After reading this post about how applying for a job in Singapore can be draining, by the always brilliant Orange Foam Finger, it triggered off some of my suppressed feelings about the whole job interview process. Never wanted to talk about this, but now I shall, only if it creates more awareness that this is not acceptable and something needs to change. Orange Foam Finger is too nice to just call it strange HR Practices.
I want to tell the poor people who have earnestly applied for a job, but have had their souls shattered by thoughtless interviewers (who have forgotten what it’s like or got their job through contacts), to take heart and not let the experience cause their self-esteems to plummet, as it invariably will.
Out of the many interviews I have attended, the kind, decent interviewers were few and far between. They didn’t do anything special, but just gave me the basic respect by not doing any of the things below and speaking to me in a non-bitchy tone. And I want to thank those good people, because even though I didn’t get the job, I left with a great impression of the company culture.
These were the nightmare behaviours, I hope no one else has to suffer through:
1. Yawn loudly without covering their mouth, in the middle of a panel interview, while flipping through my resume for the very first time. I sit there for 10 minutes, already a nervous wreck, and wait while they read.
2. Go for a tea break after I have waited for an hour, showing me the hand as they walk by. Later the poor flustered secretary asks me to wait till they return. When panelists return, the head honcho says I have wasted their time as I don’t have sufficient directly relevant work experience. In Singapore there is no such thing as transferrable skills. (See #1)
3. Telling me I’m rich and asking for too much, quoting a salary I last earned, even though it’s the salary stated in the job description.
4. Ask me if I have a boyfriend
5. Ask me why I’m not married
6. Ask me “What are you?” to my face (meaning what race or ethnicity)
7. Ask me how old I am to my face (although #4-7 are also questions on the application form)
8. Treat me like their entertainment. Laugh at my expense with side jokes with other members of the panel, during the interview. You realize that they never meant to hire you from the get go. They probably already picked someone they know personally for the job and are just forced to go through the motions.
9. No courtesy of even a rejection, and the same job ad appears again in the newspapers the following week.
10. After many weeks of interviews including written tests and powerpoint presentations, and you’re finally selected, you’re told they can’t afford to pay you the salary stated and request that you except half the amount. They say it’s not within their budget, like it’s now your problem.
The above is what I remember – the rest of the trauma I blocked out. I must add that these job interviews from hell, were during the recession, but I don’t expect much to have changed since then. I hope it has though, but if you’ve experienced hell as well, and if will help, vent away.