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December 10, 2007

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This happens to me all the time with students in my classes asking me where my office is. Not only is it googleable or findable in the departmental (or campus) website, but it is in the syllabus and in the class webpage they go to twice a week to retrieve readings and assignments.

One time I was interviewing people for a professional research assistant position, and after setting up an interview over email, an interviewee emailed me to ask if the office number on my website was correct. Not only did she manage to find the information for herself, but she showed awareness of the fact that web pages do not always have up-to-date informaton. I wanted to hire her on the spot!

UR judgemental

Have you thought that maybe they're being conscientious? Sometimes a magazine's mailing address isn't the same as the place where you'd go for an interview. PT is small enough that it is; how would they know that for sure?

pavedwalden

Hopefully (both for your office productivity, and for the future of journalism) they're just extremely thorough, and are *verifying* the address.

Matthew Hutson

Yeah, I was hoping that, but in that case the smart thing to do would be to say, "You're at [address], right?"

PDub

I came here for the hallucinogens, but I found this article infinitely more fascinating...

This is my first visit to your site so I don't know you very well, but you seem a bit quick to condemn your potential interns. Here are a few key points:

Although PsychologyToday.com does have an address listed at the bottom of every page, the About/Contact section does not list an address. Maybe PT.com doesn't do walk-in business? Maybe the address at the bottom of the page is just a mail drop? Wouldn't it be safer to check?

Younger people today network (that's a verb). Some have friends and resources which they can call on with the touch of a button or with a quick e-mail. When they need an answer they contact an appropriate human resource. Right now, you're their best resource for all things PT related (can you blame them?). In the future that same web of quality resources may work to your advantage in obtaining information.

Web Design is a funny thing, just because the information is there, it doesn't mean readers can "see" it. Right now the address is in the bottom left corner of the site tucked in with an XML feed and colorful image links to other sites. While scanning the page I wouldn't suspect your address to be located near links to other sites. Address in the footer, yes. Address near links to other sites, no.

If 3 out 3 (of the best and brightest) people ask the same question, there's a good chance the question is valid. Why not help them out? If they are asking, other people may be asking the same question but not "bothering" you to find out. It seems that an improved Contact page would help both you and your visitors.

Your comment that it would be best to verify the address by asking, "You're at [address], right?" seems to go against what little I know of journalism and psychiatry. Psychologist interviewing patient, "You're here because your mother doesn't love you, right?" I'd think the point of an interview is to format your question so it solicits a proper response, not to interject your own presuppositions, or provide easy Yes or No questions.

I hope you were just having a rough day and needed to let off a little steam. Now that I've vented, I can definitely say I feel better. ;)

Kate Gordon

I have to weigh in here. I've posted several jobs lately for people with between 3-5 years of work experience in my field. I've gotten many many responses, most from incredibly well-educated people who have been in the working world for at least a few years. I have them send resumes to my email address, which is my last name@my organization name. And I swear, maybe only 2 out of 100 have figured out my name!!! The rest write to "Gordon" (my last name). And this is a RESEARCH job. So what, it's too hard to go on our website and look at the staff list -- or google my email address to find out my name? I've been really shocked at the lack of initiative and basic common sense. But like you, I can't use this as a litmus test because then I'd be excluding my entire applicant list.

Grr.

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