I had an odd experience with the City of Surrey’s hiring department early in 2017.
Out of the blue I received an email from Manpreet, employment coordinator, that read in part:
Congratulations and welcome to the City of Surrey team! Attached you will find your confirmation of employment letter.
At this time, we ask you to please click on the following hyperlink to access required documents and information. You are required to complete and return this information by the date stated on your offer letter.
With the letter came a few PDF attachments: 2017 federal tax form, 2017 provincial tax form, PRC onboarding form (parks, recreation and culture employee form), and a welcome to the City of Surrey letter.
There were other details in that letter: the job title, salary, and a deadline date to sign the acceptance letter and return it.
I’m sure you’re all thinking “Yay! Way to go for getting a job offer.”
Here’s where it gets weird.
I never applied for this job. Or any other job with the City of Surrey.
Although the job description was never spelled out in the welcome letter, I can tell by the job title it wouldn’t interest me.
I am not looking for a job. Although I might be intrigued if a headhunter came calling, I’d be willing to listen, there was zippo interest to me about this job offer from the City of Surrey.
The email had an attached pdf letter addressed to my full name care of a gmail address.
I do not have a gmail address. Free mail servers might be fine for some people, but I consider them unprofessional.
The whole kit and caboodle was emailed to my email address I’ve had for 20 years.
Was this email a prank? I doubt it. One of the instructions was to log on to the City of Surrey’s career website and fill out some information. They provided me with my email address log in and a password that I probably would have used at one time.
I did register with the City of Surrey’s career website and applied for a job or two – many years ago. The password Manpreet provided is one I probably used way back then. It’s been years since I set up an application on the City of Surrey’s website and then forgot about it after not getting a response.
I sold my house in 2013, moved, and disconnected the phone number so there’s no way the City of Surrey could be in contact with me except through my email address.
I wondered if the City of Surrey has a policy of holding on to job applications for many years and then randomly sending out job offers without a phone call or in person interview. Seems odd to me, but then the City of Surrey does some really stupid things so maybe not as odd as some would think.
My guess is there’s another woman out there with the same name who applied for this job at the City of Surrey. Maybe she had an interview and was anxiously waiting to hear whether she’d got the job … but heard nothing.
The City of Surrey addressed a letter to my name c/o the gmail address and emailed it to my long-standing email instead of to gmail. Lucky me, huh! Perhaps there are two of us with the same name registered with the city’s career website and when Manpreet was putting the hiring package together, scrolled through that database and emailed it to me instead. Assuming my name came up first because of an application years ago. Perhaps the longest standing applicant with the same name appears first in the database.
Gee, thanks for choosing me, Manpreet!
I’m not looking for a job and have no interest in working for the City of Surrey, especially since they moved to a new location a few years ago. City Hall was closer to where I lived in the house that’s since been sold, which was probably why I applied for a job there years ago. And didn’t hear a peep.
Briefly I thought about having some fun and signing that letter and sending it in and then not showing up for work.
I also thought if I actually had been looking for a job, and even though I hadn’t applied for a job, what would the City of Surrey have done if I’d signed their job offer letter, filled in all the tax forms, and filled out their onboarding form and provided the information they wanted – void cheque, photocopy of social insurance number, copy of driver’s license, and so on. They’d have been sorely disappointed because I’m unable to provide a first aid certificate, copy of PRC job code form (whatever that is!), and a Hep B form (hunh?!). I can’t even provide a copy of my high school graduation the city demands. Man is that ever strict! I haven’t seen my high school diploma in decades. I’m not sure where it is or what happened to it. I can’t prove that I ever graduated high school – so stick that in your hat and smoke it, City of Surrey! I can provide proof from the University of Victoria, but it doesn’t appear that would be acceptable to the city seeing as how it doesn’t prove I graduated from high school.
The City of Surrey wants job applicants to jump through hoops, so I wouldn’t be a good fit even if I had been looking for a job. I wouldn’t bust my ass trying to figure out all the crap the city wants. Not to mention all the time I’d have to invest looking for my long lost high school diploma!
But, what would the City of Surrey had done if I’d done everything they asked and reported to work with the job offer letter in hand? Would the person who’d done the interview with the real job applicant asked me who I was and what I was doing there. Uh, yeah, Manpreet, on behalf of the City of Surrey, offered me this job, and here I am. Don’t want me? Who should my lawyer call?
I ignored the job offer but kept the email knowing one day I’d write a blog post about it and poke fun at the City of Surrey’s lackadaisical hiring practices.
Seeing as how I’m reviewing the hiring letter while writing this post, I tried to log on to the city’s career website using their link and my email and password. I got an error message that I don’t exist/not registered. It doesn’t surprise me that they’d deactivate profiles that have been inactive for many years.
Yay to me for getting a job offer with the City of Surrey for a job I’d never applied for and didn’t want! Woohoo! Who knew it would be so easy to get a job offer from the City of Surrey?
Or maybe the City of Surrey is so desperate for employees that they just randomly send out emails like that and hope to get a hit.
I wonder if Manpreet figured out the screw up and got hold of the right Cheryl with the job offer.
If not, I wonder if the other Cheryl finally found a job.
PS – Cheryl, my namesake, do you really want a job with a city that can’t get their act together?
Hi Cheryl, we apologize for any confusion this error has caused. We are taking this error very seriously and are looking into the issue to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future. We would like to assure you and others that the personal information of our candidates and staff are very important to us and we make a dedicated effort to ensure its security. We sincerely apologize for the error and would very much like the opportunity to connect with you in regards to the issue. Please reach out to our Director of Human Resources, Joey Brar by calling 604-591-4655.
City of Surrey Human Resources
Appreciate the response. Maybe I’ll give him a call.
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