Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Job Search 101

For the past three years I have worked at the front desk of a manufacturing plant. One of my duties is to take job applications.  I have been continually amazed and frightened at the parade of humanity that finds their way to my desk seeking employment.  With so many people unemployed, I thought it might be helpful for me to call on my experiences to create a list of tips for applying/interviewing for a job.

1,  Do NOT bring your parent to do all of the talking for you.  Especially if said parent is going to say negative things about your work ethic and skills.

2.  Do NOT have a friend, parent or significant other drive you to your interview unless absolutely necessary; e.g., you will miss the interview entirely if no one gives you a lift.

3.  If #2 is deemed necessary, do NOT announce the fact, as in "I  had to catch a ride with my friend, Ray, 'cause my ex-wife slashed all my tires last night 'cause I won't give her back the pistol I bought her for our 7th anniversary."  

4.  If you must have someone drive you, have them wait in the car.  Do NOT bring Chatty Cathy inside to visit with the receptionist while you fill out your application or take the blueprint-reading test.  This tends to make the receptionist terse.

5.  If, and only if, the temperature is above 100, there is no air conditioning in the vehicle, you are more than 10 miles from home, a mall, Wal-Mart, convenience store, gas station, or any other place your driver could possibly loiter, it is acceptable to allow your driver into the building.  He/she should sit in an out-of-the-way place and remain silent.

6.  Under NO circumstances may your driver assist you in completing the application or answering test questions.  

7.  We do not discriminate against applicants who have been incarcerated.  However, we do discriminate against applicants who can not spell the felony for which they were incarcerated.

8.  Do not make personal or business calls for your current job while in the waiting room. A successful interview never begins with "Hey, Dude, I gotta go.  Catch you later."

9.  A few words about dress code - If you are applying for a manual labor job in the plant, clean, hole-free jeans and t-shirt are acceptable.  What is NOT acceptable is:
  • Jeans with tears/holes
  • Shirts with vulgar sayings
  • Shirts that may have once displayed a vulgar saying, but are so faded/torn as to be unreadable
  • Dirty clothes - does anyone really need to be told this?
  • Hair spiked into a Mohawk.  That may be your personal style, but for this one hour - comb it down.
  • Shorts
  • If you are so unfortunate as to own NO long pants and you can't afford a pair at Good Will, please remember this rule of thumb:  shorts should be longer than they are wide.  
10.  The #1 rule of appropriate dress:  If you choose to disregard the above advice and wear jeans with a hole in the posterior, it is CRUCIAL that you wear underwear!  This can not be emphasized enough.  

11.  Unless you are listing Cher, Madonna or Bono as a reference, you should know the full names of your references.  Spelling them correctly is also encouraged.

12.  You may not list your mother as a reference.

13.  Although it may be common to "inflate" your previous job experience or intangible qualities you may or may not possess, it is a bad idea to flat-out lie about required mechanical skills.  For example, you should assume that at some point when applying for a welding job, you will be asked to weld.  You can't bluff your way through a weld test.

14.  Phone etiquette - At times, it may be necessary to communicate by telephone to check on the status of your application or current job openings. Identify yourself by full name, make your request succinctly, be willing to leave a voicemail, and never, ever, EVER say the following:
"You tell that Plant Manager that I'm the best #$%;* worker he'll ever have.  I will come down there and bust my $@&;% for you all.  I just need one more chance.  I'm getting my #(%&;@ together.  I kicked that @%&; to the curb - my girlfriend, she was costing me a lot of money.  And my daughter, she's costing me a lot of money, but I have that all handled now and I'm ready to be the best @#$%*#$^% worker you ever had.  You tell that Plant Manager one thing - I want to come down there and bust my @%$&;$% for him.  I'm the best worker - you can ask anyone in town, they'll say [name redacted] is the best @$%&;^ worker in town....." (repeat ad nauseam until the receptionist hangs up on you)
Sadly, I didn't make up any of these scenarios. Each has happened at least once - and several repeatedly.


  1. Very cute post Tami - and sad but true it is. This is one of the most important things we can teach our kids isn't it!

  2. I did read this post to Elaine tonight and we had a life lesson on how to apply for a job. Elaine wants a job at a vet clinic someday and she said she now knows how to dress - or not to call on the phone and cuss! Your post was very helpful!

  3. LOL! Sounds like you have an exciting job if all of those are true!

  4. Oh. My. Goodness! What is the matter with people? I don't think you have to be terribly well educated to know that you shouldn't do/not do these things. But I'm on the phone a lot and I'm sad to say that there are a lot of stupid people in the world!