Thursday, September 17, 2009


Greetings from the land of Unemployment.

I have been getting SO FRUSTRATED lately about the lack of response to jobs that I KNOW I am qualified for...even too qualified...but what really kills me is the growing number of scams that are just insulting and make me question even searching for a job online.

I realize there are a number of scams out there, particularly in admin/office jobs on a certain oft-used site...if any of you are new to the job search like I am, this story might help you. (By the way, this story is just one of MANY weird scams I have become in contact with, but the only one that seemed valid at the time I applied.)

I recently applied to an ad that simply said "Secretary" (Cleveland) which did not seem phony at all in the original ad, mentioned hours, per-hour salary, and a little bit about the company. But then it got weirder.

I got an email shortly after I applied asking me to take a test to narrow down the selection process due to the large number of people who had applied. This didn't seem too weird. It asked different multiple-choice questions about my personality at the workplace. Then there was a second part which said was a test of following directions and recognizing layouts, browsers, and online advertising trends. Because the original ad said they were a web-based company, I believed them, even though I was wary about giving any personal info. I was instructed to "validate" three website forms, and then answer specific questions about the second page of each site (after I had given my email address). Naively, I did as instructed, but stopped when asked for anything more than my email address. I figured I didn't pass the test because I wasn't willing to give more info, and just clicked out of it.

The next day, I got an email which seemed like a real response from a woman at a certain company (I will not mention either name), with the subject line that matched my original email response to the ad exactly, saying that "from reviewing my resume, it is clear that I am qualified for the position and that I have been shortlisted for the position." She asked me to email more information about myself, including what time would be best for me to interview. She also said that I would be required to take a credit check, the results of which would not impact hire, but would validate my identity. She then provided a link to a free credit report site. (!!!)

Aside from never having to take a credit check for a job, I also realized that throughout this whole process, I had never sent them my resume. I also looked up the company, which didn't seem to actually exist, because the website domain from which the woman's email was sent just went to a site of other links. Plus there was no phone number at which I could reach her. I deleted the email.

I have since gotten FIVE EMAILS from five different parties (HR representatives, recruitment agencies, random individuals) asking me to take different kinds of "competency tests" to help them with the process due to "overwhelming response to the position ad"...all with the same subject line I had originally provided. Most of them included typing in your email address, home address, phone number, etc. This, I realize, is partially my fault for giving my email address, however, it's a catch-22: you have to "put yourself out there" to get something, while at the same time, you don't want to be too exposed to scams like these.

I already have sent my resume to multiple people; my information is just out there. Most online jobs I apply to then send me to a second-party job site, like "Direct Job Source" or "Employment Source" which then ask me to fill out my stuff again, and then bombard me with questions about whether or not I was interested in furthering my education at the moment. Once, before I knew better, I made the mistake of saying "maybe, if I had more information" and then was literally harassed for two weeks from a representative at a local community college, saying she was simply "responding to an inquiry" that I had made. She even sent me a card in the mail (she got my address from the job-search website). I was only able to get rid of her calls when I emailed her telling her I was not at all interested in the school. I felt like a bad person. But this is crazy!

PLEASE be careful when applying to any secretarial position.

On another note...I had a group interview/info session the other night for a tutoring position. It went was mostly a Q&A/fill out an application and leave your credentials with the director type of thing, but still, I felt ok about it. I sent the requisite "thank you email" to stand out a bit. So we'll see.

As for training this week, I feel that I have returned! Took Monday off from running, because I was super sore from the Half (and because a rest day was in my schedule - yay!) and went to Kripalu Yoga (a new one for me, very relaxing). Tuesday and Wednesday, took to the treadmill - not at a gym, but at a fitness center in the basement of one of my landlord's other buildings - free access! Watched the news one day, the VMA pre-show the next...gotta love distractions like that, plus NO HILLS on the treadmill! As my shins have been acting up, I thought I would "tread" on a softer surface for a couple of days. Did 6 miles both days, but for yesterday's speed workout, I made part of it a tempo run at half-marathon pace (which was a lot harder now that my half-marathon pace is 10:30ish!). Today is 5 miles, tomorrow's a rest day, and then first 20-miler!!!! It's supposed to be really nice and cool on Saturday, which is a big relief.

By the way, I ordered some Kinesio Tape yesterday for my shins...this seems like it's a big deal right now, used at the Olympics, and my sis-in-law, who is a Physical Therapist, says it's great for rehabilitation because it promotes blood flow around the injured area. Will report when I get it!

Tonight, dinner at Johnny Mango's in Ohio City with Claire! Will also report on that!

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