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Reminder to job interviewers

/ 11:23 PM May 24, 2012

The local job market today looks grim for the 400,000 or so students who received their college diploma this year.

According to the latest Social Weather Station survey, about 13.8 million Filipino adults were unemployed in the first quarter of 2012. This represents a big jump from December 2011 when 9.7 million Filipinos were recorded to be out of job.

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Aside from less favorable business conditions, the unemployment problem may be traced to the mismatch between available jobs and the skills of new entrants into the labor market.

The results of the job fairs conducted last April in different parts of the country show that a large number of jobseekers hold diplomas in courses that either have low job value or suffer from a surplus of warm bodies.

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Disdainful as it may sound, an abundance of job applicants works to the advantage of the employer. It’s a buyer’s market (where the jobseekers’ services represent the commodity), so the employer is king.

With so many people to choose from, the employer can set the minimum criteria on educational qualification, training or experience to be considered for employment.

Those who make the initial cut can be required to take skills and psychological tests, or undergo a series of interviews to determine their fitness for the positions applied for.

Impressions

Much has been written about how applications for employment should be prepared, what clothes to wear when jobseekers present themselves to prospective employers, and how to answer questions during the interview.

The guiding principle behind these tips is, the employer’s first impression could spell the difference between hiring and rejection. Thus, at the outset, the applicant should put his best foot forward.

But what about the employers or their representatives? How should they conduct themselves during the interview? What and how should questions be asked? What criteria should be used to evaluate the applicant’s answers?

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Sad, but true, most job interviewers tend to be nosey or insensitive in the manner they quiz the applicants to get a deeper insight into their personality or background.

Unless membership in a specific religion is a qualification for employment, it is inappropriate to ask an applicant about his religious beliefs.

An interviewer cannot be faulted for taking his religion seriously or reciting biblical phrases whenever the opportunity presents itself. That’s part of his constitutional right. But that does not justify questioning an applicant about his choice of religion or preaching to him about the virtues of joining the interviewer’s religious group.

The job interview is a temporal, not a spiritual, exercise. Pity the poor applicant who has to endure an unsolicited religious conversion process.

Physical

Some job interviewers have been observed to lack common sense sensitivity to applicants who suffer from facial flaws, abnormalities or other physical infirmities.

It may be something cultural or a case of curiosity, but if an applicant, for example, has an ugly scar on his face or walks with a limp, chances are that matter will be the opener for the interview.

If asked about it, the applicant has no choice but answer even if he feels uncomfortable talking about it.

Forcing an applicant to relive or recount incidents in his life which he prefers to push back in the deep recesses of his memory simply sucks.

Unless the job applied for requires “picture perfect” bodies or maximum use of arms and limbs, questions about the cause or source of an applicant’s physical shortcomings are irrelevant in the determination of his capability to perform the tasks of the job applied for.

Job interviewers who enjoy seeing applicants squirm while they recall bad memories in their lives suffer from serious emotional problems.

Incidentally, Republic Act 7277 (or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons) prohibits discriminatory acts against a qualified disabled person by reason of his disability in regard to, among others, job application procedures, hiring or compensation.

A disabled person is one who suffers “from restriction of different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an action in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.”

Marital status

What probably takes the cake in inappropriate behavior during job interviews is undue questioning of a female applicant’s marital status or, if unmarried, her single blessedness.

When an applicant states in her application form that she is “married but separated,” “legally separated,” “a single parent” or “awaiting annulment of marriage,” the urge to pry deeper into the circumstances behind such status seems irresistible to some job interviewers.

Ahead of the interview, the biodata of the applicant concerned is sometimes passed around the staff for voyeur-like enjoyment.

If the female applicant is in her late 20s or early 30s and still unmarried, she will be asked (often in a teasing but innuendo-laden manner) such inane questions as whether or not she has suitors, has had boyfriends before, or why she has remained unattached for a long time.

The excuse often given to justify this unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of female applicants is their status may affect their attitude toward work or the quality of their work.

Baloney! The truth is, job interviewers who engage in this activity consider women who are either single or in less stable marital relationships as fair game for possible sexual advances in the future.

DOMs (or dirty old men) have no place in the interview room.

(For feedback, write to <[email protected] com. ph>.)

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TAGS: Employment, job interviewers, job interviews, jobs, Labor
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