The Backside of the Unemployment Front.

We're ScrewedImage by kk+ via Flickr

What Employer’s Want!

The war is not on terror or on global warming or on 3-foot tall green aliens. The war is on unemployment and we, the jobless, dodge bankruptcy bullets and enemy credit combatants every day while trying to capture a job on the front line of the employment field —

The battle line has been drawn between the edge of a cliff and a green fertile pasture, in the middle lays dying bank accounts and wounded self-esteem.

In New York City alone, the worker-to-job statistics are staggering. According to the New York Post, there are 20 people for every job, which actually may be the norm around the country, but it’s hard to find data confirming that. The government puts the figure at 5 people for every job – Can’t believe I’m linking to a Cato article – Recent college graduates in Britain are told 70 applicants for every job, which might also be the reality on this side of the pond

When I go on an interview, the first thing an employer usually says is “I’ve had to review hundreds of resumes,” which makes me feel both good and bad. Good, because I was one of the chosen and bad, because there’s an amazing crop of job candidates out there, but only a few will be harvested for a full time job, or even a part time job if they’re lucky, the rest end up dying on the vine.

Since it has become an employer’s market, the requirements for an Administrative Assistant job, or any job for that matter, gets sillier and sillier.

Case in point:

  • Superstar Administrative Assistant needed 
    • Superior ability to multi-task 
  •  Smart Administrative Assistant 
    • Highly intelligent college grad, strong GPA. Really want someone with an open and engaging personality 
  • Engaging Conversationalists with a Strong Sense of Humor, Energy 
    • Must be willing to work hard, have a great sense of humor and the stamina to be on the phones all day…developing relationships and having FUN!

  • Enlightened Assistant/Social Networking Whiz 
    • Please be completely ethical, punctual, and generous of spirit

Take a look at this employer’s list of questions I received in an automated email response after sending my resume.

Let’s play 21 Questions! Really! There were 21 questions.

There are no right or wrong answers – just a matter of how you interpret the questions.

          1. Please give me a description of ‘the perfect job’.

    • Include a description of how this job accentuates your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses (feel free to share what you believe your strengths and weaknesses to be).
      • Are these things that you enjoy doing or have to do?

                2. If you had one day to do anything you wanted, what would it be?

                3. Please organize the following statement so that it is in an easy to understand format:

        • The two bedroom condo offers 1500 square feet with 2 bathrooms and is listed for $350,000 while the three bedroom condo offers 2200 square feet and is listed for $412,000 but has 2 1/2 bathrooms and the two bedroom condo with just 400 square feet more than the other 2 bedroom condo also has 1 extra full bathroom and is only 10% more in price.

                  4. Please put the following words into a logical sequence:  discussion, greeting, questions, presentation, introduction, follow-up

                  5. Imagine that you are working in the office while I am out with a client and one of our Seller-clients calls to say that they want to speak with me.  What would you do?

                  6. Please select (and indicate which) one of the two word pairings that best describes you:

        • gregarious/reserved
        • conservative/free-spirited
        • funny/serious
        • rational/spontaneous
        • casual/systematic
        • detailed/cursory

                  7. For each of the following questions, please indicate which response best represents how it relates to you: (be honest!)

                         a) This statement about me is completely true
                         b) This statement about me is mostly true
                         c) This statement can be true or false but it depends on things
                         d) This statement about me is mostly false
                         e) This statement about me is completely false

                  8. I like things to be organized a certain way, and I like for them to continue being organized in that fashion

                  9. I always plan my day ahead. I even make room for contingencies in my daily plan.

                10. I have a clear idea of where I should be (and when) and seldom get late for appointments.

                11. I work in an organized fashion and do not like to create a mess or to work in a mess.

                12. I am always ready with a plan “B” so that in case things do go wrong, at least I don’t have to waste my time thinking as to what to do.

                13. I adhere to deadlines and people would seldom find me rushing at the last minute to get the job done.

                14. I keep all my belongings (books, CDs etc.) alphabetically or according to any another rule.

                15. There is very little going on in my life which is not a part of my plans.

                16. I am always on the lookout for things or ideas that can get me organized in a better way.

                17. At work, I have plans to rise to a position of more responsibility within a year from now.

                18. People who know me would vouch for the fact that I am punctual.

                19. I am always prepared for even the “worst case scenario”.

                20. My employer relies heavily on me as he is aware of my immense organization skills.

                21. Please list 3 questions that you would like answered before you would consider meeting for an interview.

        I look forward to hearing back from you!  If for some reason you decide that you do not wish to pursue this position I would ask that you kindly let me know that.

         My response:

                  I would not like to pursue this position because

                       a. This is the most ridiculous, insulting, list of questions I have ever received.
                       b. You sound like too much of a control freak.
                       c. You should be spending your time speaking to people face-to-face rather than compiling a list of such idiotic questions.

        Any one want to play?

        Perry at Momma Politico and Glenn at Man-Over-Board have written posts on the unemployment situation. Please swing by their blogs when you have a chance and give them some of your love. Perry suggested I post the employer’s email response as a magazine quiz. It was sort of like one.

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        12 Comments The Backside of the Unemployment Front.

        1. ReformingGeek

          Ha! I love you response. I can understand a few questions ahead of time but 21? Ridiculous.

          Definitely OCD.

        2. Lauren

          Thanks!!! You're right. Definitely OCD. She must wear Latex gloves and keep the papers on her desk in a geometrically pleasing pile – all corners and sides must be perfectly aligned, otherwise into the shredder they go.

        3. JD at I Do Things


          I just saw an ad for the position of "Thoughtpartner" and yes, there was a trademark symbol at the end.

          The actual job description (of course they had to give one because what the hell is a thoughtpartner???) made it sound like you were a sales bitch of some sort.

          Yeah, "Thoughtpartner" sounds much better.

        4. Lauren

          Stela: Major problem is an understatement.

          JD: Thoughtpartner reminds me of 1984 and "Thought Police" and "Thought Crime." I'm responsible for many thought crimes. As far as thoughtpartner and sales bitch, I'll be anybody's bitch at this point.

          From 1984:

          "The thought police would get him just the same. He had committed–would have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper–the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you."
          – George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 1

        5. Tracie

          How ridiculous!

          The biggest employer in my hometown just laid off almost 500 employees. Things are going from bad to worse around here.

        6. Lauren

          Tracie: I'm really sorry to hear that. I feel terrible for the families affected by the layoff. I think things are going from bad to worse all over.

        7. mommapolitico

          Brilliant, Lauren! And thanks for the shout-out, Girlie!
          The post was every bit as hilarious as I thought it would be. It was like the "prospective employer" gave you a gift. Although a job would be a better gift. I still can't get over this…
          So glad you shared your answers with the world – too good to pass up!
          Faboo post, my friend!

        8. Lauren

          Thank you!!! masked super politico wonder woman. Now that I know your true identity can I reveal it to the world, or will you continue wearing a disguise?

        9. Pingback: Lauren Salkin

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