Lessons from the summer job search

Max Molski

Summer 2015 was excruciating. I spent more than 30 hours a week mowing lawns and made more wraps at New Britain Stadium than Gucci Mane did in prison.

One year and two semesters later, summer 2016 arrived and I had an internship once a week and some on-call reporting work lined up. I figured I had made enough money the previous summer to kick back and decided to take it easy.

After a few weeks, I fell into a boring “Groundhog Day” cycle. Instead of rotting on a couch, I decided to look for part-time employment.

As a 20-year-old, my first instinct was to check the internet and look for job postings. I subscribed to monster.com and indeed.com emails and opened them up each morning, only to stay up until 2 a.m. some nights filling out applications.

This is where my frustrations began. They started out pretty basic. They would ask for name, address, resumes and then (redundantly) ask for job history. The repetition was something I could deal with because every company deserves to know those particulars. However, the lengths some of these companies went to “get to know” me were rather extreme.

One of the applications featured 180 questions that pinned two ideas against one another and asked me to choose “agree” on either side, “somewhat agree” or “neither.” This would make sense if “I like a relaxed environment” and “I like to be told what to do” were opposite one another since those two views are related. However, that would be too plain for some of these companies.

Instead, it seemed the employer wanted to know if you could concentrate and keep consistent answers. It would put, “I show up to work on time” against something along the lines of “It is best if my boss makes the rules” on page two and later, “I enjoy appreciation for my accomplishments” on page eight. If an employer wanted to know if I could keep a straight story, couldn’t he or she just ask me about things on my application, resume or LinkedIn at an interview?

That brings me to my greatest irritation with these online applications: the communication on the end of the employers. Of the numerous companies I applied to for part-time summer employment, only two bothered to contact me.

The first of the two was one where I filled in a paper application. It was so extraordinary I almost forgot how to hold the pen when writing it out. After my interview with said company, I deliberately asked if I would hear from them whether I got the gig or not. The interviewer said “yes” and then, for all I know, fell off the Earth. I never heard back.

I finally ended up with a part-time job in early July. From there, I was then in the uncomfortable position to divert eager applicants from the counter and manager to their homes. My managers seemed to notice the applicants that made a personal appearance above those who remained online, but this shift towards online-only applications is keeping applicants away from face-to-face impressions.

Long story short, I am grateful that Quinnipiac is infinitely more tech-savvy than the place I encounter when I’m back home. While professors may occasionally post to Blackboard, most of the online interactions I have with campus employees are two-sided.

I could probably draw a greater lesson from this and say that older generations are incorrectly “adapting” to the digital age by leaving applicants in Davey Jones’ cyberspace locker. However, I think it is easier to say that companies at least owed me a phone call or an email that said “nah.”