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: email@example.com (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:
"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?"