There I sat at one of my job agencies last Wednesday, feeling horribly out of character. I am looking for a new job at the moment, that is to say for a new new job, one that is hopefully as unlike to my last few jobs as possible, but there’s a desert to cross first, an annoying phase of explaining curricula and dealing with administrative bullshit.
And I notice these job agencies all look the same: gray and impersonal bastions of corporate capitalism, “help us to help you, so we get money from you working”, it’s a modern version of slave-trade really. Nothing to make you feel the ordinary human resource you are quite like job agencies. But to get where I want to go apparently they’re my best shot.
So, I sat in that small cubicle office waiting for my agent, some way-too-young, teeth-bleached sunnyboy in a way-too-expensive suit. Instantly I felt under-dressed. The whole procedure took about 30 minutes, half an hour of jolly good fun trying to explain to Ken why I am looking for a change of scenery and what salary I deem appropriate, given the fact that I lack experience in the field while holding an academic degree that probably surpasses the education of most people I would be working with. There’s something horribly depressing in realizing those 7 years at university were worth so little. Maybe I should mention my epic WoW skills and guild leadership experience? No?
Anyway, halfway through the exercise Ken caught me slightly unawares as I wasn’t actually prepared to do a full job interview, all I expected was some administrative stuff – yeah, call me a noob. So when he got to asking how I see my future or what my strengths and weaknesses are, I actually didn’t know what to reply to the latter straight away. My weaknesses? Errr…right that’s the standard phony question you can expect in every job interview. You know, the one where you’re supposed to display how much of a self-critic you are, oh-so capable of self-reflection. And that’s why everyone answers with some wanna-be weakness that isn’t a weakness at all, but a strength too really, like “I am such a perfectionist” or “I’m overly punctual”.
I hate things like that. They’re part of what (the brilliant and ingenious) Billy Connolly calls”beige-ism”. Everyone knows how utterly stupid and empty these questions (and answers) are – as if you were gonna tell your future boss that you’re a messy slob or like to steal cookies from the cafeteria. So I just sat there for a moment contemplating a potential answer vs. my utter disgust for the procedure, before I told him I was a little impatient at times (which is actually true), but in the way that I “really like to get jobs done fast and efficiently” (which is again actually true), ya know! He seemed to be perfectly happy with this answer and the conversation proceeded to other topics from there. Phew.
An exercise in phoniness
On my way home, the whole experience got me thinking about what a hilarious thing it would be to incorporate the more nonsensical parts of job interviews into the standard WoW recruitment procedure. Most guilds, ours included, already run a questionnaire that will touch on matters like playtime, goals and expectations in their application form. What if we included the awkwardness of real interview questionnaires in them, could we expect to get similar cringe-worthy answers? What would we expect our applicants to say?
Question #14: What do you consider your weaknesses as a player?
– Answer 1: “Sometimes I am just so focused on downing a boss, I forget about my CDs or taking a potion.”
– Answer 2: “I’m a total perfectionist. I always want to be the main puller and clear every pack in an instance.”
– Answer 3: “I’m a little impatient. I always want to start raids on time and hate wasting time on bio breaks.”
Question #15: Where do you see yourself 2 years from now?
– Answer 1: “As a valuable member of your raid guild and one of your top DPS”
– Answer 2: “As part of your officer’s team where I can contribute in the guild’s best interests.”
– Answer 3: “I’ll be celebrating our success of having become one of the server’s top 2 progression guilds.”
Question #16: Why should we take you instead of that other applicant?
– Answer 1: “While I don’t know the other person, I assure you I am better than him.”
– Answer 2: “Because nobody can heal like I do.”
– Answer 3: “I am a 100% committed and fit your guild’s profile perfectly. We have a great future together!”
Now wouldn’t that just be a blast? I really think we should include these questions in our guild’s recruitment questionnaire for shits and giggles if nothing else! A lot of players already think that WoW feels like a job rather than a game sometime, so let’s go the whole nine yards I say! =D
P.S. Dear job agents, please don’t be offended. I do not actually dislike you, it’s not like you invented the system. And I like keeping the pen!