out of reverse into drive

There is good news and there is bad news and varying quantities of each.

Friday I got a call about a job that I applied for in Perth through an IT contractor and they asked me if I could come to an interview on Monday morning after about 20 minutes of general phone-interviewness. The end of the story is that I didn’t get the job. That’s bad news in that I’m still unemployed, but it’s good news in that now I canopenly make fun of the ludicrous interview process in public with no fear of repercussions. So seeing as how I was going up to Perth on the Monday anyhow for a concert (more on that later), I landed myself at the building somewhere in central perth just shy of 9am. As I was walking into the building, a girl was standing at the elevator looking mildly tense. The elevator came, we both toddle in, and she hits the same floor button that I do, at which stage I wonder if maybe she’s here for an interview as well. The doors to the elevator open, we walk into the same office where a woman at the front desks asks if we’re here for “The interviews”, it turns out we both are, and have to go down a floor. So having no strong feelings one way or the other, we climb back into the elevator and go down. This time the elevator doors open to the sight of around a dozen or so folks milling around aimlessly and staring blankly at various wall panes and roof markings in the lobby. It was at this precise point that I became somewhat suspicious of the oncoming “interview” process, a feeling that it turned out was not unwarranted.

At 9am, a woman sticks her head out of an office and ushers the fifteen of us into a larger room with a number of tables set up into ‘groups’, you know, the kind the set the tables up into in primary school, facing each other. I begin to wonder how this thing is about to down. I have plenty of time to wonder as well, seeing as how the group of four women conducting the “interviews” were 20 minutes late. This is about the time where I begin to cynically stereotype a few of the people in the room, the kind of people that you always see whenever you watch job interviews… There’s the guy who looks otherwise neat, but hasn’t bothered shaving his one day facial hair growth in true I’m-here-because-I-need-my-dole-cheque fashion, there’s the guy or girl who immediately starts talking about the bender they had the previous night, the person who is completely unqualified and hasn’t worked in over a decade that looks like one of your grandparents but somehow made it to the interview process (possibly by smudging the first couple of digits of each date on their CV), the woman who all the other women disapprove of because she’s showing the most skin and of course, the guy who shows up everyone and rocks up in a three piece suit. While I’m musing about the imaginary lives of people while maintaining mindless smalltalk, things finally get underway, beginning with “Introductions”.

Now in a lot of situations I can understand and am quite happy to go along with getting to know other people, however, today I am in a room full of people I already subconsciously dislike and wish horrible things upon because they’ve got their eyes on my job. We’re told to spend two minutes a piece (timed with a buzzer no less) telling the other people at our table our names, interests, education & work history, what personally motivates us and why we want to work for the employer. At this point I have one eyebrow raised so highly that it actually ascends up above my hairline. As we’re ranting off, we get to Mr. Three Piece Suit, who was at my table. After telling us his name (which I didn’t bother to remember as we were issued with pre-scrawled nametags) and so on, he went on to tell us about how he already has four degrees, one with honours and is two years into another. It struck me later that it seems a bit odd that someone with four uni degrees would be applying for an entry level support job, maybe he was counting degrees from Snucky-U or something. A girl then turns up half an hour late and you can see the hesitance in her expression, wondering whether to bother sitting down, as she looks at one of the women in the corner with a clipboard and prays that there isn’t enough red ink in that pen to make a big red X next to her name.

The rest of the hour that this “interview” process went for involved discussing in our table-groups how you would respond to an irate customer. There was a lot of noise and varied discussion with everyone generally saying the same thing, sympathise, blah blah blah. This was followed by “Roleplaying” where we were paired off and told to read off a piece of paper to each other as one became the employee and one the client. By this point, any credibility I’d given to this interview had long gone out the window. We were then stopped to be told that the process was over, and we would be called later that day to be told if we had “progressed to the next stage”. What is this? Who wants to be a freaking millionaire? I have no idea how they could have possibly extracted any useful information from the session aside from the fact that I was indeed a real person, and was capable of dressing myself.

So I get a call a couple of hours later to say they want me back for more “Testing”. Joy. I go back later that day where they then stick me in front of an old P-II and ask me to go through some testing software reminiscent of the online uni tutorials I was given when a lecturer couldn’t be shagged making one, or the licensing software from the RTA, except this time, I’m getting multiple choice “Pick the word spelt wrong”, “Subtract these two numbers” and “Click the box that corresponds to you not being a complete imbecile”. This was followed by a terribly conducted interview with the woman I spoke with the first time on the phone. I say terrible because she was trying to find out some information, in particular whether or not I’d be taking leave anytime soon or leaving the company in a week if I got a better offer, and was asking the most obvious questions I’d heard. Maybe it’s just me, but if you’re interviewing someone, they want the job, so they’re going to tell you whatever they think you want to hear. If you tell them what you want to hear, you may as well be interviewing “Repeat After Me” Elmo. Again I get the “progressed to the next stage” dribble and I then I leave. The next day I got a call saying I didn’t get the job, citing a lack of “Customer service experience”. This is what bugs me. After the most ludicrous interview process I’ve ever been through, I’m knocked back on the premise of something that was clear and obvious on my CV from the very beginning, that being where my job experience was. Why they would call me for an interview in the first place if they wanted me to have had more experience in some setting (which wasn’t brought up in any of the “interviews”) is beyond me. Again I resign myself to the fact that 95% of everything is stupid.

Thankfully the day wasn’t a complete waste though, as Steve (who came up with me) and I caught up with Amanda in the afternoon and then went to see Korn, Static X and Fear Factory play later that night. It was bloody excellent. I was pretty impressed with Static X as I hadn’t heard much of their stuff before, but the Korn set was what I was there to see, and it rocked rather hard. Much to my delight, they only played 3 songs from their new album, this being a good thing seeing as how I haven’t yet grabbed said album and so didn’t know the tracks for squat. One thing I noticed that was pretty shocking was that the Security there were half-decent, not a pack of knobbers, and (dare I say it) even friendly. Like I said, truly shocking stuff. Both Steve and I got thoroughly soaked through in several peoples bodily fluids and a large volume of our own sweat while we were moshing with the other unwashed heathens, requiring a serious shower later that night.

One thing I started thinking about when we took a breather between bands, was where the hell did all these people come from? I mean I know their mummies and daddies loved each other (or the IVF needle) very much, but I’m standing in a crowd of several thousand people. Sure, some of them (like me, barely) could probably pass for relatively normal people during daylight hours and hold a job, office, labourer, telemarketer, whatever. But what the hell do the rest of these people do? I mean the ones with forehead-slapworthy and cliched tattoos coming out the wazoo and half a dozen facial piercings. And I don’t just mean the endless crowds of teenage walking advertisments for living the ‘angsta’ (read: only Linkin Park understand me) lifestyle. Is this where your tax dollars are going? Can that many people actually live in their parents basements? Who knows.

I’m going to see a fellow tomorrow about possibly doing some work in Bunbury. I don’t know if it’s a good thing. I want to move to Perth, there are just so many of my friends I haven’t seen and so many things I want to do that I can’t do here. But if it’s a choice between having a job in Bunbury or being unemployed in Perth… hell, I dunno.

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