Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Seventh Sense

In the course of my working life so far, I was, on several occassions, required to be part of the hiring process when we had vacancies for interns, administrative staff, graphic designers and promoter girls for events we're managing.

But today, we're going to be talking about college / university-going students, who in a year or two's time, will be graduating and go through the process of job hunting. I've had the (dis)pleasure of interviewing and meeting up with students who are interested to take on part-time jobs with us.

Here, the government, they're all scratching their head and trying to figure out why our local graduates aren't getting employed. They talk about lacking the right attitude, a poor command of languages, maybe even to the extent of questioning the education system? I don't know. Whatever man.

But to ME - the answer is obvious - in addition to lacking all of the abovementioned, they lack the most important thing - COMMON SENSE.

Common sense is what people in common would agree. It could also refer to beliefs or propositions that in their opinion they consider would in most people's experience be prudent and sound judgement without dependence upon esoteric knowledge or study or research, but based upon what is believed to be knowledge held by people "in common".

There you go. Without esoteric knowledge or study. That means, one need not be extremely well read and have multiple PhDs to own some common sense. But yet, there are people without them.

Some months back, we were short of staff at the company and I posted up notices on campus regarding a part-time vacancy at our office, to handle daily administrative tasks mostly. Response was slow, afterall, it IS a boring job. Nevertheless, we had some inquiries.

One of the emails I received read -

Dear sir,
I am Mohammad so-and-so Id no.1000512003.
I am applicant for that job.

Yes, that's it. A Three-liner email which addressed me as a "Sir", when my notices around campus read "Interested applicants to contact Ms. Doreen at..."

Does Ms. Doreen sound masculine to any of you?

OK, so back to that email. Applicant for what job? So you mean you are trying to convince me to hire you because you tell me you're an applicant? No CV? No nothing? I never replied to his email.

There you go - wouldn't common sense save his ass?

Then recently, I had to do some hiring again - this time, for promoter girls for a roadshow we're managing for the Blue Telco. So I sent emails out to a couple of students, and got them to help me pass the word around. Response was overwhelming! The RM25 per hour probably had something to do with it. I had calls from far and wide! And uh, late into the night too!

I've got these girls from universities and colleges calling up asking about the job, so yes, they are old enough to possess SOME common sense right, the sense to know when is the right time to contact potential employers. Apparently not. In the past 2 weeks, I've been receiving calls and SMSes at 10pm, 11pm and even midnight, and more often that not, the voice on the other end is meek and incoherent.

"Uh.. hello ah.. Miss Doreen ah.. I call for the job.. there, that promoter job you advertised ah.."

The first few times, I entertained them, I waited patiently for them to get to their point, and answered the queries nicely. The last few calls I received, I'm beginning to get impatient and go "Yeah, and..?"

During all these times, I always wondered - isn't calling people at the right time something that is "common knowledge"? I remember when I was young, if I wanted to call a schoolmate and to ask something about homework, my parents would give gentle reminders like, "It's 7pm, your friend and her family are probably sitting down for dinner, why don't you call later?" or "It's already 10pm, maybe her parents are sleeping and you shouldn't be calling at this hour".

So I always make it a point to check on the hour before I call someone. At work, I don't usually call people at 9am on the dot, unless it's a matter of life and death. I like some time to settle down, turn on my computer, and make a cuppa before I start the daily grind, therefore I assume people would appreciate the same.

My final straw broke last night when I was drifting off to sleep and my phone beeped ed upon the arrival of an SMS. At first, I thought it was The Drunk Friend who had earlier on in the night pestered me to go out for drinks with him. But it was an unknown number from another student enquiring about the promoter job. The time read 12:34am.

I sleepily typed out a reply - "Tip No. 1 when job hunting-contact potential employers at a reasonable time. But do email CV to me at...."


Addendum - Five minutes after I published the post, I got another SMS from the girl who texted me at 12:34am last night. I had told her to email me her CV. Her SMS this morning reads - "I'm sorry, but what's a CV?"


Posted by Doreen at 9:04 am