Although not directly related to the terrible experience, I point out the mistake in my cover letter that I have since learned to avoid at all cost.
|I don't have too many pics where I look sad - here, my flight to Antarctica was delayed!|
Let me talk about my (big) mistake first.
I applied for this job without a referral.
I found the job posted on LinkedIn and started to look into who might be in the hiring team. It was far from obvious.
I was interested in the job but it was not directly related to my own field.
My Ph.D. was in particle astrophysics, the position was for a Bioinformatics Scientist.
I did not know anyone that could refer me.
I managed to find some people on LinkedIn that worked at the same company and knew someone that knew someone that might know the hiring manager.
But I didn't have even close to a strong rapport with anyone that was even close to the department of interest.
After some days of trying to find people that might be able to refer me, I gave up and just applied.
I logged into their system and uploaded my resume and cover letter.
The cover letter I submitted is at the end of this post and evidently, I did not know who to address the letter to.
Never ever do this.
If you don't know who to address the cover letter to, the game is over. Don't even bother.
As a Ph.D., you hope you'll get in at a senior position, higher than entry level.
Most of these positions are posted after the referral for the position has already come in.
Not knowing the hiring manager means you don't have a referral.
Applying to jobs without a referral is a waste of time.
So, that was my mistake. It's like shooting in the dark.
No matter how desperate you might feel, the odds are against you and it usually does not work out.
I was contacted a few weeks after submitting the application saying that they wanted to do a phone screen for a Bioinformatics Postdoc Scientist position.
The insertion of the word postdoc in the position title made me pretty uncomfortable, but I decided I would figure that out at a later stage - if there was going to be a later stage in the interview process.
On the phone screen, there were two guys. The director and the lead of the bioinformatics institution.
The director made me very uncomfortable.
I maintained a cheerful attitude but at the end of the call, I had an acute sense of being crapped on.
The director asked me: "Why don't you try to become a librarian or work at the grocery store instead?"
(in a British accent)
And, "Are you confident in your programming skills to even take the (code) test?"
I had mentioned I was from a technically heavy field and coded on a daily basis.
I had highlighted my programming skills even in the cover letter:
I have experience with a variety of analysis tools and programming languages, including R and Python. I am proficient with UNIX/LINUX platforms and shell scripting.
He was very reluctant to give me the code test and verbalized his doubt that it was even worth giving a shot.
It was bizarre.
For those going through the process of interviewing or applying to jobs right now:
Sometimes it makes absolutely no sense.
You are told things that are just outright weird or wrong.
If some people are making you feel like crap I've been there and as hard as it is you must move on.
Better things are waiting.
Feb 14, 2018
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
700 Children’s Drive
Columbus, OH 43205