Academic Nincompoops & Job Searching in Chile

One of the irritating factors about living in Chile is dealing with the pseudo-academic nincompoops when looking for a job.

Regarding an ad for an academic job that does not mention where to send one’s CV , I called the “For more information call …” number listed.  I’m pretty sure  the department head (directora) picked the line up (her voice gave it away and I don’t think a secretary would have tried to get away with what’s detailed further below).  What I got was an unprofessional,

“Hello, why are you calling?”. Given her tone and informality, she may of just as well phrased it, “Hello, why the hell are you calling?”.

“I’m calling about the job advertisement.”

“And you want to know … what … where to send your CV?”

After that statement, I thought I had a real genius on the other end of the phone.  I answered, “Sure, that would be helpful.”.

But before receiving any information I first got interrogated with (what I’m pretty sure is an illegal [interview] question), “Where are you from”, as if my origin mattered.  I thought to myself, “Is this job only for people of a certain ethnicity, or race?”.

I answered that I was Chilean (born, although not raised).  What I got was a, “No you’re not!  I can tell because you sure don’t sound like it”. So I had to explain that I was born in Chile but raised and educated in Canada. An uneasy pause set in.

I believe that she noticed that I was aware of being discriminated because she proceeded to justify her line of questioning. She explained that she had asked about my origin is because there were two ways to send one’s CV, one via mail, the other in person.  Gee, what does it matter where I’m from just as long as I hand my CV in! Just give me my options and be done with it, without hiding extraneous interests behind inappropriate (and irrelevant to the matter at hand) questions!!

She went on to tell me “just like it says in the ad, you do the following, blah, blah, blah”.  Well, it may just take a greater genius to figure out that the reason I’m calling is because it’s not in the ad (it does not mention any specifics), and does indeed ask one to call –the number I called– for details.


This experience has to be one of my worst experiences here so far (at least up and until December 2007) –in as far as job searching is concerned.

Maurice Cepeda

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