If graduates are lucky enough even to get an interview for a trainee scheme, the price to pay for getting there can put a dampener on the experience, especially if the journey is all for nothing, save for a rejection email.
Last week I had my first interview. It was for a graduate editorial trainee scheme at a well known newspaper in London.
Over 700 people had applied and human resources had whittled it down to 24 candidates. But there was one problem, I was on holiday when the interviews were taking place.
I changed my flight to arrive in London and not Glasgow. This cost me £70 and the train home to Glasgow was £40.
Admittedly this was an uncommon situation but had I not been on holiday the cost of a return journey would still have been over £50 without adding on subway fares.
The timing of the rejection email, the very moment I stepped off the train at Central Station in Glasgow, did not ease the situation.
My immediate thought was of how much money I had just wasted on transport, even if it was a learning experience.
My question is, how can graduates keep up with travelling expenses when potential employers do not refund costs and when job seekers are likely to have to go through the interview process multiple times until they strike gold?
Faced with hundreds of applicants for a handful of positions, employers are now asking graduates to travel for several rounds of interviews and assessment days as they try to test and whittle down the masses of qualified candidates. This can double and triple the cost of finding a job.
Jobseeker allowance can be pitiful after the cost of train fares, but what else are unemployed graduates supposed to do?
A very unusual and irrelevant question put to me during the worst interview of my life was an indication of how some graduates can afford to find a job.
I was asked what my parents thought of my wanting to become a journalist. This left me stumped. What relevance did my parents' thoughts have on my being accepted into this scheme? I was not aware that, at 22, I still require parental permission to live my life the way I want.
The next question queried what my parents do. Why would I be asked this? Is it because higher earning parents can afford to pay for their offspring to take on the full-time occupation of job seeker? Or is it because the media is rife with unpaid interns living off their middle class parents in the hope that one day they might actually be paid?
My generation is now paying more and more just so that one day we might be paid ourselves. The returns are low.
Job offers in some companies seem to apparently rely on who your parents are and what they do. Who knew that the last few distinctions to be made between similarly qualified students at interviews was the individual's social background.
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