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Strange questions being asked in an interview

Strange questions being asked in an interview

Old Jul 21st 2011, 8:28 pm
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Default Strange questions being asked in an interview

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to know if this is the norm in Canada, although I think I know the answer...

I moved to Langley a couple of months ago, and am struggling to find work. I've applied for many jobs through Jobbank, Workopolis, Monster, Craigslist etc for general office admin/reception work, but as everyone else, have not heard anything back. I understand that in Canada, it's all about meeting people and calling... pretty hard to do when the majority of the adverts say "Please do not call, we are a busy office". Obviously, you don't want to go against what they asked because then it looks like you can't follow instructions...

Anyway, it appears my main problem for being able to find work is that back in the UK, I was a registered nurse. I cannot practice in BC as I have to take a year long course to upgrade to a general nurse, as I qualified in paediatrics. So, I have had a couple of responses telling me I was "too overqualified" for the job that I applied for.

So I decided it was maybe best to look for shop work, and have been around handing out resume's, and finally got an interview for a store. I met with the manager, and he asked me, what I felt were quite inappropriate questions.
For example, what does it matter whether I have bought a house or am renting a house? How many bedrooms? Have you bought a car? How much in rental are you paying per month? Why have your husbands parents not come to live in Canada?
He asked me many questions which I personally thought had nothing to do with my ability to do the job. He even asked which company my husband worked so he could call them.... why?!
I was so overwhelmed with the interview, I couldn't wait to get out. I've never been spoken down to the way he spoke to me in my entire life. At the end of the interview, he offered me a trial... just so he could see whether he feels I would fit into his business. He then commented on my shoes and said they were not appropriate... what, black heels are not appropriate anymore?!

I'm just wondering if this is out of character, or is this the sort of thing I should expect from interviewers in Canada? Feeling very deflated...
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 8:37 pm
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Default Re: Strange questions being asked in an interview

Ruddy hell Rebecca, I hope you get lots of replies, as it's bound to be educational to all of us! I have been forming myself into an 'hopefully employable employee' involving updating my CV and BLACK HEELS, and rather niffty looking black skirt! I fear you may have met a creep - or I certainly hope so! Don't let it put you off - best of luck and bonne courage!
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 8:49 pm
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Default Re: Strange questions being asked in an interview

Originally Posted by rebecca1986 View Post
Hi everyone,

I just wanted to know if this is the norm in Canada, although I think I know the answer...

I moved to Langley a couple of months ago, and am struggling to find work. I've applied for many jobs through Jobbank, Workopolis, Monster, Craigslist etc for general office admin/reception work, but as everyone else, have not heard anything back. I understand that in Canada, it's all about meeting people and calling... pretty hard to do when the majority of the adverts say "Please do not call, we are a busy office". Obviously, you don't want to go against what they asked because then it looks like you can't follow instructions...

Anyway, it appears my main problem for being able to find work is that back in the UK, I was a registered nurse. I cannot practice in BC as I have to take a year long course to upgrade to a general nurse, as I qualified in paediatrics. So, I have had a couple of responses telling me I was "too overqualified" for the job that I applied for.

So I decided it was maybe best to look for shop work, and have been around handing out resume's, and finally got an interview for a store. I met with the manager, and he asked me, what I felt were quite inappropriate questions.
For example, what does it matter whether I have bought a house or am renting a house? How many bedrooms? Have you bought a car? How much in rental are you paying per month? Why have your husbands parents not come to live in Canada?
He asked me many questions which I personally thought had nothing to do with my ability to do the job. He even asked which company my husband worked so he could call them.... why?!
I was so overwhelmed with the interview, I couldn't wait to get out. I've never been spoken down to the way he spoke to me in my entire life. At the end of the interview, he offered me a trial... just so he could see whether he feels I would fit into his business. He then commented on my shoes and said they were not appropriate... what, black heels are not appropriate anymore?!

I'm just wondering if this is out of character, or is this the sort of thing I should expect from interviewers in Canada? Feeling very deflated...
It's good he offered you on the day.

Other than that his line of questioning sounds totally off tangent.
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 8:56 pm
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Default Re: Strange questions being asked in an interview

Sound totally out of order to me... Hopefully not representative.

You could always dumb down your resume for the office jobs, strictly speaking there is no need for anything not related to the position to even be mentioned on the Resume if you are targeting it at a particular sort of job. Either that or spell out what transferable skills you bring, but if they think you are just doing it for a year till you can go back to nursing they may not consider it worth pursuing.
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 9:02 pm
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Default Re: Strange questions being asked in an interview

Sounds like a nosey creep - too intrusive and has not received any training on what is appropriate for interviews.

I mean, it's all stuff we'd all want to know if we thought we could get away with it - he's just trying to work out how "permanent" you might be, or how much of a flight risk - but just too nosey!

I can't think that is representative at all - polish off those heels and try again!
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 9:04 pm
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Default Re: Strange questions being asked in an interview

Glad to hear others agree with me, I was beginning to fear that all interviews in Canada are like an interrorgation!

He was a bit of a creep.... he even has the nerve to slag off one of his other employees to me behind her back. He said she looked totally unkempt and scruffy... is that really something you should be saying to someone your interviewing?!

Well, prior to nursing, I had worked in an office doing admin and reception... this is all on my resume, and have explained in my cover letter about my experience in this. Plus, the course to upgrade my nursing education is completely full until mid next year... and it's also going to cost in the region of $10,000, which I just may not be able to afford anyway.

Also, prior to meeting the owner in this interview yesterday, I had THREE meetings with his manageress before all this so she could also interview me... so although he offered me a trial on the day, it's been a long process with other members of his staff who have been giving him feedback!
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 9:10 pm
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Default Re: Strange questions being asked in an interview

Originally Posted by rebecca1986 View Post
Well, prior to nursing, I had worked in an office doing admin and reception... this is all on my resume, and have explained in my cover letter about my experience in this. Plus, the course to upgrade my nursing education is completely full until mid next year... and it's also going to cost in the region of $10,000, which I just may not be able to afford anyway.
Id consider not mentioning the nursing on the resume then , its not really going to help land the admin job, and has the potential to set people wondering how long you will stay before going off back to nursing.

Canadian hiring is notoriously long winded in most cases I'm afraid.
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 9:26 pm
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Default Re: Strange questions being asked in an interview

Rebecca, previous posters on here have been most helpful, and have suggested that I try temping - to get me back into work, and because it would help me with my confidence etc., have your thought of trying this, as it might be a good shoe in for you too?
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 9:28 pm
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Default Re: Strange questions being asked in an interview

Yep, you're definately right ... I'll change my last 5 years to a Health Care Assistant, as I'm sure if I left it blank from 2006 they'd wonder what I'd been doing!

Hopefully someone may be able to come along and tell me the best way to land admin work, since all the applications seem to be through e-mail but they ask you not to call. Hopefully it's not always a game of 'not what you know, but who you know!'

Thanks for the suggestion, Millie! I've signed up with a couple of agencies and have told them I'm absolutely available to do temping, but still no luck with that either... it's all very frustrating!
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 9:36 pm
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Default Re: Strange questions being asked in an interview

Originally Posted by rebecca1986 View Post
Yep, you're definately right ... I'll change my last 5 years to a Health Care Assistant, as I'm sure if I left it blank from 2006 they'd wonder what I'd been doing!

Hopefully someone may be able to come along and tell me the best way to land admin work, since all the applications seem to be through e-mail but they ask you not to call. Hopefully it's not always a game of 'not what you know, but who you know!'

Thanks for the suggestion, Millie! I've signed up with a couple of agencies and have told them I'm absolutely available to do temping, but still no luck with that either... it's all very frustrating!
Experience doesn't always count as much as a piece of paper showing you can do the job in theory, ie. they seem to want you to have at least a diploma for any and every position!
I found the best way to get into admin was through a temp agency. They test your skill levels on basic computer programs and your typing speed so you prove what is on your resume. Then they put you forward for suitable jobs. Having that all important "Canadian experience" on your resume has seemed to help me. I have now been in my current job for almost 3 years after starting as a Temp-to-Permanent contract (and in line for a promotion once we move to our shiny new office at the end of they year)
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 11:31 pm
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Default Re: Strange questions being asked in an interview

Will you ever regret not going back into nursing? If you have the slightest feeling that you might regret it then just do what it takes (is there another location you can travel to which has available seats on the course?) and get those qualifications to transfer your skills as soon as possible.

What is the rate of pay for an RN, triple, quadruple of what you could make working in a store? Surely, it'll be far easier to repay a debt of that size as a working RN than saving for the education on minimum wage.

Canada, we, need you as a nurse. I sense you might be aware of this and put off a little bit by anticipated stress?

Originally Posted by rebecca1986 View Post
Plus, the course to upgrade my nursing education is completely full until mid next year... and it's also going to cost in the region of $10,000, which I just may not be able to afford anyway.
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 11:54 pm
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Default Re: Strange questions being asked in an interview

Originally Posted by Steve&Tanya View Post
Experience doesn't always count as much as a piece of paper showing you can do the job in theory, ie. they seem to want you to have at least a diploma for any and every position!
I found the best way to get into admin was through a temp agency. They test your skill levels on basic computer programs and your typing speed so you prove what is on your resume. Then they put you forward for suitable jobs. Having that all important "Canadian experience" on your resume has seemed to help me. I have now been in my current job for almost 3 years after starting as a Temp-to-Permanent contract (and in line for a promotion once we move to our shiny new office at the end of they year)
Well done on the hopeful promotion It's nice to know it can be done...
I've joined quite a few temping agencies, and have done quite a few of the tests they have you do - but nothing as of yet! I'll not give up until I really have to!
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 11:59 pm
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Default Re: Strange questions being asked in an interview

Originally Posted by Greenhill View Post
Will you ever regret not going back into nursing? If you have the slightest feeling that you might regret it then just do what it takes (is there another location you can travel to which has available seats on the course?) and get those qualifications to transfer your skills as soon as possible.

What is the rate of pay for an RN, triple, quadruple of what you could make working in a store? Surely, it'll be far easier to repay a debt of that size as a working RN than saving for the education on minimum wage.

Canada, we, need you as a nurse. I sense you might be aware of this and put off a little bit by anticipated stress?
Oh, don't get me wrong, I love being a nurse. It's very hard work, but it's true what they say, it's a very rewarding career. I came to Canada to be a nurse, not to work in a store. The main problem in all of this, is getting registered. The nursing registration council only have 2 courses in 2 universities in BC where this course is available unfortunately... one in Kwantlen, in Surrey BC, which is around a 40 minute drive. The other is in Kamloops, and I can't really do the 4 hour drive every day.

The bank have said they cannot give a loan of $10,000 to a newcomer with no credit rating, which is why I was trying to get work and save up for it in the mean time. If I could get the money together for the studies, it would be happy days, and I'd definately do it and it'd all be worth it! I'm hoping this is not the end of my nursing career, it would be such a shame to give up something I love and have experience at and is obviously well needed in Canada
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Old Jul 22nd 2011, 12:04 am
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Default Re: Strange questions being asked in an interview

Originally Posted by rebecca1986 View Post
The other is in Kamloops, and I can't really do the 4 hour drive every day.
Can any of it be achieved by distance courses? http://www.tru.ca/distance/courses/s...tab5.html#nurs
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Old Jul 22nd 2011, 12:12 am
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Default Re: Strange questions being asked in an interview

Originally Posted by R I C H View Post
Can any of it be achieved by distance courses? http://www.tru.ca/distance/courses/s...tab5.html#nurs
Unfortunately not. Thompson Rivers was the other university the course was held at, and I got excited thinking it was web-based... then when I spoke to them, it is part of the course that I'll have to go into hospitals and do practicum activites, and the placements the university give you are all in the Kamloops area. Finishing at 10pm at night on a shift and having to drive back to Langley wouldn't be the best drive in the world!
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