Saturday, February 7, 2009


Today I did two activities that brought me closer to my goal of getting a new job.

My first project this morning was a job fair. Several weeks ago I filled out an application for teaching. Part of the process was to submit a college transcript and letters of recommendation. After the HR department got everything, the next step was to have an initial interview. The job fair provided that opportunity.

I got there a bit before my appointed interview time, and watched people coming and going from the building. Most of them were female and much younger than me, probably new college graduates. However, I did see a handful of people closer to my age, and a few men.

The fair was well organized. After my credentials were verified, I was ushered into a room with tables around the perimeter. Each table had an interviewer sitting behind it. The interview consisted of about a dozen questions (straight from a sheet of paper; I'm sure all applicants were asked the same things). Thankfully I had done some research on the current professional terminology. I tried hard to remember everything I had learned and use the correct phrases. I must have done an acceptable job, because I "passed" the screening process. The interviewer told me to expect a call in the next week or so to set up a more detailed interview.

However, that job, should I get it, won't start until the fall. I need to have some extra income coming in now, so after lunch I went to another location and took the screening test to be a census worker.

Every ten years the United States government takes a census, and it needs hundreds of part time temporary workers to help make it happen this time. Right now they need people to knock on doors and verify addresses so a census form can be mailed next year. They also need workers to conduct interviews. The first step in the job process is filling out an application and passing a test.

When I signed up to take the test, I was told I should allow two hours. The testing portion only took 30 minutes of that; the rest of the time was filled up before the test with registration, verification of our employment eligibility (the test administrator had to individually sign off on each person's I-9 form), and test directions. Afterwards, we got to wait until the tests were graded so we could see our scores.

There were about 60 people this session. We had 30 minutes to complete the 28-question test of basic skills, which included following written instructions, reading, basic arithmetic, and map reading. I did pretty well; actually better than I did when I took the pretest at home.

The next step for this job is a background check. I have NO skeletons in my closet, so that shouldn't be a problem. There was no mention of if or when we'd receive a call about an actual job. However, since the job's hours are flexible, the pay is good, and most people work close to their neighborhood I'm willing to wait.


  1. Cool! I saw the census ad out here and am thinking about it too. Good luck!!

  2. Good luck with the job hunt. I had friends who worked the census when we were in college. Thanks for stopping by my blog--it is amazing when you stumble onto just the "right" blog. I'll add yours to my list, it looks interesting.

  3. It seems that all job fairs here in Toronto are a total scam. Yes, they have a lot of potential employers there, but I've never once heard of them conducting interviews or screening...I'm not sure what kind of a scam it is exactly...but no one I know [me included] has ever found them remotely productive.

    The census thing sounds neat. I worked for Elections Canada as a translator - government type jobs always pay well and they seem amazed if you actually do the work.

  4. Sydney--Hubby went to a job fair held at the college he's an alumni of and got some solid prospects to follow up on, but he didn't have any in-depth conversations with any of the companies.

    I think the difference with the job fair I attended is that it was held by a specific school district (similar to ONE company looking for employees holding an event at their corporate headquarters).