Sunday, March 31, 2013

April Fools and the Stunts Candidates Play

Over the past 32 years of recruiting, candidates have shown the wonderful ability to surprise clients.  It almost seems they are trying to find April Fools jokes to play on companies where they are interviewing.


For instance, isn’t it amazing when they fail to edit or proof their resumes prior to forwarding them in postings?  Let’s face it, anyone can have a grammatical error in their resume or confuse “it” and “at” or “is” and “as”.  It is not uncommon to receive a resume where the candidate was a “Manger” instead of “Manager”.  Do you also picture hay coming out of their sleeves?


Those careless mistakes are more understandable than missing names and contact information.  How can a candidate be that careless?  Yet, it is not uncommon to receive those resumes.  Is the recruiter supposed to call a company and ask for the person who used to work at ABC Company 4 years ago?


Then you have candidates who feel the best way to influence others is to be rude.  Recently a candidate that was being kept in the loop – contacted twice in a week with updates, decided they were being forced to “chase a job”.  Their rude response created an immediate disqualification. 


Over the years candidates have been very creative in their ways to surprise.  As NCAA basketball coaches know better than anyone during March Madness, you can coach people but they do not always accept the coaching.  Why would an accountant who was coached that the rural client had a very conservative culture and everyone wore suits, decide that business casual was an appropriate way to make a great first impression?  Disqualified…


How many times do you hear about researching a company prior to an interview?  Recently a candidate was interviewing with my client.  What possessed them to continually refer to my client’s products by the name of their largest competitor?  Disqualified…


Of course, very occasionally a candidate will go out of their way to demonstrate their creative ability to create an April Fools stunt on potential employers.  One candidate during the late 1990’s decided that they could dress as a clown and still be hired because the job market was tight.  They picked a Career Fair to show up dressed in a clown costume.  They told people that companies were so desperate to find employees they could dress as a clown and still find a job.  Maybe they wanted maximum negative exposure?  Unfortunately the companies who met this person did not appreciate his arrogance and disrespect.  Maybe he shouldn’t have dropped his resume at their booths.   In a coup of legendary proportions, he was disqualified by many companies within 2 hours.


Actually these people have saved companies time and possibly money by disqualifying themselves prior to employment.


On the candidate side of these April Fools’ stunts by others, learn from their mistakes.  Proofread resumes prior to forwarding them to a company.  Ask someone who did not help with your resume to proof it for you.  They generally are more likely to see “Manger” instead of “Manager” and all of those other potential mistakes.  Is your name and contact information easy to read?  Do not put that information in a header because some applicant tracking systems cannot read headers. 


Understand that you need to research companies prior to submitting your resume.  Understand their products and refer to them by their name, not their competition’s name. 


Finally, learn that arrogance has no place during the job search – or in the workplace.


From the corporate experience side, understand that candidates have a wonderful capability to be creative and find new ways to surprise – and disqualify themselves.