Epic Quest is a weekly feature about four young progeeks and their journeys to launch their dream careers. To read from the beginning, start here.
In Phase Two, the four progeeks each answer our question of the week.
This week’s question: When you apply for a job, who do you assume will read your application? How many other people do you assume are competing for the same job?
DoctorWhom: I never really thought about this one so much. I usually apply for academic jobs/scholarships/programs, so I’d assume that the people who look at my applications are the people in charge of the projects. Professors, grad students, that sort of thing. But I suppose that may have to pass through other people too.
I know that in some institutions, HR filters who gets looked at by the actual people who do the hiring. My parents’ employer uses a system that puts everyone who has qualifications for a job in a list of priority (for example, you get pushed up if you’re a veteran) and then shows the top ten to the board of people who’ve been instructed to actually pick someone. They go to the next ten if none of those people match what the board’s looking for, and so on. At least, that’s how I understand it.
Tau’riJedi: I assume it’s generally a ‘lackey’ screening apps for HR. In a smaller company I’m positive the HR person actually sees it, but generally I would imagine it’s someone who is an HR assistant and has been given the parameters of what to look for. I figure the person who’s actually in charge of the position doesn’t even get to see it until the HR team has selected the applicants they think would be good.
Day-Dreamer: I’ve been on both sides of the hiring table pretty equally, but I still don’t like to make assumptions. Every business works differently.
In the job I have right now, every application (for jobs, or for manuscripts to be published) comes addressed to the director or the managing editor, but I end up opening, reading and processing all their mail usually without their knowledge of it at all. Job applications and resumes go in a file until we’re hiring and I contact the applicants to tell them this, and manuscripts are entered into our application data base and boxed outback until the screening for our award.
I guess I don’t assume, but what I end up hoping is that whoever sees my resume is impressed by my varied job history, and smiles at my epigraph. Yes, my resume has an epigraph. Because I’m nerdalicious like that.
Godzilla Star: I hope my resume and cover letter will be seen by the prospective boss. I write my cover letter as if I were writing directly to the person I’d be working for. However, I also assume it first has to get through a screening process of a couple of other people who are unrelated to the job. More and more, companies are outsourcing their HR, to which I see some major drawbacks. When you bring someone new on board, they should be selected by the people for whom they’ll be working. Ideally.