Girl Talk Career Blog

June 20, 2010

Academy Award for Bizarre Interview Candidates

Filed under: career worthy — lisalahey @ 9:40 pm
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There are tons of blogs out there offering valuable advice about how to get a call for an interview then how to nail that job interview and walk away employed.  Many of them are written by HR recruiters so they must know what they’re talking about. 

My hunch is that the following candidates have not perused any of these articles.  Or perhaps they have since the utterly bizarre behaviours these candidates displayed were not mentioned in any of these blogs (understandably).  Hopefully the majority of people job hunting have never committed these gaffes and never will.

Now on to the awards.

Weirdest Email Application  …  and the nominees are … 
A woman submitted a link to her personal website where she posted nude photographs of herself. 
A man submitted his email name with the address hotdate69@hotmail.com.
And the Award goes ….. to the woman with the nude pics.

Weirdest Apparel … the nominees are …
A gentleman showed up for a job interview dressed from head to toe as a clown.  A clown.  Fright wig, makeup, the whole scenario.  His reasoning?  He moonlighted as a clown at children’s parties and without having time to change he went straight from a party to his interview. 
A candidate stood up in the lobby to greet the HR recruiter and his pants fell down to his ankles.
A very attractive blonde woman showed up wearing a blouse with several buttons undone and a tight mini-skirt.
A male candidate wore an open shirt that revealed a hairy chest, wore a medallion and strong cologne.
A woman showed up in her housecoat and slippers.                                                                                         
A candidate wore a jogging suit to an interview for CEO.
And the Award goes to … the gentleman dressed as a clown.

Weirdest Hygienic Behaviour …  the nominees are …
A gentlman clipped his fingernails during an interview (at least he didn’t pull off his shoes and clip his toenails).
A gentleman smelled his armpits as he walked up the hall with the HR recruiter to the interview room.
A candidate admitted he wasn’t used to wearing dress shoes and proceeded to showing the HR recruiter the “bloody big blisters” on his feet.
A candidate wet himself.
A candidate vomited on the recruiter’s shoes.
A candidate removed his shoes and socks and applied medicated foot powder to his feet.   
And the Award goes to … the gentleman who applied foot powder to his feet.

Weirdest Comments … the nominees are …
A gentleman was asked why he was the best candidate for the position and he slammed his hand down onto the HR recruiter’s desk shrieking “because I get the job DONE!”
A candidate recited poetry.
A gentleman admitted he was terrible with numbers. He was applying for a job as an accountant. 
A candidate wanted to know how many young women worked at the organization.
Another candidate admitted s/he was not wanted in that state.
A candidate admitted he was fired from his last job for beating up the boss.
Another candidate challenged the recruiter with “I’ve never heard such a stupid question.”
A candidate discussed a conflict with a former work colleague and admitted the resolution was that they were both fired.
A candidate told the HR recruiter that she’d only had sex once in her life and the result was her 10-year-old son.
Another candidate asked the HR recruiter if she could pick him up for work in the event that it rained since he didn’t have a car.
Perhaps this was that candidate’s cousin but he asked the recruiter if she could drive him home after the interview.
A candidate asked the HR recruiter if he wasn’t hired could he take her out sometime.
A candidate asked the recruiter how much they paid her for doing the interviews.
When asked why s/he was leaving their current job the candidate revealed quite happily “I s–t my pants every time I enter the building.”
A candidate asked the HR recruiter if she could take a 10-minute break every 15 minutes as she worked.
A candidate told the recruiter that she often overslept and had trouble getting out of bed in the morning. 
A candidate admitted s/he went to jail for domestic violence but they wouldn’t get angry with the recruiter (unless they weren’t offered the job probably…I have a feeling the recruiter didn’t tell this person that to his/her face).
When asked when s/he could start the candidate stated they would have to ask their mom first.
A candidate asked the HR recruiter what the recruiter meant by “two weeks notice” since s/he had never quit a job…s/he’d always been fired.
A candidate admitted he didn’t have a fixed address since he lived in a gypsy camp at an airport.
The candidate wore her walkman during the interview telling the HR recruiter she could listen to both at the same time.
The candidate said her long term goal was to replace the interviewer.
A candidate offered the interviewer $5,000 for the job.
A candidate offered to have sex with the interviewer if she was hired. 
A candidate offered the HR interviewer cocaine.
And the Award goes to the candidate who admitted that he “s–t himself” whenever he entered his organization’s building.

Weirdest Overall Behaviour … the nominees are …
A candidate went into the corporation’s cafeteria after his interview and helped himself to a sandwich, then sat there and ate it.
A candidate asked the HR recruiter if he would meet for a drink afterward.  Since the recruiter was a man I wonder if the candidate was a woman? What the heck, if you don’t get the job maybe you’ll get a husband.
A candidate challenged the interviewer to an arm wrestling match.
The candidate fell and broke his arm.
The candidate ate a hamburger during the interview.
A balding candidate left the interview for a moment then returned wearing a toupee
A candidate fell asleep during the interview.
A candidate sang the national anthem.
A candidate tried to sell the HR recruiter a car.
A candidate did a Ben Stiller impression.
A candidate answered her cell phone then asked the HR recruiter to leave her own office because it was a private conversation.
A gentleman stared up at the ceiling the entire time he was interviewed.
A candidate did yoga during the interview.
A candidate stretched out on the floor to fill out an application.   
A candidate wouldn’t get out of the chair unless he was hired so the recruiter called the police.
A candidate tap danced around the HR recruiter’s office.
A candidate took out a copy of Penthouse and looked through it.
A male candidate’s brief case fell open and an assortment of ladies’ panties and perfumes fell out.
A candidate told the HR recruiter there was a bomb in  his brief case and if he wasn’t hired he would detonate it. He flipped the switch and ran.
And the Award goes to … the gentleman with the fake bomb in his briefcase.

Quickest Exit … the nominees are …
A candidate told the HR recruiter he had to hurry and leave since he had another interview to attend.|
A candidate fled the interview because his dog got loose in the parking lot.  
A candidate fled the interview when he heard there was a drug test.
And the Award goes to … the candidate who fled after learning about the drug test.

Weirdest Interview Bluff … there is only one nominee so this candidate wins by default.
A candidate answered his cell phone during the interview and had a prolonged conversation with an HR recruiter. He hung up and told the HR recruiter in front of him that he just received another offer with a higher salary and he wanted the recruiter to match it.  When the recruiter refused the candidate admitted there was no other offer and that he made it up to bump the salary higher.

Watch a youtube mockumentary of an interview with many of the blunders listed above.

May 14, 2010

Do Pretty Women get Hired More Often than Plain Women?

Filed under: businesswoman — lisalahey @ 10:05 am
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Alas the battle between Girlfriends continues and now it has spilled over into the workplace.  It’s long been touted that good-looking people get hired more easily and make more money than plain or unattractive people. Penelope Trunk wrote a rather controversial blog that has gotten mixed responses insisting that aging or not-so-attractive people of any age should consider plastic surgery to increase their odds on getting and keeping a well-paying job.  No joke. Not sure I buy into that one. 

There has actually been research about this type of thing.  Research.  Government grants about whether or not good-looking people get better-paying jobs more easily than plain people. People are dying of cancer all over the place and this is where our tax money is going.  But I digress…..

I can assure you that good-looking people do NOT always get the best of everything.  I have a beautiful friend, I’ll call her Jade who has the kind of looks that make men do a double-take when they see her.  And if you think she hasn’t had her fair share of disappointments in life then Girlfriend you’re in for a surprise. Consider:

  1. She’s been married and divorced since the man she wed carried on an affair with another woman who incidentally was less attractive than her for 9 years.  Yep. 9.
  2. She went through a lot of frog-kissing during her dating years to find her prince, the man she married, only to find out that he was actually a toad.
  3. She has been fired twice.
  4. She has been overlooked for a promotion once.
  5. She has been rejected by HR recruiters more times than you can count.

And she is beautiful! In spite of that, her life is no different in terms of advantages at work, with men, with family, with anything under the sun than anyone else’s. The one reassurance she does have is that pretty face whenever she looks in the mirror and the admiration she gets from complete strangers, even on a “bad hair” day. Sure that’s a comfort but she has zero advantages over any woman I know. In fact some of the plainest or most unusual-looking women I have ever met have great jobs and make wonderful money. They move up the corporate ladder and retain their jobs in even the toughest economy.  And the attractive women I know do NOT have jobs because they’re hot. They’ve earned them with honest-to-god college degrees and in some cases years of proving themselves before work got any better.

Think it’s any easier for a good-looking man to snag a great job and a great salary?  Think again.  I know a number of good-looking guys who have taken years to break into their field and even now are only making a moderate salary. They have a long way to go and are working super hard to get there.  Truly Girlfriend I believe this “good-looking advantage” thing is way over-rated.

There are however studies that insist it isn’t beauty it’s an education that gets people better-paying work and that gets them hired more easily. Personally I tend to buy into that mentality significantly more than the “good-looking advantage” theory.  For one thing seriously well-paying and executive positions usually require a post-secondary education. It doesn’t matter how hot you are, if you don’t have that background along with the work experience you aren’t working your way up that high on the corporate ladder.

For another in all the years I’ve been reading job boards, ads and interviewing with HR managers I have never once read or heard anyone say “must be good-looking“. Of course such a requirement is not only ludicrous but illegal, emphasizing even more that good-looking people probably don’t have a hiring edge over plainer folk.

Of course those who undergo cosmetic procedures will likely argue with the educational advantage since their perspective is so narcissistic in focus. And even though surgeons are seeing patients who express concerns about a competitive advantage in the workplace I doubt these patients are being honest. They’re probably embarrassed about their own vanity or maybe wishfully dreaming that a nip and tuck here and there will win them over their dream job.

But Girlfriend you and I know better about beauty in the workplace.  Let’s save the catfights for the bar scene, after work hours.

Dress Codes and Job Hunting

Filed under: The Stylish Businesswoman — lisalahey @ 7:33 am
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And now that I have your attention. Girlfriend, what’s wrong with this picture?  Well, a lot.  Not everything, but nearly everything from the waistline down (except I’ll give her the shoes). 

You’ve heard it said before that dress code and work is an integral aspect of how you are perceived as a professional. Yet time and again I read career newsletters or egads! visit an office where the women are dressed in a clearly inappropriate manner. Here’s a response to this issue on About.com:  Definitely I remember the ones who were too skimpily dressed. Microskirts and too much cleavage, etc., like many of the above replies. Very distracting. When in doubt, cover up and go more conservative, not less!  (http://jobsearch.about.com/u/ua/interviewattire/worstinterview.htm)

I heard about an HR manager who had to tell a young woman in the office that she was dressing way too sexy. The girl’s response was outrage!  “Everyone is jealous!” was her rather uninformed reply. As if! It’s not likely anyone else in the office had even mentioned her clothes except one of the higher-ups. In that case the woman’s dress code was not only about her it was also about the image she was portraying of the company.

Now here’s a story about the opposite problem with women and attire in the workplace. (I swear it’s true because if memory serves, I was there). I interviewed for a job position with a woman who had a pretty responsible position. To look at her however you would never say that was the case.  She had the messiest hair – a sort of lopsided bun-ponytail thing that threatened to all off her head if she sneezed too hard.  She had no makeup on.  Not a speck.  She wore a large, shapeless cowl neck sweater that was completely unflattering (it was July by the way but I guess she found the air conditioning a little brisk). And the black slacks she was wearing were saggy and not at all flattering to her figure. I estimated her salary to be pretty fine considering she was interviewing me for an EA position that started at $55,000.00. She held rank over that spot so she must easily have been in the $60 – $70000.00 salary range yet there she was dressed like little Orphan Annie on an especially bad day.  Yikes.

Now here’s the funny flip side to this story. I wore a black skirt suit with black pumps and a pale blue blouse. Sadly, my skirt was tight with a slit   (CLICK)   Yes I cringe to admit it but my stockings were (egad) fishnet. Did I get the job?  Hell no.  I looked like I’d taken more time with myself than her but I would have had a lot more success if I was interviewing for a secretarial position at a modelling agency perhaps.  (I’m sure you can think of other venues but please be kind). Hey I was young. I was new to this scene. In fact I went away from the job interview feeling I was a champion and that I’d bagged that position no problem. When Orphan Annie didn’t follow up I was staggered although not especially upset.  I took it on the chin.  After all she did hint about my dress code during our interview “next time I see I want to see you in the most conservative outfit you own“.  There was no next time. Still for all that I’m not sure who committed the worst dress code gaffe, me or her, not that it mattered. She was the one with the job and she was the one with the hiring power. 

Having learned a thing or two over the years let’s have a look at the after picture of how to get hired:

I don’t even need to ask if you notice the difference between Employee Wannabe # 1 and Employee Wannabe # 2.  That’s a great look for interviewing and for every day at work for that matter.  A pant suit in a dark colour with a sensible heel and conservative makeup is a smart move when you want to make a great dress code impression on a recruiter.  Will it get you a job?  Of course not silly!  But it certainly will make the recruiter’s initial assessment of you a good one and that’s a great start to any interview.

Mind you there’s always room for another perspective. Here’s a different way of thinking about dress code and Job Hunting. It’s your call Girlfriend!