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May 27, 2006

I REALLY heart Craigslist.org

On April 30, I used this space to sing the praises of Craigslist.org, for helping us sell a refrigerator. Since then, I've tried to sell a few living room chairs with less success. But Craigslist redeemed itself forever for me yesterday, when it helped Mark find a job. It ran an ad addressed to "Gamers" - If you like playing video games, this is the job for you! He went for the interview in the afternoon, landed the job, and reports for orientation today. Congratulations to Mark, and undying thanks to Craigslist!

The entry process for this job was interesting. The first step was to report to one office building for a number of "tests" -- knowledge about computers, Microsoft Windows, office practices, spelling, etc. After he passed that, he was sent to another office several miles away for a group interview (2 interviewers and 5 applicants) - in which they were asked what type of computer they owned, what their favorite games were, etc. His extensive gaming and computer experience served him well. One person being interviewed didn't own a computer... and wasn't called back for step 3, back at building #1, for more paperwork. Then step 4 was a drug test - at yet another building across town.

I'm convinced that this strategy was being used to weed out those with only a casual interest in the job. If you were willing to trek to 4 sites in one afternoon and report the next day (Saturday) for a 1 hour orientation, you have shown at least a modicum of seriousness. The next steps involve several weeks of training and a 90 day probation - again, to weed out the not-so-serious folks. The 35 new folks are technically hired by a temp agency, so there is no commitment on either side until after the 90 day probation period has been satisfied. (A very clever solution for outsourcing the hassle of separating serious from not-so-serious potential employees.) By then, the hiring firm will have "tried and true" folks who have passed the 90 day probation, and the new employees will know what they are getting themselves into and will have a modicum of job security + those almighty health benefits. (Aside): It continues to amaze me how much employment and retirement decisions are driven by considerations about health benefits. The topic comes up in virtually every conversation I have with anyone about either new employment or retirement. Should this country ever move to a single-payer system (I'm sure it won't happen in my lifetime), there could be huge unanticipated shifts in employment patterns. I hope someone is studying this now.

Those who succeed on this new job will be providing telephone tech support to people who have bought gaming systems. I think one of the biggest challenges for these savvy gamers will be to not get irritated with novices who have problems that stem from things such as not plugging the machine in correctly, etc.

But now and forever, Craigslist has my gratitude! Thanks Craig, whoever you are.

Posted by hgroteva at May 27, 2006 10:52 AM | Life | Technology