Sunday, May 29, 2011

This is my competition?

I've made my career in a profession that's fairly recession-proof (someone has to prepare the numbers, even if they're bad), and have always found jobs easily.  I was reading a funny post from Classy Career Girl about weird things people had done in interviews, and they're more common than you'd think.  As I got involved in recruiting, it became clear that I had been drastically overestimating my competition in the job market.  All I can say to these poor job-seekers is...(Dr Phil voice here) "what were you thinking?"

Flipping through resumes, I came across the following gems:

"You will be astounded at my remarkable and profound talent with financial statements."  I like your artistic spirit, but it's accounting, not conducting a symphony.  Also, confidence is good.  Conceit, not so much.

Under e-mail address: (I removed the actual numbers to protect the clueless).  OMG.  This is an insurance company, not a strip club or a bar.  Ever heard of different e-mail accounts for work and personal activities?  Then again, there is a car in our company parking lot with the license plate "Hotty". 

You can find more funny resume facepalms here.

One time I was trying to set up an interview, and the candidate's mother (!) refused to pass on the call until I had fully identified myself and sufficiently explained why I wanted to talk to her daughter.  By the time she passed the phone over, I no longer wanted to interview someone who was part of this gene pool.  Keep in mind, the requirements for the job included a university degree and several years of experience.  It's not like I was calling a 14-year old.

The craziest interview I was involved with is going to sound like I'm making parts of it up, but I assure you I am not.  My boss was hiring a new manager and I was sitting in on the interview, because my boss wanted the perspective of his current management team on the candidates.  This guy looked awesome on paper - highly educated and great experience.  When he arrived in a posh suit and sharp briefcase and started talking, we thought we'd found our guy.

Until we got to the question on teamwork.  When asked to describe a situation in which he'd dealt with conflict in a group setting, he said he'd managed a girls' soccer team and that had been very challenging because "you know how crazy women get at that time of the month" (the interview team was 90% female). 

Things went downhill from there, and after making several more lawsuit-worthy comments, the candidate suddenly flung himself back in his chair, threw up his hands, and yelled "I'm not going to get this, am I?"  As we stared open-mouthed at him, he pulled on his tie and sulked: "I just don't get it.  Why won't anyone hire me?"  Umm, I have a few ideas...The candidate then grabbed his resume, stuffed it into his briefcase and stomped out.

My paltry experiences are nothing compared to what professional recruiters see though.  Here are some highlights from both recruiters and candidates:

“I sent a digital resume and cover letter via email to apply for a position as a technical writer. Within a few hours, a message from the director in charge of hiring came via email. Full of anticipation, I opened the email to find a terse message: ‘your resume is infected with a virus and has been quarantined.’ A person cannot recover from an infected resume. I did not pursue the position further.”

“A guy who forgot dark socks to wear with his suit colored in his ankles with a black felt-tip marker.”

"One candidate, when asked if he was ever convicted of a felony, responded, "No, I was not convicted, I pled guilty."
"During the interview, an alarm clock went off in the applicant's briefcase. He apologized and said he had to leave for another interview. "

"After arriving for an early morning interview, a job seeker asked to use the hiring manager's phone. She then faked a coughing fit as she called in sick to her boss."

"In response to a hiring manager's offer to answer questions about the position, the job seeker replied, "What happens if I wake up in the morning and don't feel like coming to work?"

I wanted to show you the best video resume ever, but it appears the legal kill-joys have excised it from the Internet.  For those who haven't seen the Aleksey Vayner video, here's a description from a UK news source:
Describing himself as 'Aleksey Vayner, CEO & Professional Athlete,' the video shows him (supposedly) lifting a 495-pound weight, serving a tennis ball at 140mph, performing a rather impressive rotating jump while skiing, and – in an extended sequence – ballroom dancing with an underdressed lady while clad in a figure hugging black polo neck.  In the video, he comments: 'If you're going to work, work. If you're going to train, train. If you're going to dance, then dance, but do it with passion.'

Finally, wearing white robes, he majestically smashes a pile of bricks with his bare hands.

In his cover letter to UBS, he says: 'As a world-level athlete in several sports, I have developed an insatiable appetite for peak performance and continuous learning. My trainer and world martial arts champion often said, “Impossible is just someone's opinion.” I live by those words.'

His 11-page resume (11 pages!) also states that he is the CEO of his own investment firm, that he founded a charity helping young people, and that he can cure people using his knowledge of Chinese medicine.

What are your job-seeking stories?  I'd love to hear them!


  1. Oh this is highly entertaining material right here! Love it! I laughed so hard! Part of my job involves hiring and there is so much truth in how so many people disqualify themselves without any help at all!

  2. Lol! So funny people are crazy! Im glad someone else notices the email thing too its such a pet peeve for me. We had someone submit his resume and his email was joshyholla lol! Then we also have someome apply as a lifeguard who said that they did not like to get their hair wet thats why they dont really get in the pool. People crack me up

  3. i used to work for a head-hunting company & i had to fix up the resumes from job seekers & remove the crap they'd tack in there. like photos or physical descriptions, like height, weight, hair color. hello, this is a banking position you're applying for, not hooters!

  4. I once told an interviewr that my hobbies were golf, strangling animals and masturbation. It went downhill after that but I did go to the interview while blathered.

  5. No kidding, girl! One gal's email address was "sexystripper69@....." or something like that. I mean...really? And then "Well, I really wanna work here for the discount."

    Not. Okay.

    What is wrong with people?

  6. Oh gosh, where do I even start

  7. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Oh does this all sound so familiar. I work in the veterinary medicine field. When hiring for an EXPERIENCED TECHNICIAN (OR RECEPTIONIST) I will get 90% of submitted resumes say "While I don't have experience, I am a very quick learner."

    Really? You ever go to a hospital and ask for a cardiac surgery position?

  8. Whoa! These are some hilarious stories, stories I wish weren't true, but I know better. I've been on lots of interview committees, but I've never had a really stand-out experience. I guess the worst thing I've ever witnessed was a woman we had hired a week earlier falling asleep in a meeting with our vice president. Not exactly a great way to start! :) Great post...very entertaining the things people do.

  9. Oh my gosh, if my mother ever did that to me and cost me a possible job, I would...I would...I don't even know what I would do. But it wouldn't be very nice. Then again, my mother would probably never do that. She's so freaked that I won't be able to find a job in this economy once I graduate, so she'd probably practically shove the phone down my throat if someone ever called to schedule an interview. Then again, I hope I don't have to move back home after graduation, so that whole scenario wouldn't even be possible.

    Stopping by from LBS!

  10. I used to hire kids for McDonalds. I never laughed so hard as the day a kid comes strolling down the aisle with half his butt hanging out of his pants. When he sat down he grabbed himself and when I asked him why he wanted to work there his response was...
    "Well, I figure McDonalds is like the Army. They don't care, they just need bodies." I did not hire him.

  11. Stopping by from the Storytellers Blog Hop. I LOVED THIS! I do a weekly wrap on Sunday where I post my top 5 favorite posts of the week that I read and I would like to include this one. I am sure some of my readers will really be able to relate! Thanks for a good laugh.

  12. Wow, I feel a whole lot better about my job seeking skills now. LOL. Stopping by from TALU

  13. this is why I love people! What's even worse than having terrible interviews is actually hiring the people and finding out they are bat-sh*t crazy afterwards! thanks for linking up to TALU

  14. That is crazy stuff! People are desperate it seems and will say or do anything for a job. These are hilarious stories. (TALU)

  15. hello!! oh my goodie! hahaha this is soo hilarious! i worked in an HR as part of my internship months before Uni Grad. and yeah ive also came across resumes that gave me headaches. LOL there was one I remember, Objective: To be part of the advancement of the industry and have a great career ahead.

    well to me that's fine but not anymore if I read the same objective with one of the job-seekers (apparently they are friends) ;-)

  16. The human race never ceases to amaze me. Stopping in from TALU :) TY for sharing this!


  17. OK, these examples are all pretty funny, but coloring your ankles, seriously?!?! WOW!! [#TALU]


Lend me some sugar!