The ‘unpaid internship’ that is job searching
By Craig Allan, Staff Writer
With the crushing blow that is COVID-19 leaving a wasteland of unemployment in its wake, many are looking for new jobs right now—including myself. There is often a saying that looking for a job is a job in itself. You have to make a resume, cover letter, go on many interviews, and devote a lot of your time to the pursuit despite the fact that all of it may end with a message from the company saying that they have moved on to other potential candidates. With the advent of the internet, searching for a job should be easy, but that is not the case as many jobs now. Even minimum wage jobs are forcing potential hires to jump through hoops in order to get their application in, and those hoops can be downright annoying.
Take a recent experience I had for instance. While searching, I found a posting for a retail job at a sporting goods store. I thought the application would be easy, as this is a retail job that was likely only going to pay minimum wage. Boy, was I wrong. First, they asked me to send in my resume. Then they asked me to fill their application form with my address, phone number, city, etc. Then they asked me to fill in my previous work experience. That’s when I asked, “Why are they asking me for my resume, but also want me to write out my entire resume?”
That was not the worst part though. The worst was by the end of the application, they required me to fill out a questionnaire. These questions involved asking me how I felt about certain situations with a “Strongly Agree” to Strongly Disagree” scale. The questions involved are, to paraphrase, “Do you like work that is easy,” or “I prefer working with a team.” Above the questions is a percentage wheel, which tells you how much of the test you have done. I looked at the wheel, and after adding it up I realized that this questionnaire consisted of a hundred questions. A hundred questions for a minimum wage job—companies should not be allowed to do this. I should not have to spend over an hour on one application, especially when this application is for a job that pays only minimum wage. I tried to contact the store’s media division and ask them why they require people to go through this for an application but I could not get anyone on their customer service line.
Searching for a job should be a lot easier, especially in these times. I know companies want to try and reduce risk in every section of the hiring process, but the truth is that hiring is always risky. Yes, you can get someone who doesn’t work out, but you may also be turning down someone who is a great fit simply because they didn’t pick one right answer of a 100-question questionnaire. In life and in work, sometimes you just have to take a chance.