Tag Archives: the job-seeking aspie

Job interview rejection: safety reasons

I got the reply for the research interviewer job – I didn’t get the job.

This time I did have the nerve to ask why, and the reason took me by surprise. First of all, they do think I would be able do the job well. However:

There are some pretty rogue areas in the region I was meant to cover, and I am not native to the area. We just moved here in January. They worried that it may not be safe for me to drive around by myself and visit strangers after dark, not knowing what risk factors to look out for. My closest competitor for the job was, apparently, a local guy who has grown up here and knows all the local dos and don’ts. That’s what tipped the balance out of my favour this time.

The rejection is very disappointing, and the reason very unexpected.

 
In hindsight, they did ask a lot about safety

Now when I re-think the interview, I can see it coming.

I recall they asked how I like the area I live in and kept circling around that topic. I thought it was just ice-breaker small talk. I said that although I have been told there are some rogue streets with housing commissions, I haven’t personally seen any and live in a nice section of the neighbourhood myself.

They also asked how well I know the area, to which I replied ‘not very well yet’. I then talked about GPS, assuming what they asked was how good I would be at finding my way around (a weak point which I was anxious to play down). They asked how I would feel to visit unfamiliar streets in rogue neighbourhoods after dark, being all by myself, and I said ‘fine, I don’t have a problem with that’. They circled repeatedly around this type of questions, and I should have noticed the gravitational centre the questions evolved around, but I didn’t.

I said that I feel confident and safe, that I usually respond calmly to aggression, and that I am not afraid of darkness and strangers. I aimed to convey confidence and reassure them that I would not run away from the job in panic. I repeated that I don’t have a problem with the risks when the lady called to tell me they gave the job to someone else because they thought it would be too dangerous for me.

However, now I see it: the issue is not how I feel about the risks. The issue is how risky they think the job actually is for me. They evaluated it to be too risky relative to the local guy.

 

Poster for the Australian horror movie Wolf Creek: girl running away on road, filmed from behind
Is Wolf Creek in my neighbourhood? I don’t think so.

 
‘Not native to the area’. To be fair, I am not even native to this country. It does have significantly higher crime rates and socio-economic imbalance than my native country. And I did mention that I have grown up in a very safe country, and that that’s probably why I tend to feel safe. FAIL.

 
Women are vulnerable targets?

The whole ‘women* are vulnerable to predatory attacks’ theme seems culturally alien to me.

I imagine that the risk of falling victim to random predatory violence (‘stranger danger’) varies wildly depending on the situation and bad luck. I see the risk profile of each individual fluctuating along an invisible normal distribution curve subject to a multitude of external and personal risk factors Continue reading

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Employment obstacles in Sydney’s Southwest (for me)

There are not a lot of jobs down here where we now live. That became obvious when I searched for jobs on the usual major online job portals like SEEK and Australian Job Search and added in our new postcode, or filtered the job results for ‘Sydney Southwest/M5 corridor’.

I am looking for menial pay-the-bills jobs like cleaner, data entry, basically anything I can do*, and the result list was ridiculously short.

 

 

 
I could of course look for work in Sydney and commute. Commuting comes with a cost in terms of time, petrol, road toll**, and wear on the car (= workshop bills), though, so the income needs to be worth it. For a part time job, the insane travel time and cost of commuting to Sydney is unlikely to pay off.

The average peak hour travel speed on the M5 motorway, which is the geographical life-line between the Southwest and Sydney, is about 35 km/hour (the Daily Telegraph quoting RTA, Feb 2011) although the speed limit is 100 to 110 km/hour most of the way. And it isn’t only bad in peak hours, see:

 

 

There is also a nasty long tunnel to trap people underground in bumper to bumper slow motion for a looong time. I don’t complain: this the price people like us pay to afford a house. We are “Westies’ now, and happy … well knowing how lucky we are to have a house.

  
So in the near future I’ll have a closer look on the work-from-home options, such as:

 
1. Try harder with freelancing

I start to think that work-from-home isn’t just an option, but my only option after all.
Continue reading

A better job interview

The job interview for the part time interviewer job happened last week. I think it went well, although I can’t really trust my gut feeling on these things. I’ll know in a week’s time whether I got the job.

I feel that I ought to write about this interview too, which went better than the last one – just to show the difference.

 
Good job interview preparation

My preparation was leagues better than for the previous interview.

I had been told in advance that I didn’t need to bring anything, but that they expected me to read the job information and that there would be a practical task.

The ‘job information’ is a comprehensive, detailed 15 pages+ guide. I read it twice and tried to memorise key details. I also downloaded the actual survey guide used by the interviewers from the organisation’s website and filled out some of the fields to familiarise myself with the codes and categories.

 

preparation_mousetrap ed

 
I visited the project’s client’s website, skimmed some of the publications there and skimmed the organisation’s reports and facts sheets from other surveys. I read their corporate profile, took note of the team profiles of the persons I guessed would interview me (turned out to be correct), and looked them up on Linked In. I also prepared the drive to the venue and looked up the place on Google Earth to prevent surprises.

The best interview preparation ever is, however, that I had been interviewed for the survey myself – that’s how I found out about the job. This means that I know the survey visit procedure from the inside… as interactive real life observation. Continue reading