Wednesday, May 18, 2005

But Which to Choose?

I received e-mail from the hiring departments of both WestJet and Air Canada this week. And I am not joking, nor talking about frequent flyer spam, phishing expeditions, or bounced e-mail. Nevertheless, and probably fairly predictably at this stage of the game, they were not interview calls either.

The Air Canada missive was a form letter, the one they send you if you mail in your paper resume. It encourages you to register with their online application database and states quite sternly that "Applications are only being accepted electronically. Telephone enquiries or referrals will not be accepted." I haven't sent them a paper resume lately, as I've long been registered in their electronic database, and make my updates there. I can only assume that this one has fluttered down to me as a result of someone I know at Air Canada shaking the tree on my behalf. It's always fun to have the quarry stalk me*, for whatever reason.

Meanwhile, how many of you would have read a message with a common personal name you did not recognize as a sender and no subject? That's a classic hallmark of spam. Add to that the fact that the body of the message consisted of a short amount of text and a long URL, and any spam filter worth running will throw it in the Junk folder, as did mine. But it turned out to be from WestJet. The only reason I saw it, is that I previewed my messages from work, using an internet mail program that doesn't filter spam, and it was in the mailbox right after a message from someone I knew. After I had read and deleted the known message, the next, subjectless message automatically displayed.

The name belonged to someone whom I don't know who toils deep in the WestJet "People" department (that's what they call it). I guess it'a a good thing her name isn't Watermelon Q. Minnow, or even fewer people would have read it. It was a note "requestiong" (that's the spelling in the e-mail) that I resubmit some data to the WestJet database, "due to a technical upgrade." It's virtually identical to one of those e-mails that asks you to follow a dubious link in order to "reconfirm" all your banking information so they can steal your money. Except all Ms. Minnow wanted to know was whether I could work in Canada, hold a secure area pass, and to reconfirm my flight time totals, none of which is confidential. It didn't even ask my name. My application number was coded in the link.

So now I have a simple route into WestJet. Presumably WestJet has sent this out because their database has collapsed, and they have lost track of who is qualified to fly. So that reduces the total WestJet hiring pool from everyone who applied over the last six months, down to only those who click the link on that e-mail. But ninety percent of the people who received that e-mail won't even have read it, because it looks so much like spam. Only uninteresting people read their spam on purpose, so even if they have more flight time than me, the interview process will reveal them personally deficient, and I will be the only choice.

*Sorry about the sudden change in metaphor from vegetable to animal. If you find it dizzying, I'll refund your blog subscription fees in full. If you can think of a way I could have made a further transmutation to mineral without entirely losing the thread of the conversation, please mention it in the comments.


Douglas said...

I have a good friend who works in a senior developer position in WJA's tech department. I fired off an email to him this morning and should have some more details later.

Lost Av8r said...

"Technical upgrade"??? I was told yesterday they had a computer crash and lost a bunch of data. Not names and resumes, but answers to some of their online questions, probably the ones you've been asked to re-submit.

Lord Hutton said...

Well just maybe, you'll get to Westjet. What about Badger? Any news?

Anoynmous said...

Glitter brightly enough and someone's bound to notice you eventually.

(Only minerals "glitter", right?)