Saturday, November 27, 2010

More Hiring Fun

I haven't blogged a whole lot about my change of employment that happened this summer. I'm sure at some point I'll let loose about it, but for now I'm still drinking it all in. However, I do have some fun stuff left over from working at USU related to job applications. I've written about other strange interviews and bad resumes before, and while I hesitate to talk about hiring issues a ton, since an offhand comment about someone you didn't hire can become a major lawsuit issue, I've also heard from a reader or two that those kinds of stories are some of their favorites. So I'll try to balance things as well as I can.

The first is from an interview within the past year. It was going reasonably well until I talked about what is expected while working in the computer lab, making a half-question-half-statement about not being on Facebook all the time while working. It turned into a kind of awkward moment when she pretty much told me she probably would be on Facebook a lot. Kudos for honesty? Or recommendation for a psychologist to help with your addiction? Or just end the interview as soon as possible, because we're not hiring you?

Just as I was leaving, while they were in the middle of hiring my replacement, we also had quite a bit of staffing to take care of, since several people had graduated or had other personal things come up that they weren't coming back in the Fall. I was hoping my replacement would do all the hiring, but when the timeline got tight, I had to review the resumes we had received.

I had received about 250 emails about student jobs in the lab. In 2 hours, I made my way through all 250 emails, whittling the list down to 20 potential hires which I passed along to my just barely hired replacement to make the final decision. Whew, that was fun! I did have the sense to copy out a few gems from the cover letters and resumes I received. Some of the best:

Lagoon (Seasonal) Managed a group of 6-8 employees, keeping them in line and on task

I knew it was important to keep customers in lines, but I didn't realize they had lines for employees, too.

I'm interest in working in the CIL Lab. What is required for?

English proficiency, maybe for?

Working knowledge of all Windows and Apple based software.


Child Care, Many repeat requests

So you babysat your neighbor's kids every weekend?

I would be willing to work before, after or when I have breaks in between classes.

Being a campus job, I can't require students work during classes, but yes, before, between, or after classes are pretty much the times I make everyone work.

Rapport Leadership International

This is one I was pretty sure I didn't want to even touch. Just from the name of it, you can guess what kind of place it is. I did take a minute to google it, and yes, it's one of those training courses where they humiliate you and rip you down to nothing before building you up into a machine that rips down your friends and loved ones, for only thousands of dollars a month. I don't know or care the details of RLI, Impact, or the other similar programs; I just know enough to know I don't want anything to do with them. If you want real leadership training, ask me about Wood Badge.

Proficient in Word, Excel, Power Point, The Internet and Dental Software

Ooh, proficient in both the internet AND dental software?

Sandwich Artist

Look, I know that's the title Subway gives the people who work there, but you're not an artist, and what you're making barely resembles a sandwich.

2.81 gpa

Just leave it off if it's under 3.0. If I ask for GPA, you're hosed, but if I happen to not ask for it, you might be able to slip in unnoticed. I have had people with bad GPAs be good employees and vice versa, but with the sheer numbers, any bad info you give me will be used against you. Of course, the question may arise whether 2.81 is a bad GPA. It's basically a B- average, so perhaps not all that bad. Consider, however, that to get a GPA in that range, you have to balance out every A you receive with a D in another class. Grade inflation itself is an entirely different conversation, but within the current system, more than a handful of Ds (or worse) means there's something wrong. On the other hand, the perennial 4.0 student can be suspect as well. I just added that, because I want to make sure I offend everyone equally. There's a lot more I could say, but I'm going to save it for another post.

I really would like a job.

Oh, well, yeah, that makes sense. Just come on in.

Roller Coaster Aficionado

Actually, I was intrigued by this one, but not enough to keep him or her, given the tight timeline.

That's all the quotes. There were a few other items that helped me in my filtering. One person submitted a 2 MB attachment; if it was a whole artistic portfolio, I'd understand, but we're talking a resume and cover letter that should come in under a couple hundred K. I received one resume in MS Works format. I could have converted it somehow and figured out a way to read it...but I didn't. Another interesting one was a duplicate resume that I recognize having received several months earlier; the thing that made it stand out so much was the same mistakes that made me toss it the first time still weren't corrected. As always, I received several resumes with a completely blank page appended to the end, since they didn't double check to delete the extra whitespace.

I did have a girl earlier this year apply; if I recall correctly, she was referred by someone else who had been working for me. Her resume was actually bad enough that I emailed her back with some tips to help her improve the resume before submitting elsewhere. I didn't have the time to send back constructive criticism on all these beauties, though.

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