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Page added on November 21, 2011

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Pinoy Insights – The hiring officer turned jobseeker


Romeo Montoya

The hiring officer turned jobseeker

“Dear Romeo Jr.,

Thank you for the interest you have expressed in the HR Advisor position, job number 5374 with XYZ Energy.

We have now completed the final phase of our recruitment process, and have offered this position to another applicant.

For future opportunities that may be of interest to you, we encourage you to view our website www.xyz.com.

Best wishes for your continued success.

Sincerely,

XYZ Recruitment”

Since I moved here to Calgary two months ago, this is probably the fifth euphemized “rejection” reply I received from an employer. Obviously I was rejected by the professional world more than five times. While not more than five employers categorically expressed their disinterest in me, more than a hundred of them did not reply at all to my application letters. In all honesty, though, the first letter of this kind I received put a smile, if not a smirk, on my face. First, because I know for a fact that they are automated replies to probably thousands of job applicants, so I am not the only one with another lost employment opportunity in his portfolio. Second, which is far more notable than the first reason, is that I can now empathize with those people lining up outside my office, rather previous office, practically begging to be called back for an interview with me.

Admittedly, one kind of job applicant that irritates me is one who relentlessly phones me, asking about the progress of his application when he has been told not just once through phone, e-mail or even personally that another applicant has been accepted. Then things get even more annoying when that applicant happens to personally know you, but not necessarily that you know them too. One scenario that I really don’t like is when there is a fiesta celebration at my parents’ house, and one guest (if I get lucky) would approach me and ask me to help his or her child get a job in our company, as if the hiring officer is the de facto CEO. The presence of my parents doesn’t help either. They may not say anything at all, but they have this assuring look, as if telling their guest that, “Yes, my son has a job for your son or daughter.” “Such a desperate move,” I would tell myself, because only parents who do not believe in the capacity of their children to find a living for themselves would do the job hunting for their children.

My entire life, I am either studying or working. While I did not find difficulty in finding a job right after college, it was never easy at all finding the right job or at least the job that you really want. I cannot be not working that even a month or two before landing in Canada, I already submitted my resume to all job boards I could find in the Internet. Notwithstanding my desire to immediately hop into job hunting around Calgary the next day after arrival, it was impossible since I still need to secure my social insurance number and health care. I decided to allot three more days of familiarizing myself with the transpo system here; then on my first Monday in Canada, I walked from 7th Ave, where I live, down to 3rd Ave then, back to 7th Ave going up to 17th Ave job hunting. It was a very long walk. I just stopped when I run out of copies of my resume. It was my first time actually doing job hunting, but truly, I enjoyed it. All the personnel in the offices, stores, restaurants I walked into gladly accepted my resume, and effortlessly said, “We will call you as soon as possible.” But hey, I used to own that line, so I know for sure the real meaning behind such famous line; hence, no hard feelings when none of 15 employers phoned or emailed me for an interview. The job hunting went on for several days, and I realized that I have become the same desperate jobseekers usually seen at the waiting area adjacent to my former office.

Exactly my second week in Calgary, I passed by this sign: HELP WANTED just five blocks away from my apartment. I felt excited but at the same time worried before entering the establishment. While the sign spells employment opportunity, my pride was telling me I might not be willing to do the job. I courageously entered this small but with very elegant interior Italian fastfood restaurant. I didn’t know I was actually talking to the owner, who suddenly blurted out, “So you’re from the Philippines. I love Manny Pacquiao! Pacquiao is the man!” Less than an hour on my way home, I received a call from the said owner, telling me to comeback the next day for an interview with his wife, and so I could start working with them immediately.

I wasn’t sure if it was God or Pacquiao I thanked first, but, seriously, I thought that a worthwhile opportunity is on the way. I do not believe that there are menial jobs. Capitalizing on your strengths and developing new skills are the keys to a successful career. When you know that you can do better in your job, but still you can afford to be mediocre about it, then clearly, you are not bound to succeed. When it hurts your pride that you are doing such a menial job in a foreign land, when back home in the Philippines you have your own office, your own secretary to make you coffee every morning, and that you have achieved so much in your professional career with two or more university degrees, not to mention left-and-right professional memberships, I bet you can do more. However, it’s a matter of time to prove your worth.  Who am I to say this, but with conviction I’d like to believe that it’s not like new Filipino immigrants are left with no choice but to take any available job out there despite the far relevance to your professional experience and educational attainment. While I agree that upon arriving in Canada I should not expect to instantly get the same job that I have in the Philippines, my goal is to work in my own field in the shortest possible time. While I can’t really take pride in announcing that I got my first job here exactly two weeks after leaving our country, since it is not in my field, I take pride in saying that this is the first time in my professional career that each one of my supervisors and each one of the owners have personally told me that they like me, that I am doing a great job, that am a big help to their business, and, the kindest set of words of them all, that they cannot afford to lose me.

Indeed, I used to be in the fastfood industry, and my current employers are supportive enough by telling me that they will later let me do something else that would really test my aptitude and other skills. Still, my passion is in the human resources field. I am a human resources practitioner, and I am just glad that Canada recognizes its human resources professionals. Call me ambitious, but I am bent on becoming a Certified Human Resources Professional or CHRP. I want to get involved with the Human Resources Institute of Alberta and the Human Resources Association of Calgary as soon as I can. For now I need to earn more to get the right education before becoming a CHRP.









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