewer feeling bummed that I won’t get a job with this place, but also feeling pretty good about myself that they were impressed by my background; I followed up with a thank-you email. The response I got from the interviewer was incredible.

He then proceeded to ask me about his chances for running for some kind of public office in NYC. Having a decent campaign background, with fundraising, I gave the best answer I could and said we could talk on the phone to discuss more about it. He then responds back that I should join him for lunch. I live 4 hours away from NYC. Not going to happen. I had to drive to/from DC in a 2 day span for a couple job interviews that came up. I suggested I might be able to meet with him when I drive back from DC. I am then invited to his house/offered a bed for the night/ etc. Okay. This is creepy.

While I’m sure the interviewer was being more than generous and kind, it still creeped me out and anyone else I had told the story to. Granted most interviewers think that they can get away with mostly anything as they are the ones with the power to hire you. Most of the time.

I thought, oh boy is the interviewer going to kidnap me and sell me on the market? “Recent college-grad slave!” “Place your bids!” I mean this whole process of going to interviews is degrading as it is. Do I really need to be sold as a slave????

I’d be interested to hear back whether you have had any creepy interviews or interviewers. Place your comments and as always,

Good luck hunting!

You want my advice?

This isn’t directed at you readers, if there are any of you out there. I wrote last time about the interviewer who just wanted to meet me. Didn’t have a job for me, but wanted to meet me as he was curious about my background. Anyways, despite the unfortunate interview, I still sent a note following protocol. For those of you who do not know, after you interview you send a thank-you note further expressing your interest, etc.

So I received a reply to my thank-you note from the interviewer. He mentioned that he forgot to ask for my advice on a particular issue. He mentioned how he had run for office back in Taiwan and wanted to know what his chances were for New York. Now he didn’t include for what position he was thinking of running for or any other important information to know how to respond to such an email.

I responded as best as I could, and then received another strange email. How he was too busy with his work to respond but would talk later. Very strange. Very strange indeed. Will this lead to me running this guy’s campaign for higher office in NYC? Who knows?

Keep hunting, Hunters!

“I don’t have a job for you…I just wanted to meet you”

Has this ever happened to any of you? You get an exciting invitation to meet with an interviewer for a position that you are interested in, or at least curious to grow from. Then you show up for the interview, sporting your new suit, haircut, etc etc and the interviewer says, “We’re actually looking for a candidate with more experience (aka a lawyer) but we wanted to meet you because we find your background interesting.”

While this happened to me very recently, I wasn’t as peeved about it had I not already gone to New York City to meet with friends. However, if I specifically went to NYC for the interview I would have flipped. Wouldn’t you? Do interviewers these days not understand that it costs money for applicants, especially applicants who live out of state to come in for an interview?

Now while I was lucky in the fact that I was already in NYC and while the interviewer was kind that he will keep in touch with me when something that suits my experience becomes available. I have learned my lesson. Next time you are asked to interview that you have to travel far to, ask if you can interview on the phone. Since the first interview is almost always the introductory interview. Secondly re-confirm the position you are applying. While I had applied to an entry-level position, this firm was looking for an experienced lawyer. Both of which I am not.

So next time, follow the steps….to success? Until next time.

Keep hunting.

Follow these Steps to Success???

My fellow friend, classmate, and job-hunter MMG emailed me this article about the phenomenon that is the “E-snub”. I posted an article about my experience with the “E-Snub”. Except instead of following this person’s advice I just phone the hell out of the employer. Anyways like I said, I recommend you read this and try it out sometime.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/complaint-box-the-e-snub/

Persistence will bite you in the a$$

Too persistent? Seriously? I’m being told that I’m being too persistent? Let me give you the lay down. Back in November I met with a potential employer who wanted to offer me the job. Unfortunately before I could say that I’m interested and would work for them, a hiring freeze was put in place…until January.

I thought ok thats only 2 1/2 months away. I can handle waiting out for those 2 1/2 months. So I waited. Checked back in with them in December and same answer call us back in January.

So January arrives. Unfortunately I’m sick and can’t talk. So I have to wait 2 weeks before I can call the company. Then I call. No one picks up, voice message. “Hi I’m calling to check in regarding the status of the hiring freeze. I’m still interested in working for you and your team. If you could call me back I would appreciate it. ” One thing I have discovered is that I end every phone call or email to my contacts with “I would appreciate it”. Walter Kronkite has his line. I have mine. Anyways, still hear nothing. So I try again. Calling every couple hours or so. Still no one picks up. Finally I call his “assistant-but-not-assistant” and she picks up. After calling back right away. “Oh he’s travelling he’ll be back next week.” Great! So now I know when he’ll be in his office. Starting to feel like a stalker but whatever. I’m a college graduate with student loans, health insurance, still living at home with no money to my name.

Monday, February 1, 2010. Call his office at 10am. No one picks up. 1130am. No one picks up again. 130pm. No one picks up again. 3pm. Rings once! Hah he must be in the office but busy. 330pm. No one again. 4pm. No one again. Okay this is getting really annoying. I call his “assistant-but-not-assistant” again. No one picks up. I email the both of them. I call again, a couple times. I get an email from the assistant. “He’ll call you Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 8am”. Great! Finally! My persistence and perseverance  pays off!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010. 8 am arrives. I’ve been awake for a couple hours. Preparing myself for what I’m hoping will be good news. The call comes in. I can tell right away its not good news. Even during the pleasantries I can tell. Still no room for an extra person in their company because of the economy. Then the kicker. He then proceeds to give me “man-to-man advice”. Goes something along the lines of “Your persistence was great, but you went over the line with all the calling.” I’m flabbergasted. I went over the line? How am I supposed to know if you’re avoiding me or what? In this economy you can’t just sit around waiting for people to call you back. You gotta keep pushing and pushing. I do admit there were times when I kept calling and I was thinking maybe this is too much. But I thought, no they will think this is good as it shows my interest and perseverance and persistence.

Now I wasn’t told “No”. Instead I was told, “We just don’t have anything for you right now, but when we do we’ll keep you in mind”. So not the end of the world, but at the same time it is.

Thats the way the world turns. Do I appreciate it? No. I do not appreciate it.

Signing off.

Not Enough Dedication to the Administration????

s I briefly mentioned in my previous posting, I had applied for a coveted Fall 2009 White House Internship. Not thinking that I would have much of a chance, since I didn’t work on the campaign to get Barack Obama elected President of the United States.

Yet I completed my application, with three recommendations from college professors and my coach as well as two decent essays. I received an email a month after my application was electronically sent to the White House Internship Office asking if I wouldn’t mind being considered for an internship with a different department. To be more specific, The Office of Presidential Correspondence (OPC). Essentially, the Presidential Mail Room. I was disheartened that I couldn’t be considered for a more prestigious department such as the Communications or Political offices, however, I reminded myself. It is an Internship at the WHITE HOUSE!!!!!

A week after being informed I was being considered for the OPC, I then received an email (also displaying the emails of the other potential applicants; major professional taboo) saying I would be interviewed by phone on X day between the hours of 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM.

Wow. I was going to be interviewed for a White House Internship. Already a big step in the right direction. I prepared days in advance. Reading up on the Administration’s plans with regards to Health Care reform, latest news in Afghanistan, the works! Anything that would make me sound like an informed individual to serve the President and the American people.

Boy did I prepare wrong. Instead of reading up on current events and what-not, I should have been preparing items as to “What my campaign slogan would be for the position of White House Intern.” However, I have gotten ahead of myself.

The day of the phone interview arrived. I woke up at 6:30 AM to prepare myself on current events that would be useless in the interview. I ate a hearty breakfast. I then hunkered down at 8:45 AM at my desk starting at my phone. I already had the White House number programmed into my phone as I had to call the White House Intern office trying to explain that I was uncomfortable divulging my SSN and DOB in the same email as requested for a pre-Security Clearance. No internship or job is worth it to risk sensitive information over email. Especially email that probably gets hacked quite frequently. Especially since the White House had been victim to cyber attacks earlier on.

2 hours have passed. Still no phone call from the White House. It is 12:30 PM and still no call. Finally! 12:45 PM! I get a call from the White House. I know it is the White House. The White House flashes up on my phone.

“Hello?” “Hi is this Dan Sorenson?” “Yes it is.” “This is the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence.” Wow! I’m speaking to a White House staffer! Before I can take a breath I’m told that a current intern of the OPC is sitting in on the call and that I will be asked a total of 3 questions. They are the same 3 questions everyone else has/will be asked. Let’s begin.

1) Who is your inspiration to public service?

2) If someone was writing a book about your life up to this point, what is your greatest achievement?

3)If you had to campaign for this position, what would your campaign slogan be?

Ok. First of all, where is the “What do you think of the President’s policies towards health care and how do you think you could assist with those policies in the OPC?” Nope, instead I’m asked how would I campaign for the position? A position that is not paid. A position that is an internship. I answer the three questions best I can.

1) My late Granddad for his service to country during World War 2 and how afterwards he never sought his riches just a calm, pleasant life.

2) A huge charity event I established that raised over $10,000 for Diabetes Research.

3) “I’m your man!” Who the hell knows???

An interview that I knew wasn’t my greatest hour. However, I thought maybe I have a chance. I was hoping I would be asked why I thought the Hillary Clinton 3 AM Wake Up Call Campaign commercial was the greatest moment in the Campaign. My reasoning? It reminded me of my father’s 3 AM wake up calls about some growing concerns in the Balkans. Or being woken up to be evacuated to the American Embassy compound. Instead I was left looking like a Hillary Clinton sycophant. Which I partially am, however, I was not given the time of day to explain why I was not the Obama front-man. I hoped my differences with the Obama-cult would be a winner. Shouldn’t a good President always surround himself with people who agree AND disagree? Not this President. Not that I expected I would have audience with the President.

Almost a month passes by…

“Thanks but no thanks. We appreciate your support and welcome you to apply again for the Spring 2010 session. ” Ok good try. Maybe 2010. Who knows. Hopefully I’d be employed by then. A week later and I get another email from the White House. This is where it gets interesting. I am told that there are 3 things they look for in every applicant.

1) Dedication to public service________ Check! I selflessly raised $10 grand for Diabetes Research

2) Leadership in the Community_______ Check again! I served as Captain of my Swim Team, Student Government Senator, Campus Leader of sorts

3)Dedication to the ADMINISTRATION________ uhm half check!

Where I went wrong…. I didn’t show how much I LOVED PRESIDENT OBAMA AND HOW HE IS GOD. First of all, are you serious? Like I said earlier, shouldn’t there be more people who aren’t yes-men serving the President? Guess that is why we had 3 people break into the Obama’s first State Dinner! Things get even better.

I emailed again! This time saying that the OPC has filled their internship spots but have SO MUCH WORK that they are looking for FallVols! Fall Volunteers! Oh wow! A position that is the same as an intern. Except instead of saying White House intern. You’d get to say White House FallVols. I kid you not. They were calling the new positions FallVols. I didn’t re-send my materials because I personally felt betrayed by the Obama Administration. I, like many other Americans, felt that things were going to be done differently in DC. We were wrong. All completely wrong.

Until next time, keep job hunting!

Suicide is NOT the answer to the economy

So back in November 2009, while I was interning down in DC; I came across a temp agency. For those of you who may not know, a temp agency puits temporary hires into various offices, etc to do part-time, temporary work. I figured since I was being told I didn’t have enough office experience I would send in my resume and maybe work for some offices and get paid small time.

Well this temp agency is located in the middle of nowhere Northern Virginia in a town called Annandale. Takes me about 2 hours to get there since I have to rely on the public transportation system. I arrive a little late but since I’m not really putting my heart and soul into this temp-ing deal I don’t care.

I’m greeted by some nice people. I fill out some forms. I then take 5 computer tests. 4 are testing my MS Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and Outlook. The fifth test is a typing test to see how fast I can type. Which BTW is 75 WPM. Big Wow; according to these people. Then the interview. This is where it gets good.

Throughout the interview I’m being lambasted with how I have way too many internships on my resume. Excuse me? Too many? I think I don’t have enough!!!! Then I’m criticized for having my top button on my collared shirt not buttoned. FYI: I unbuttoned it during the test-taking part of this ridiculous session. Finally I meet the owner of the temp agency. A fat, smelly, computer nerd. I didn’t judge him at this point. I judged him after what he said to me. So we’re talking. He makes fun of the fact that I live in the smallest state in the country. Then makes fun of me for going to university at a small liberal arts college in NJ. Then comments that my home-state is too small to have a university. I remind him that there is an ivy-league college in my state. He then remarks that only 4 people attend that school. W-O-W. What a loser! Then he tells me I’m stupid for wanting to pursue a career in politics. My blood pressure is rising slowly but surely.

Here is where the kicker kicks in. I’m then told that the economy is tough (no sh!t, Sherlock) and it is hard for them to place temps into their clients offices. I say I understand. He then looks at me and proceeds to say, “You know the economy is really bad and its hard out there so if I were you I would just go home and kill myself!”

Wait. I’ve been told by an interviewer, someone I do not know, that I should go home and kill myself because the economy is bad? I felt like I was just tazered. No I didn’t pee myself. I was just stunned. For someone to tell someone who is looking for a job that they should just go home and commit suicide? Get out of here!

I’ve heard of bad interviews but find me someone who has been told to go home and kill themselves? So when I made it home I started drafting a formal letter of complaint to send to his local associations, VA Attorney General, etc etc etc. A week goes by. I am still working on the letter. Knowing I have to send it out soon. I then get a call from the temp agency. “Hi how are you? We’re just checking in on your job searching? Hows it going?” I respond, “Well I’m still alive and I am in the process of writing a letter of complaint because……” I explain the whole story. “Oh I think he was just saying that out of jest” You are stupid as pie. You don’t defend someones actions like that by saying he was joking. What if I walked in and said to the fat man “Oh I think you need to stop eating because you’re going to have a heart attack?” Ridiculous. So I hang up after saying I don’t want them pushing my resume around as I don’t want to be represented by those kinds of people. Two days later. I get a letter from the boss.

“Please accept my apology, blah blah blah.” Now the great stuff. “Enclosed you will find a $50 gift cheque and $40 worth of Starbucks gift cards. Please accept this as a token of my regrets blah blah blah”. Sweet! I’m about $90 richer because I complained about being told to go home and kill myself.

So I recommend to all you job seekers, go to every interview. Try get the interviewer to say something bad or listen to every word they say. Because you never know what he/she might say to you.

But one last thing…. it NEVER hurts to complain!

Until next time job seekers!

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