(1) So I have been hired by San Joaquin County as a Substance Abuse Counselor II for a residential treatment program. But the road to this wasn’t short, I applied for my first county position eight mo


So I have been hired by San Joaquin County as a Substance Abuse Counselor II for a residential treatment program. But the road to this wasn’t short, I applied for my first county position eight months before I was offered a job. The first thing that happened is I submitted an application through the county website and then received email notification that I had been judged to meet the basic requirements for the position, I then scheduled a county test for the position. After taking the test I was notified through email that I scored in the 90th percentile and that an interview would be scheduled.

I attended the first round of interviews, it was for a whole person care team which uses Medi-Cal funding (called medicaid in other states) to navigate homeless through county programs. It was an inter discplinary team and they wanted a substance abuse counselor to serve as an expert on homeless issues regarding substance abuse. The in person interview was odd because it was during Covid. I was then invited to a second in person interview. Both of them were the same, a panel of program directors asked me questions and took notes based on my answers. I was notified by mail that I was not selected for the position.

Luckily I had applied for a second job with the same job title. I didn’t have to retest for the position because my prior high scoring test was already on record and still valid. So an interview date was set and this time the interview was conducted over zoom. It was very much the same as my prior interviews, a panel of program directors asking me the same questions they had asked me in the two prior interviews. This zoom interview was forgettable, I don’t even remember what team it was for and I must have interviewed poorly because I was notified by mail that I wasn’t selected, without even making it to the second round of interviews.

At this point I believed my prospects with San Joaquin County had run its course, but as luck would have it I got another call for another interview. This time the interview was with a single program manager, but most surprisingly I had not applied for this job. The job wasn’t even listed as open on the county website. Stranger still, I was offered the job at this interview. This program manager had been present at my very first in person interview and we connected strongly enough that he was able to pull my application in order to offer me a position. Now I have the most rewarding job that I’ve ever had and can finally begin working on a retirement to support myself and my wife later in life.


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