Most Important Things I’ve Learned

One of the most important things I learned in this class is how to understand the hiring process better both from the applicant and recruiter point of view. As a job seeker I found it really impactful to be reminded of what rights we have and being confident in my knowledge of them. Understanding the limitations of questions that can be asked in an interview or what to look out for in cases of discrimination can seem obvious, but in the moment it can be easy to question yourself. 

The other thing that really stood out to me as a job seeker is understanding what value I would bring to a company. I have always had a hard time putting into words what my strengths are and portraying that to others. That in itself is a weakness of mine right now and through this class I learned that I need to invest time into practicing how to sell myself to others. This is an important exercise that I will continue to work on and reassess every so often as I continue to grow my career. 

Finally, I found it really helpful to take a deeper look into the interviewing process from both sides. For example, learning about what kinds of answers to look for as an interviewer also helped me understand what to avoid in my own future interviews. In the book WHO they mentioned multiple times digging until you get to the real answer. This is critical for interviewers to really understand candidates. However, I also found it helpful for me to be able to be prepared to dig deeper than surface level answers myself. Companies want to really understand who they are hiring so portraying yourself honestly, but carefully is important. I found the psychological methods of getting people to tell the truth – like telling them they will speak to their previous employer – really interesting. Overall, I really enjoyed getting to have both perspectives of the process because I will likely be on both sides at some point in my career.

Self Reflection

  • What am I good at?

I think I am good at pushing myself and adapting to new situations. I could easily be complacent, but I have a drive to continue improving myself to see what the best version of me could achieve. I also think I am good at being creative and learning new skills. Somewhat similar to my earlier point I love to continue learning beyond what is required of me and I always love creating something new.

  • What do I value?

I value hard work, I think a lot of people have natural talent that is amazing, but don’t always take the time to grow to the best they can be. I also really value relationships and time, ultimately I believe investing in people is the most rewarding thing you can do. Additionally, time is the one thing we can never get more of so making the most of it is important to me. 

  • How did I get here?

I got here by being an independent thinker and working hard. My whole life I have been supported by my friends and family but never pressured into any particular path. This has given me great motivation to achieve whatever I want without having the pressure of meeting someone else’s expectations. 

  • Where am I going?

This is the one I am still trying to figure out. I am currently employing my ability to adapt in this strange season of life. Even over the course of this term my plans have changed as I lost my internship due to COVID. I am confident that my career will be a fascinating journey and I am excited to start, I am just not yet sure what that will look like.

IPIP Results and Reactions

On this test I was somewhat surprised by my results, but some of the areas were what I would expect. I didn’t score extremely high or low most of my answers were in the “average” range which was really interesting. I scored a (52) on extroversion which I completely agree with. I enjoy being social, but I also enjoy time to myself it really depends on my mood and the situation. I scored an average (56) on agreeableness. I scored a slightly higher (58) on conscienciousness which the description said is reasonably reliable, organized and self controlled. I scored fairly low on neuroticism (34) and similarly on openness to experience (30). I was most surprised by the lower score on openness to experience because I am generally pretty adventurous and really enjoy trying new things. In the description it said I would be categorized as down to earth and practical though which I can see as fitting.

If a potential employer was looking at my scores they would likely not pick me for a job that needs an extreme personality. I think my score on extroversion is generally an asset as I can read many situations and fit into a lot of groups. I don’t have to be the center of attention but I can step up and lead when the opportunity presents itself. I also think being conscientious is always important, I don’t think my score is outstanding, but it’s definitely not a red flag for employers either. The same goes for agreeableness, I think employers would appreciate that I scored higher on elements like cooperation which is important in the workforce. I also think my score on neuroticism was okay although it could have been better. My results showed that my emotional reactions are normal and that I am able to get past them and move on. Depending on the job the importance of this could vary as some jobs require more control over your emotions than others. Finally, I think that employers could want someone with a higher openness to experience depending on the job. If it is a more traditional position that requires following strict guidelines then I think they would be happy with my score. Overall, it really depends on the position they are seeking to fill, in most cases each of these can be seen as positive or negative.

Typical vs. Maximal Performance

In most job positions I would prefer a reliable performer like Jamie. Although it can be tempting to choose someone with as much potential as Avery I don’t like the idea of having someone working for me who puts in so little effort. By waiting to be driven by motivation – which comes and goes – Avery is really only beneficial a fraction of the time and I would feel obligated to try to motivate them. However, although Jamie doesn’t have the natural talent they are consistent and reliable. This means I can plan accordingly, knowing exactly what they are able to contribute, rather than gambling on whether Avery feels like it. 

I think somebody like Avery would do well in a career like Real Estate. In this career path there tend to be many ups and downs where Avery could use bursts of motivation. Following this pattern, they could make large payouts from flurries of activity and then lay low for a while. Obviously to be as successful as possible Avery should continue putting in effort consistently, but choosing a career with some flexibility could be helpful, though they do need some guidance.

I think Jamie would do well in Jamie would do well in a general management position. They are very reliable and responsible which is important to be a successful leader. Therefore, I think Jamie would do well handling the routine tasks of an organization and performing at a consistent level. However, I would caution against any management positions that are extremely high stakes or frequently require adapting to complicated problems. 

Critiquing Recruitment Ads

There are a few things that I would want to highlight as my “brand” when being considered as a potential employee. First, I am very self-motivated and driven which has been a great asset so far throughout my education and hopefully will aid me in the workforce as well. Because of this I tend to take on more of a natural leadership role in most of my groups, but I do not always feel the need to be the leader. I enjoy reading people and the group dynamics to find where I can fit and be the most helpful in any given situation. Lastly, I am creative I really enjoy being able to apply creativity wherever I can and usually end up being the artistic one in a group.

If I were to present myself in an ad I would use this as a great opportunity to really focus on my strength of creativity. I would try to make everything as visually appealing as possible meaning it would likely be somewhat simple. Although there is a lot of information I would want to include I think people respond to things significantly better if they are not overwhelmed by them. It would really depend on the job that I was hoping to get from this ad, so I would tailor everything around whatever that position was. I would focus on my general strengths some of which I already mentioned and find ways to integrate them into the design. I would probably include previous experience in some way to show that I am qualified, but again I would try to keep everything clean and visually appealing. I think this would be a great way to showcase what I have to offer both by describing it and providing a visual representation.

Job Descriptions

Strangely, so far my jobs have not been obtained through the typical selection process. I have been fortunate enough to be recruited for jobs rather than searching for them through job postings. Unfortunately, that means I don’t have much experience in being able to compare the descriptions to my actual jobs. 

An example of a job that I had was an administrative assistant at a real estate company. The position was unique because I was in school and would be splitting time with another employee who already held the position. She was balancing two office locations so I took over the afternoons for her when she went to the other office. I ended up in this position because some of my family members work for the company and I know the owners. Rather than a reading formal description I shadowed the other employee and watched what she typically did in a day. She also wrote up some specific tasks that needed to be accomplished daily like transferring phones at the end of the day and locking up. 

In my experience the job was exactly like she described and I followed the tasks that could be performed routinely. However, there was an adjustment period when there were issues she couldn’t prepare me for. There were always unique situations coming up that I would have to adapt to and figure out as I went along. Overall, I felt like I had a good sense of what the job would require after shadowing her for a couple of days. However, if I had just read a description I am not sure if I would have wanted to apply for the position. It would have been hard to describe because it required a lot of flexibility and learning on the fly. 

Experiences With Discrimination

If I were faced with these circumstances where a company that I admire were accused of discrimination, I would want to know more. Especially in today’s culture there are many times I read headlines that are misleading and written as clickbait. As a result I am naturally skeptical until I am able to really get a handle on what the situation is. I think it is really important for other people to keep this in mind as well rather than just believing the first thing they read.

In this case I am assuming that the claim is legitimate. My perspective on the company from this point on would change significantly. Depending on the situation my support would also change accordingly. If it was one individual and the company could show that they were taking appropriate steps to prevent anything from happening again I would consider continuing my support. However, if it is something that is too engrained in the company I would not feel comfortable supporting them further.

Additionally, I would not want to work for a company that has this kind of culture. As I mentioned before I do believe that just like people, companies make mistakes. If action is taken to correct it and the company can learn from their mistakes then they will become better in the long run. Unfortunately, this is often not the case and if something like this is brought up there is often much more under the surface. I personally would not take the risk if I saw warning signs that the company culture allowed for discrimination.

The Case for Recruitment and Selection

It would be very easy for companies to decide to focus their efforts on what is visible to their customers. In most cases this would be their products and marketing them. Certainly, ensuring companies have a quality product should be a concern. Additionally, how those products are shown through marketing plays a huge role in having a successful business. If the customers are not interested in what a company has to offer, then why should they be concerned with what is going on internally?

Many companies believe that hiring the right people is a secondary concern because customers do not directly see the role they play. This may be true in some cases where the company can redirect company resources and effort to an area that need it. However, there are some major downsides to consider as well. Even if more personnel are able to work on solving problems within the company, they may not be the best people to be doing the job. As a result they could be inefficient or unable to complete what is needed at all. Spending the time to ensure the right people are hired saves time down the road when they can do high quality work efficiently.

Job Application Experience

My most recent job application was for the internship I will be starting at ATI in Albany. I was fortunate enough to be recommended for the position meaning my application process was different than it typically would have been. Instead of filling out the application right away I was actually interviewed first and then filled out the application later to formalize my position and receive the official offer. Although there were advantages to the way it worked out for me I would have loved to see a job description prior to interviewing. By the end of the interview process I had a much better idea of what they were looking for, but I went in somewhat blindly.

Once I had the opportunity to work through everything I was very happy with what the position looks like. However, I would not have been as interested if I based it solely on the online application. There was nothing inherently wrong with it, I just was not able to get much information from it or a good feel for the company. Talking directly with the company is an entirely different experience. Ultimately, I believe it is because they are required to follow the guidelines set by the company as a whole. This makes it seem much more formal and unapproachable than they are in reality.