I have worked in human resources for several years. During this time I have read and heard things that have left me stunned, made me laugh and have even scared me. However, I never go home at night and say to my husband, “I was really bored today, nothing interesting happened at work.” I often say that I will one day write a book. I thought I would start with a column dedicated to some of the craziness that is my world.
Interviewing people is always interesting. For example, last week I had the following conversation:
Me: “I see from your resume the last time you worked was 2007.”
Job Seeker: “Yeah, see like me mom has like dermentia so I been like in a catch 21 situation.”
How do you respond to that? I didn’t.
This story is a favorite of mine. I was speaking to a woman to set up an interview. She told me that she was available Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. We agreed on Wednesday at 11:00 am. I gave her directions and we hung up. She called me back a few minutes later and told me that she would not be able to make it Wednesday at 11 a.m. because she would be getting married at that time. She could, however, make it Tuesday at 2:00 pm. Really? Nothing else going on the day before your wedding?
I had a person call regarding a job advertisement that read, “Receptionist, every other weekend and two nights during the week.” The caller wanted to know if every other weekend included Saturday and Sunday. Let me take a look at me calendar, why yes, it sure does.
The written word can also be entertaining. I once received an email with a resume attached that simply said, “Can you find me a job” Please note, he did not even punctuate the question correctly.
My unwritten answer was, “Ah, no.”
And here is something amusing that I still often see: “Dear Sirs.”
It is 2011, why would you address an e-mail "Dear Sirs"? I am sorry, we do not have any jobs from the 1940s right now.
Sometimes applicants think that maybe I have time on my hands. I received this email: “I’m not quite sure what position I would like to pursue with so I was hoping somebody could take a look at my resume and perhaps make a suggestion or two.” Sure, let me drop everything and help you out with that.
I did mention that some things scare me, here is one such email, “Unlike most people, I hate free time, because it's free for somebody else and merely given in my case. Please provide me with something to do. I am desperate for work and I WILL WORK MY ASS OFF, let me repeat that I WILL WORK MY ASS OFF and if you're still not up to date on this letter I WILL WORK MY ASS OFF. thank you, consider the resume and please hire me. Thank you for your attention.” Correction, I was not scared, I was petrified.
Please, be smart when you are trying to find a job. Most of us do not need to be told this, but you have to present yourself as an intelligent and responsible person. The mistakes in this column are extreme examples, but things like punctuation, professionalism and common sense do matter. If you are lacking in any of these areas recruiters and employers will quickly move on to the next of many candidates.