Job Test story


/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
As a background, I'm considering a career change after staying out of the workforce to take care of my kids. I do part-time consultancy (HR/Psych stuff and translation services) and now want to go back the office but not in the same field. The difficulty with a career change is you have to start from the beginning not the point where you left off your previous career. The journey of job hunting is mostly frustrating than encouraging but sometimes they're LOL worthy.

Here's an anecdote about one of my job tests:

I got an appointment to test at an organisation affliliated with the UN upon a recommendation of my church friend (yay for attending Easter service). It's one of the places I've wanted to work for here in Paris because one of my dream jobs is to be a UN diplomat. I've already started a project with them 7 years ago but it didn't launch due to lack of funding (or the Iraq war, ha).


So I got there, looking at the guys in suits at the lobby, wondering which one is really a double agent. Yes, I've watched too many spy movies or 24! It's like a labyrinth to go to the office. Even if you want to steal a document (again, the spy movies in my mind), you have to find your way out of the labyrinth and I'm usually excellent in tracing back my steps). :dork:


It's a typing test. I have no experience in this but having spent hours on the computer (and some HS training on a typewriter, lol), I'm used to typing even without looking at the keyboard. I just need to know which keyboard I'm dealing with: qwerty or azerty. I use the latter, the French one, and I'm glad when they found an azerty keyboard for me. :cool:

I'm being tested for speed. At the end of the time limit, I had typed all but one sentence in the document they gave me. That made me OC a bit, but I can't cheat and say, "pls. just one more sentence or I can't sleep". The document was a transcription of a speech about the importance of books in cultural heritage. It was a very good speech. Many times while I was typing, I kept thinking "wow, she's right, what a powerful speech". Hmm, now I wonder if my fascination with the document made me type slower. :hmm: Maybe, LOL. Either way, I can imagine that if it's the thing I have to do on a regular basis, it's going to be a very entertaining typing job for me.


This consists of typing a corrected version of a manuscript. Part of the test is determining what the signs are (how to read the corrections). I've done a bit of editing work with instructional materials development before so some signs are familiar. The others are common sense. There's one though which I couldn't understand. Does anyone know what it means if the word has a check mark on top of it? I tried googling but didn't find a response. So I just copied whatever was written.

In the middle of the test, I saw an error on the correction. Yes, the OC in me again. So I turned to the tester and asked if it was part of the test: whether to copy the correction faithfully or to correct the correction if with blatant errors. She laughed. So I guess it wasn't really part of the test but a real error of her boss that I should ignore :rofl:.


For this one I need to use pedals. Yes, you read it right. Pedals like in an automatic car. So the recording starts and you transcribe, then you push the Left one to stop, Right one to continue playing. But for some reason the pedals weren't working and they either have to reinstall the software or let me use the alternative: the F keys.

From what I remember:

F4 stop
F7 rewind
F9 play
F10 real speed
F11 slower speed
F12 faster speed (for overachievers, haha)

So I have to press on those while the recording is playing (I have a headset) and in between transcriptions. I also have to omit all the uhms, ahms, and incomplete phrases because the speaker changed their mind or forgot about what they wanted to say.

So the type of recording is like a UN conference where each country rep is given the floor. The Chairman's part was easy to transcribe, until after she calls the countries. First country: Republic of Zambia. :stare:

I swear, in the silence of the testing room, I spontaneously cried "Wut?" so many times. F7, F7, F7, F7! I had great difficulty understanding what the Zambian was saying. I'm not used to their English accent. Some parts, I understood and for the others, I left *** on words I couldn't transcribe.

Then he was done talking. Yay! I still have 5 minutes of recording to transcribe and probably 2 minutes left to do it. The Chairman calls the next country.....Vietnam! Oh dear.

Couldn't they have picked a conference when people from Philippines, Burma, North America, UK, Italy, or any other country among the several countries of my close friends (at least I'm used to their English accents)? But no, I got Vietnam and I couldn't understand more than half of what she's saying.

Her main topic was about a cultural program on ...what sounds like...biofelotus. Wut? At first I ignored it. I just wrote bio****. But since it's her main subject, she mentioned it tons and my entire transcription page looked like a mass of ******. :shifteyes:

OC alert. That's not looking good and something must be done. So I tried the F11 key (to play it in slower speed). And it just sounded like a slow motion of biiiiiiiiiiiioooooofeeeeelllllllooooottttttuuuussss. :lol: It didn't help.

So I'm doomed. I still don't know what she was talking about, even now. Time is up and I only transcribed (and rather unsuccessfully) a third of the recording.

Well, it could have been worse. Like, if I had to translate their English text (that I already barely understood) to French at the same time. Faint.

At the end of the test, the boss said she'll let me know about the results and that she knows that the third part of the test is hard for anyone without experience doing it. Whew.


Lion Rampant
I have biofelotus of the brain now, and will probably go crazy trying to google the word into existence. Can you see how many spelling variations there are on that? They couldn't have come up with a better way to see how someone handles the inevitable misses.

That's an impressive skill, transcription/court reporting. You really have to be as sharp as anything to stay in that game. I'd go grey overnight.


/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
Or you can imagine the sound. I'm just transcribing how it sounded to me. A native English speaker would probably have had an easy time understanding it.


/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
Yes I will. I'm not sure it's going to be soon. I got an impression it's for a summer job so if ever, I'm not expecting a call within the next month.

I think I'll just settle for not knowing what biofelatus is about.


In need of Entertainment
I hope things go well for you and they accept you. Good luck.


/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
Update: I passed the test. :) They're scheduling now for possible contract dates. I heard from the girl today and there seems to be an offer for a couple of weeks in May. We're just settling the dates coz they conflict with a vaca plan I already scheduled (yep, this vaca is important for my sanity, haha).