Humorist: Applying for a Job

Story by Cris Cohen. Photo by  Hobvias Sudoneighm.

When applying for a job, it is best to be upfront about any limitations you may have. “Although I am willing to relocate, I am required to alert the authorities whenever I move.” However, if honesty will not help your chances, there are various other creative tactics that you can employ, most of which do not involve firearms or the sale of candid photos.

A friend of mine recently posted an opening for a Change Management position at a technology company. One gentleman who contacted her was not exactly qualified for the job, much in the same way that tropical fish are not exactly qualified for work at NASA. Still, we can learn a lot from the way he pitched himself for the position. And by “we” I mean job seekers, hiring managers, and any law enforcement personnel who might be serving him with an arrest warrant in the future.

Upon receiving the candidate’s resume, my friend wrote back with the following note.

“Thank you for your submission. After a brief review of your CV, it appears that a bulk of your experience is in the heavy manufacturing and oil & gas verticals. This project is heavily focused on high-tech software/hardware. Can you help me understand the key Change skills that you would utilize regardless of industry?”

The candidate responded to her with (and this is a direct quote), “Are you familiar with Theory of Constraints….. ? …….. It is ‘industry’ neutral…….”

Employers love it when you are coy with them. For one thing, they get really bored reading responses from people that clearly answer the questions they asked. Although they do not admit this publicly, most employers want the kind of vague, evasive emails that are usually only seen from people who are having an adverse reaction to their medications.

“What work have you done in the field of sales operations?”

“Sticky buns.”

Remember, you want to do all you can to stand out from the crowd, even if this labels you as a potential security problem.

“Can you tell us about a project you managed in the pharmaceutical sector?”

(Lengthy sentence in Klingon)

You will notice how this candidate also cleverly drives his point home with the use of random batches of ellipses. It is a technique that is usually only seen in correspondence from people who are institutionalized. It forces the employer to really consider not only your previous statement but also the possibility that you passed out midway through the sentence.

My friend wrote back, thanking the candidate for his answer. Where most people would have left it at that, this candidate showed the kind of persistence seen in leaders, leaders of angry mobs and domestic terror groups. He sent an email to my friend that said, “OK….. your welcome….. so what do we do next…? Do you know whqt I am talking about…?”

This email really packs a punch. In addition to having more random batches of ellipses, it also shows his enthusiasm in a challenging, you-might-want-to-consider-a-restraining-order kind of way. And yet, it also shows that he is open-minded via his use of the slightly incorrect version of “your” and his unique use of the letter “q” in the word “what”.

Before my friend had a chance to respond with how impressed she was by all of this, the candidate sent her another email. This one said, “I went to your website………. I doubt you even know what TOC is….. too bad for you and your client….. regards…. give me a call if you figure it out….. XXX XXX XXXX”

This brings up another important, yet little known issue. Nothing turns an employer off more than a candidate who is polite and shows respect. Many hiring managers see that as a sign of weakness and a balanced emotional state. If you want to differentiate yourself in this tough job market, you should follow this candidate’s example and fill your cover letters with the kind of condescending disgust normally only seen in rulings against serial murderers.

Yes, this candidate will obviously go far in this world. We can only hope that, wherever he goes, he takes the time to alert the authorities of his whereabouts.