losing one's source of income in a global pandemic is definitely something that is less than desirable but as one random person once told me, it could be the start of the path you were meant for. in any case, as the process has felt long and somewhat arduous, i figured i would share my experience and detail the hiring stages i had to persist through with some of these better known companies in the event anyone else might come to find it useful.

🌊 storehub.
i had first applied through the job seeking site, hiredly. it was formerly wobb but as of last month re-branded. upon submission of my cv, i received word via e-mail that i had progressed to the second stage of hiring the next day. stage two was an assignment to be completed solely in text format—they were mostly job competency questions, i.e. write your response to a complaint e-mail from a customer. stage three was the most taxing for me, personally. it consisted of 23 questions to be completed solely through video. it was taxing because the platform used was misleading (it says you get to select which take you want to upload/send through but you do not actually get to do multiple takes—everything had to be perfect in the one take) and it was a single-way format which i found extremely awkward and uncomfortable. i am guessing that stage three is deliberately tough for a reason. i would imagine that if you someone who was not entirely serious about actually landing a job with them, you would not be crazy enough to put yourself through that. the fourth and final stage following that is a two-way video interview. i was put in a call with a potential team leader and the regional head—both young men.

my overall experience was that there were a lot of repetition (what was covered in the first assignment was repeated in the second one and after i had completed the crazy 23 questions via one-way video, i was still put through answering the same questions in the final interview), the final interview was not well structured and i found the regional head condescending. also, their ultimate rejection e-mail was sent suddenly by a different person entirely—one who did not have a formal e-mail signature and appeared to be based in a different country altogether. unprofessional, would be the word to best describe the treatment and honestly, i had expected the rejection. also, i am not sure why "working on macbooks" is a unique selling point to being employed by them—some strange hang up on some false, perceived "status", perhaps(?)

🌊 hiredly.
i applied through their website after having done a fairly significant amount of research and reading on their company. having been formed with this emphasis on the importance of workplace culture, a lot of what their founder and core team bang on about in their library of videos definitely resonated with me (being the typical millenial, ahem). again, a day within submitting my cv via their website, i had received a phone call (stage one) from their hr personnel who spoke at lightning speed and the next day (stage two), a scheduled video interview.

the thing about hiring is that it is definitely repetitive work—asking all of the same questions and hearing all of the same (sometimes canned) responses but this is to be expected being in this line of work. the upside: hr speaking fast was incredibly efficient. the downside: it made me feel that the person on the other end of the phone did not actually care about my responses. i could very well be saying any ol' thing. in addition, i foresee people who are not able to digest information and/or keep up at lightning speed to struggle significantly. the following day's video interview was unredeeming. the interviewer joined the call late and was curt and dismissive in her responses. an additional note, i found their hiring ad misleading. they had promoted it as recruiting (so one assumes it is general recruitment) but they appear to be more keen to specifically hire tech recruiters. the next e-mail i had received, again, came from a different person who i had not met or spoken to a week later (calendar days)—some intern tasked with the sad job of sending out templated e-mails. joy. again, points off professionalism. it would appear many of these young companies seem to miss the mark on the importance of relationship building/keeping, an error one would not have thought would come of a recruitment brand, of all things but, there we are. the short-sight of youth.

🌊 influasia.
this company is quite a controversial one, i would say but, i suppose in the words of one phineas taylor barnum, "there is no such thing as bad publicity." right?

once again, i had applied for a role with them via hiredly and received an e-mail response from their hr personnel the next day so, great turnaround! the first stage was to film a "pre-screening video" meant to contain responses to seven questions that is attached within the e-mail. i found this rather taxing because i did not just film, i had edited as well. besides, i genuinely find speaking by myself to a camera very uncomfortable because i am much older now and it feels extremely narcissistic and contrived. the second stage is a text (written) assignment with a couple of strange questions thrown in that were aimed at gauging your industry contacts and how you might plan to approach them—left quite a bad taste, if i am being honest. after which, it was a video interview with one of their co-founders. joined the call late and seemed quite scattered with his questions—a lot of staring off into space and long-drawn "mmm's." it was not time efficient and came across as having lacked preparation. towards the end, i had been told that there would be one more video session known as a culture fit assessment but this, ultimately, was not true. the last thing i had to do before receiving an offer was complete one more text-based assessment from test gorilla which i found to be really quite strange and illogical given the fact that i had already answered extensive job competency questions during the second stage.

after having sent through my confirmation that i had completed the assessment, i received no acknowledgement from their end and six (calendar) days later, received a phone call then a subsequent whatsapp message at 2000 hours informing me that they were prepared to make an offer to me but needed to speak with me via phone. the paperwork came through to me at 1746. weighing out my options, i decided not to move forward with them. however, after i had responded with my non-acceptance, i received a whatsapp message instead of an e-mail reply asking for a reason i had declined. this, again, might not seem like a big deal (whether it is a message sent via whatsapp, text, whatnot) but a best practise i had drummed into me by one of my (many) line managers over the course of time is that everything formal and business-related should be (re)captured and paper trailed via e-mail and e-mail only.

🌊 uob bank.
i had applied cold through their website and received a grand total of one phone call from their hr personnel weeks later following my cv submission. in that call, i had been asked if i could accommodate a specified time on a specified date for an interview. after relaying that i would not be able to due to the fact that i already had an appointment booked for that date and time, i was told that they would have a word with the hiring manager and contact me again. "but in the event that they are unable to re-schedule, would you be alright to honour the initial proposed date and time?" she had asked which was honestly daft, in my opinion. following that phone call, i received a second phone call in which i was asked whether or not i had been previously employed by uob bank (to which i had responded no). when i had asked again regarding interview arrangements, i was told that she was still waiting on the hiring manager and then i suppose said hiring manager may have eventually fallen down a rabbit hole for forevermore because the trail then went totally cold. (i joke. it is likely they had simply filled the position.)

i must admit that i am way happier doing video interviews than actual in-person interviews and genuinely hope that remote working becomes a permanent offering for all companies regardless of their industry. i strongly believe that everyone should be granted the freedom and flexibility to select their environments instead of being forced to comply with a brain-numbing commute to and from work every single day. i have no qualms working extra hours and extra days when i know that all it takes is one giant leap from my ergonomic desk chair to my bed and i am able to be comfortable in every aspect possible—no more putting off toilet visits (because i am extremely uncomfortable going number two in shared toilets). i have no need to leave the house extra early to account for traffic, parking, gas stops and road closures/re-directs therefore i get to have more sleep. not to mention, i am also able to play music whilst i work if i want to and have total control of the room's temperature. nonetheless, the super duper thing about remote working for me is (without a shadow of a doubt) not needing to engage in any false/flimsy civilities with random office folk and feeling zero pressure to present myself in any type of way—i can work in sweatpants, in shorts, in underwear or simply, in my birthday suit. there is also no need for me to style my hair and wear make-up and crack my head over outfit choices. WIN.

i know that 2020 and 2021 has gotten a lot of shade but for a tech-geek introverted sloth like me, it has literally been the best years of my life and i truly feel as if, all at once, the world stepped into the future, together.

the one other thing i will say about doing interviews is to never compromise on your appearance—the one day that i had chosen to wear a polo shirt instead of a blazer, i got called out for looking (quote) so informal (unquote) even though people wear polo shirts are acceptable in any office's dresscode because they have collars. the irony there was that the so-called "c.e.o." himself was interviewing me in a round-neck t-shirt and it was a start-up. go figure. additionally, always be prepared to answer off-book questions. some of the ones i was thrown were: "what is the difference between a router and a modem?" (the position was in customer service) and "should the death penalty be abolished? why or why not?" (the position was in sales).

frankly speaking, interviews are like first dates to me. the initial three or four are enjoyable. five onwards, it becomes tolerable at best. 10 and up? HELL. it all becomes excruciatingly mundane and mindless, i simply check out mentally. my responses are so recycled, i could recite them in my sleep. the only thing i constantly find myself looking forward to in any interview is when it is my turn to ask the questions. whilst it is true that employers have all the right to screen candidates, the power is not one-sided. this is something i definitely came to learn much, much later and i wish it had not been the case. in the end, it is also true that candidates have just as much power to accept or reject an affiliation to any company.