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Life of a serf (part 1)–HR: Horrible Recruitment strategies

I’ve been working as a part-time instructor at a community college for the last 8 months. I decided long ago, during my last stint as an adjunct instructor in New York City, that being a part-time instructor sucks. You’re never paid enough for prep/grading time, you don’t get benefits (except for rare exceptions, like the CUNY system in New York), and you’re never guaranteed hours. Awful.

Then why, might you ask, am I teaching part-time again? Because it’s d@mned hard to find a good job right now, and I thought it wouldn’t hurt to “get my foot in the door” at a community college that supposedly pays well. Boy, was I wrong. The door of the HR department at this college is a trap door. Or maybe a revolving door. Some kind of door, anyway, that you wouldn’t want to get your foot stuck in. But moving on.


Apparently, as an instructor at this college you aren’t given priority for non-teaching job openings over the general public. My 8 months teaching there and the fact that I have the recommendation of the dean in my department mean nothing. Of course no one told me this until I started applying for other jobs within the college.

The first job I didn’t get selected to interview for was a customer service-type position in the enrollment center. In spite of the fact that I met all the minimum requirements and then some, I was overlooked by HR because I didn’t have one year of customer service experience at a school. My years of customer service and higher ed teaching/tutoring experience meant nothing because it wasn’t considered “front-facing work at a college.” I guess teaching and tutoring and all the student interactions that go along with it aren’t “front-facing” enough.

Then there was the marketing copywriter position. Although I  teach writing classes at this school, have a degree and experience above and beyond what they were seeking, and had recently taken a marketing class through the school’s “employee scholar program” to stay up-to-date, I wasn’t qualified for this one either. Why not? According to the HR “Business Partner” assigned to me, it was because, out of the 29 other candidates I was up against, some had written newsletters for a community college.

Have I been in charge of a newsletter for the last year that goes out to 1,000’s of people as well as years of additional copywriting experience, including marketing? Yes. Do I teach students at this school how to be better writers? Check. But am I qualified for a position where I write for the school? I guess not.

One interview I did get was for a part-time clerical assistant in the department I already work in. This position doesn’t require a degree at all. Just a GED or a high school diploma. I would be doing mostly data entry and filing. In spite of the fact that I have a master’s degree, this was one of the only positions HR thought was a good fit for me. I went to the interview and am still waiting to hear back. The interview, by the way, involved my being grilled by four people in the department. A department I already work in, but in a different capacity.

The other job HR OK’d my interview for was a part-time job at a campus more than an hour away. When I told the HR Business Partner that it wasn’t feasible for me to make a 2-hour daily commute through the winter, she suggested I move closer to the campus. Great idea! Leave my friends, family, boyfriend, cat, and other supplemental part-time job behind to move an hour away. Thank you, HR Department.

Anyone else have nightmarish HR experiences? Please share in the comments and make me feel better.



6 thoughts on “Life of a serf (part 1)–HR: Horrible Recruitment strategies

  1. Well, that stinks. Sounds like Johnny HR at the community college got his hands on some policies designed for (and better suited to) a giant corporate conglomerate. He probably thinks he’s a wunderkind, but doesn’t realize all this crap will make it more difficult for them to identify, develop, and promote internal talent.

    I once accepted a temporary promotion to fill the role of someone out on leave for several months. When that time ended, I wen back to my former position. Then, when that same role came open as a permanent position, one of my peers was selected over me. And my peer had no experience in the role. I was fairly livid. It all worked out though, in the end. He got bumped back down and I got something better. Sometimes there’s a bigger picture. A design you can’t see, or make sense of, in the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Life as a serf (part 2)–Black Friday | Prog Chik

  3. Pingback: Life of a serf (part 4): A certification in WHAT? | Prog Chik

  4. As you probably guessed you almost need to know someone on the inside these days to pull strings for you. I work at a huge hospital and I was a nurse with 30 years experience in critical areas with an outstanding record when I applied. I called HR every single day and told them to please let management at least just look at my application. Everyday I bugged them. I finally got an interview. Now that I’m on the inside I help everyone I can. Good luck and the best to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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