Repatriation Diaries – Hiring Managers: The New FCKbois?
The New Fckbois = Job Gatekeepers
How do you get a job in your old city/ industry when you’ve been out of both for over 3 years? It took me 7 weeks from the time I arrived back in Toronto after Bali to my first day of work. My method was to cast a wide, wide net and see what came out of making a full time job of finding full time work. The first couple of weeks were frustrating as I’d see hiring manager after hiring manager check out my LinkedIn profile, but no communication beyond that. I updated my resume a gazillion times so it would be more appealing to the digital media and advertising industries. I was using my jet lag and night owl status to adjust and apply (and boy, did I ever apply for everything), but it felt like I was getting absolutely nowhere.
Master of None
My recruiter told me that my career background read as unfocused even though it highlighted a lot of desirable skills. Having been away from my home and my industry for 3 years I couldn’t exactly walk back into a director-level role, and my level of seniority was too high for most of the jobs for which I was actually eager. I would have been happy to take on something that would have looked like a step backwards, as long as I was learning rapidly and equipping myself to move forward with a company. The goal was to become an expert in my role, rather than a Jill of all trades.
Living out of the City
For the first month and a half I felt like a hobo. My parents moved to a small town when I was in my 2nd year of University. When I finally started coming in for interviews I felt like I was on the “inconveniencing my friends” tour. I couldn’t commit to hanging out because just to get into Toronto I had to bother my parents for a 45 minute ride to the Go Train station, then spend $10 to get unto Union Station, then get the subway with all my junk. That’s if I had booked an AirBnB or had a friend’s couch on which to crash. I was trying to survive just on wifi (cause you can, for the most part, in Korea). After 2 weeks I realized that my savings from Korea unfortunately didn’t amount to much and I’d have to start spending.
Waiting by the Phone
From my online applications, I had plenty of “no response” responses, a whole lotta “more appropriate backgrounds needed”, and some straight up weird replies from hiring managers who didn’t know the job from Adam and were just trying to get the placement $. I was asked to complete several phone interviews and a pile of “assignments” (aka FREE WORK). By applying online I got a bunch of garbage, but also a couple of interviews. Pair that with the few interviews I got through personal references, and I was starting to feel hopeful again. How can you sound positive once you finally get the interview when you’ve been dealing with rejection after rejection after rejection?
Dealing with Job Rejection
When I left Toronto I had my finger on the pulse. My hire-ability was off the charts, but I couldn’t get a guy to take me out for coffee to save my life. My, how the tables had turned. In my most successful interview, I was told that I would hear back within a few days about next steps and meetings with the CEO. Some of the recruiters/ hiring managers even promised offer letters within the next week. I started looking for an apartment. My friends started taking the idea of me sticking around pretty seriously. Then, each and every one of those fckers ghosted me. I even saw one of them from a pretty pathetic excuse for a communications company at a PR event. I’ve never seen the “run fast ’cause I never called that broad back” face on a woman before, especially one with whom I had had a job interview!
I did it! – Well…kinda
Like Dev, I did it…with plenty of help! I actually got really, really lucky. When I use the word “luck” I tend to mean a combination of timing + preparation. There’s a little element of magic that comes along with it, too. I was walking out of one of these horrible cattle call job interview situations. Picture pizza, a poorly-rehearsed speech from the child CEO, and sorority large-recruitment style “interviews”. Then, I got a call from someone within my network. I had sent her my resume weeks earlier. Her friend had posted on Facebook about an immediate need. Within 10 minutes I was on the phone with the gentlemen who would become my boss less than 24 hours later. Sure – it’s only a contract for now, but it’s my foot in the door to work for an amazing organization doing some pretty creative things.
Avoid the fckbois to Find a Job
Just like in dating, I met with a lot of fckbois. In the end, I completely bypassed the fckbois (the recruiters) and found a diamond in the rough (the job). Reach out to everyone in your network. Don’t be afraid to annoy someone by asking to send along your resume. Chances are they were once exactly where you were. You can’t avoid the recruiters and HR managers hiring for positions they know nothing about. You can cast a wide net and let several of them work for you at once.
May the odds be ever in your favour, Repats.
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