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Ridiculous resumes, inane interviews liven up the hiring process

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in Hiring,HR Management,Human Resources

Ran in HR Weekly -- oct. 16 issue, and posted on site that week

Recruiting and interviewing potential new hires can be time-consuming, but for many employers the process is far from boring. In fact, given some of the wacky things candidates include on their résumés and blurt out during interviews, hiring may be the funniest part of an HR pro’s job.

The online job-search site Careerbuilder.com and Accountemps, a temp-services firm, regularly collect examples of job-seeking silliness encountered by HR professionals and hiring managers.

What pretty blue paper!

Since résumés often signal the first chance to find out whether applicants are phenoms or flakes, we’ll lead with Careerbuilder.com’s list of the worst résumé blunders of 2007—so far. When putting their best foot forward on paper, various candidates recently:

  • Noted spending summers on the family yacht in Grand Cayman.
  • Attached a letter from mom.
  • Used pale-blue paper with teddy bears around the border.
  • Explained that a three-month employment gap was part of the grieving process for a recently expired cat.
  • Requested no Friday or weekend shifts because that was “drinking time.”
  • Included a photo of herself in a cheerleader’s uniform.
  • Attached a family medical history.
  • Wrote that her sister once won a strawberry-eating contest.
  • Claimed to work well while nude.
  • Explained that, while he had been arrested for stealing a pig, “it was a really small pig.”

His mom thinks you should hire him

Of course, a résumé can’t tell you everything you need to know before hiring someone. According to Accountemps, the real fun starts when the interviews begin. The company asked executives, “What is the wackiest or most unusual pitch you’ve heard from a job-seeker about why he or she should get the job?”  Here are some of their responses:

  • “An individual told me he was allergic to unemployment.”
  • “One candidate said that we should hire him because he would be a great addition to our softball team.”
  • “One candidate sang all her responses to interview questions.”
  • “One job-seeker said he should get the job because he had already applied three times and felt that it was now his turn.”
  • “One individual said we had nice benefits, which was good because he was going to need to take a lot of leave in the next year.”
  • “An applicant drafted a press release announcing that we had hired him.”
  • “A person said he had no relevant experience for the position he was interviewing for, but his friend did.”
  • “A gentleman delivered his entire cover letter verbally as a rap song.”
  • “An applicant once told me she wanted the position because she wanted to get away from dealing with people.”
  • “One person brought his mother to the job interview and let her do all of the talking.”

Seriously folks...

If all this nonsense has inspired you to get serious about the hiring process, you’ll want to read HR Specialist’s Memo to Managers “10 ways to smoke out exaggerations on resumes.” It’s a practical guide designed for HR pros like you to share with managers who need to make good hiring decisions. We even throw in a "résumé scorecard" to help rank applicants.

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