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Craziest thing a potential employer has asked you to do

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Untitled, May 4, 2013.

  1. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    I had a clean baggie of urine with me, so it was cool. ... As it happens, maybe the people running Ann Arbor needed the drug test.
  2. Giggity

    Giggity Member

    The craziest thing I've been asked to do was send in answers to four essay questions. It was for a non-journalism writing job. I've had to jump through some other pretty big hoops, but that one stands out.

    You know what? I was happy for the opportunity to set myself apart. I spent a few days, kicked ass on it, and got myself an interview for a great job.

    Since then, I've looked for ways to create my own crazy things to add to my application package. If I'm going to apply, I'm going to go hard. I figure there are at least 100 people applying for every opening, so I do my research and try to demonstrate that I've got more initiative and fresh ideas than the other 99 people.

    I think a good cover letter is key. I also read up on the area, mine my own knowledge of it, ask friends in the area ... basically do anything I can think of to show I'm plugged in to the that specific job and area.

    I think if you spend less than 10 hours' work applying for a job - or, at least, a good job, a job you're reaching for - you're probably not trying hard enough. And during the process of doing that research, you'll figure out if you're actually a good fit for that particular gig. For instance, I've got a document on my desktop right now from a year or so ago that goes into great detail on seven potential enterprise pieces for a job I nearly applied for as a deputy sports editor, in charge of the NFL for a great NFL market. I intended to turn that into 10 ideas and send it with the rest of my stuff, to show I was serious.

    The more I worked on it, though, the more I realized the job wasn't quite right for me, so I never sent it in. I probably had eight hours invested when I cashed it in.

    My point is, I think employers absolutely should ask a little something extra out of the people they're hiring. If you're not willing to try during the courtship phase, it's reasonable to guess you might be a dud once you've been hired. And if you want to help yourself during a job search, put some real thought into your application.

    It's somewhat of a product of reading the desperate stories here. Our job market is incredibly tight. If a potential employer asks something crazy from you, that means they're interested enough that they're giving you an opportunity to prove yourself. Jump on it. Or don't, if you think it's unfair. I'm just saying it wouldn't kill you to spend a couple hours outside your comfort zone trying to get to the negotiation stage, at which point you'll walk away with either an offer you like or some more insight into the hiring process.
  3. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    Four years ago, during a very treacherous time when I thought I was getting kicked out, I interviewed with a local company for a job that would have paid about the same, would have involved plenty of travel but would have paid the monthly bills.

    I met with the owner six times over a two-month period and even four days on a road trip with him. Each time I would meet with this man (who is very successful, financially), he would make me take a written test with 40-50 questions on it.

    It was the same test each time.

    "You ask why I am doing this? It is to determine your mood on a particular day."

    We were meeting for lunch and he had me fill out a test after we ordered the appetizers. I shook my head, shook his hand and then said, "this may not be a great fit for me".

    I don't mind "courting" during the interview process. In fact, I am damn good at it but there are points where you just say, "this ain't worth it anymore. I'll look elsewhere."

    I feel the same way from a potential employer. If they're not courting me now, what will it be like in a year?
  4. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Either that, or they're just looking for free ideas or free labor.
  5. BitterYoungMatador2

    BitterYoungMatador2 Well-Known Member

    Sent me a week's worth of papers and asked me to critique each one.
  6. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    Essay questions used to be a big part of the federal government's hiring process. They've been phased out for the most part, I think, but the one I'm lined up for used them extensively. That particular job I'll be getting has nothing to do with journalism (or even writing) but it gives the gatekeepers and eye of how literate you are and how you organize your thoughts.

    I don't think those are so unusual; I also had to write one at an interview with a NASA contractor for some PR-ish job that I did not get.

    One of my friends who was up for a sports marketing-type gig was not asked to do so, but put together a kick-ass PowerPoint presentation for her interview. She got the job.
  7. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    Outing alert: HH is Onterrio Smith.

    Had a couple of places issue a drug test during the interview process. Couldn't possibly blame the last one because my eyes were a mess due to irritation.

    But I took it and passed (my worst habit is drinking Mountain Dew). Still there, too.
  8. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    I did that -- in 2003.

    And got the job. "The best critique we've ever received."

    And did the drug test while I was there as well.
  9. Pencil Dick

    Pencil Dick Member

    At my last job in the business (this was 1997?) I took the piss test BEFORE I ever set foot in the building to meet management and take an editing test. Always thought that was odd.
  10. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    That's not crazy at all.
  11. Keystone

    Keystone Member

    Not too long ago, I applied for the media relations job at a local school district. HR person told me I had to undergo three background checks immediately as part of the application process. Got it done and spent $58 of my own money to do it. The last one was for the state police to make sure I wasn't a sex offender and it took two weeks to get it back. The FBI one to make sure I wasn't a terrorist was a little quicker. The day before the state police letter stating I wasn't a sex offender arrived, I got the rejection letter. Found out later they hired the pretty face from the local TV station instead. BTW, no refund for the background checks.
  12. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    So many simple assed questions over the years. A few stand out.
    (1) What is your political affliliation?
    (2) The same question posed to Riptide about 10 story ideas. I stopped doing that when I saw one fucker use three of my ideas not long after the interview.
    (3) A drug test BEFORE offering me the job. Not contingent upon passing it, but it was the first thing I did as soon as I stepped into the office for the interview. Just like Pencil Dick experienced.
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