don’t send poetry as your writing sample, and other suggestions for job applicants

This was originally published on December 30, 2010.

I’m hiring college students for several internships right now, which means that the candidates are a mix of really impressive/prepared and really … not. Lessons from just this past week:

1. Don’t send poetry as your writing sample. It doesn’t matter how good it is; it’s not relevant to the kind of writing I need to see. It’s just one step removed from sending me an audio file of you playing the piano as your writing sample.

2. When you answer the phone and sound surprised to hear from me, which prompts me to ask if you were expecting my call (which was pre-scheduled), don’t say, “I just forgot that it was Thursday.”

3. Don’t tell me when I call for our phone interview (again, pre-scheduled) that you haven’t looked at the job description since you applied and thus can’t remember much about the job.

4. Don’t respond to an email asking if you’re free for a phone interview at 2:00 Wednesday with an email saying “Yes, anytime Thursday is good for me.”

5. Don’t include in your cover letter a link to your blog about your chronic masturbation habit. (Okay, that one was old but I needed a fifth and it’s an all-time best.)

{ 126 comments… read them below }

  1. Bryan

    There are times that I feel really proud I was able to get a job last year then there are times where I hear about people who link to their blog about chronic masturbation and I feel like I was simply just not the worst candidate.

    I know somebody else they brought in to interview wore jeans and converse when the office dress code is shirt and tie everyday.

    1. Ruffingit

      Bryan,

      I have to thank you for making me laugh out loud with your post. Literally LOL. That was awesome and I know what you mean. Sometimes you just wonder how people ever get jobs or keep them given the ridiculously unprofessional behavior that goes on.

    2. Prickly Pear

      I work in retail, and we have a ‘business casual’ dress code (goes with the white coats better). Last year we were interviewing and this poor girl showed up in pants with words on the butt. I’m trying to think of the job that you could do with that attire and failing miserably.

      1. IronMaiden

        I often wonder how so many clueless people manage to function enough to survive. I am also of the opinion that 95%, and possibly more, of the population do not own a mirror.

        1. Ruffingit

          Or worse, they own a mirror and think what they’re wearing looks great and is acceptable business attire.

  2. Stryker

    Could you have been too harsh with #2? I remember how days blurred together in college. Somehow I knew I had Class A today and Class B tomorrow, but if you’d asked me what the date was or what day of the week it was, I’d have blinked blankly.

    (#5 is a riot, though.)

    1. Bryan

      Oh god me too about what day it was in college. However I don’t think it’s an excuse. It would worry me that if the intern had a project, “oh is that due today? I forgot it was Thursday.”

      1. Jessa

        The difference with college classes is that they are regularly scheduled things, not a special one time thing you should be paying extra attention to. Lots of people succeed in college being slightly flighty about dates. But this is a job interview with something you want to do. Having to remember ONE date and time is different.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      I stand by #2! The person was basically saying “I didn’t prepare for this phone interview or even have it on my radar screen at all.”

      1. Stryker

        Eh, I’m probably being too lenient. It certainly isn’t a very promising start. Would they have been able to make it up if they’d blown you away for the rest of the interview?

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Maybe. That’s pretty hard to recover from, because it’s a data point about their habits when you don’t have many data points to go on. If they’d been fantastic in the phone interview though, I would have moved them forward to the next step — but I would have been watching like a hawk for other problems … and if it came down to them and someone else great who hadn’t done something like that, that would easily be a tie-breaker.

          1. louise

            Re: Data points when the interviewer knows so little about you.

            I used the phrase “corner of crack and whore” in an interview this week. For context, I was quoting someone else, and fit the question, but seriously? What was I thinking?! And I’m *not* just out of school!

            I’m pretty sure I’m not getting an offer. How I wished for a time turner the split second after it was after my mouth…

            1. Ruffingit

              Oh man, yeah. I’ve been there too, I think we all have. That second after you realize what just came out of your mouth and how horribly inappropriate it was. Had that happen recently so I feel your pain.

            2. fposte

              Oh, quoting somebody leads me into such trouble! It feels so distant from me that I don’t filter in the way I would for my own words.

            3. RJ

              Yep. I once used the idiom “the most bang for your buck” in an interview with a non-native English speaker, and then convolutedly explained that yes, I understood that the people I’d be training wouldn’t be paying me directly.

    3. Elizabeth

      In this day and age, it’s so easy to set up your computer/phone/whatever to remind you that you have a phone interview in three hours… there shouldn’t be an excuse for missing an important appointment like that.

    4. V

      It’s not just that the candidate forgot the day, though — it’s that she admitted it to the interviewer. A candidate with good judgment who can think on her feet would have said “Oh, yes of course” or even better, wouldn’t have acted surprised in the first place.

    5. T

      Even if there’s a legitimate reason for forgetting what day it is (being sick or a weird work schedule?), the obvious problem is admitting it. The same with #3. I would think, though, that having a job interview is a big enough deal that you should be counting down to the scheduled time, not keeping it somewhere on your mental back burner.

      1. Anna

        Yeah, you can recover. A simple, “I’m so sorry, time got away from me” would have probably worked. Since Alison did call her out for sounding surprised, what could she have done? “I’m not surprised, I just sound this way. I have a speech impediment”?

    6. Penny

      If your attending classes and/or have a pt job you don’t work daily, you should be able to keep track of your days. You know, so you can keep track of when tests and papers are due and what days you are working what hours. You are legally an adult and particularly if you’re applying for jobs are expected to behave professionally.

    7. University admin

      I stand by #2 – also, the issue is not just that the candidate admitted forgetting what day it was. As Alison mentioned – it’s signaling “I didn’t have this interview on my radar.” It’s not like the person forgot what day it was momentarily, in the middle of a regular work-week. They should have been actively preparing for this interview, and therefore remembering what day it is.

      1. Gjest

        Yes, exactly. When I have an interview scheduled, I am counting down the days, and preparing more each day. Even though in my normal schedule I might get the days mixed up, this wouldn’t happen if I had an interview that week because it would be such an important event.

    8. Melissa

      I’m an adult and I sometimes forget what day of the week it is. I wouldn’t tell an interviewer that, though!

  3. Just a Reader

    #5–Mouth. Hanging. Open.

    Also, perversely, wondering how much one has to do to be considered “chronic.”

    *shudder*

    1. Poohbear McGriddles

      I wonder if the teacher arrested recently for “furiously masturbating” was chronic.

    2. Skippy Larou

      This is not even the masterbation blog that I expected. There is someone else out there on the internet blogging about how she starts every day at her corporate job by masterbating in a bathroom. She is proud to be “sticking it to the man” by getting off on time paid for by the company. I guess I can’t say that she actually links to this blog on job applications, and the blog is about other things as well, but a quick internet search by any employer, current or possible future should turn up this blog. So, there are at least two of these types of people out there. Not sure if she still has this job…

  4. Ann Furthermore

    I want so badly to click on that link in #5, but I’m going to make myself wait until I get home. Ha!

    1. L McD

      A little disappointing, but some of the comments were pretty funny. Including the requisite “I don’t get what the big deal is, it’s a normal body function, everyone does it.” Yeah, but I wouldn’t link to my blog about pooping* at the end of my cover letter, either.

      * I don’t actually have a blog about pooping. Yet.

      1. the gold digger

        And yet there are. I don’t remember how I stumbled across it, but I found one where there was a discussion about pooping at work with several commenters proud that they poop on the clock.

        1. IronMaiden

          I once had an SO who was proud to save it up and poop on the clock. I’m not sure what they did no the weekend though.

  5. James M

    Many college students are basically still children (mentally). I’ve observed such in every discipline and demographic, so I doubt anyone hiring students/grads will be able to avoid “winners” like in the OP.

    1. Anonymous

      Please don’t over-generalize like this about college students.

      Sure, some of them are basically children. Some of them have been on their own for years. Some of them are entirely self-sufficient. Some of them are heavily dependent on others.

      Guess what? That applies to darn near every demographic. I run into people of all ages who are oblivious to things I feel are basic life skills. You can absolutely hire college students and void people who commit the type of mistakes in AAM’s post – if you are paying enough to attract the best college candidates. If you are offering minimum wage, then you are more likely to get stuck with people who need a bit more guidance.

      1. James M

        In my case, “many” is based on my direct observation (I am a college student, by the way). An “over-generalization” would be to extrapolate those conclusions onto a group not sufficiently represented by the sample, e.g. “darn near every demographic”.

        I could have said that in classes I am taking and have recently taken, I have regularly observed behavior indicative of a juvenile mindset and that these students are quite varied in their majors and apparent ethnicities. I thought I could use fewer words than that.

        1. Anonymous

          My experience with college students has been quite the opposite from yours. Perhaps you should try hanging out with different groups of people at college, or take a different set of classes. Sounds like you’re just in a bad bunch.

        2. Tinker

          If I said that I’d seen how many different sorts of people behave based on having seen people of many different “majors” and “apparent ethnicities” in my undergraduate classes, I’d conclude that people who are kind of okay at math become electrical engineers, and people who are really not much into math at all become civil engineers.

          One might say that I was not actually looking at a complete span of human behavior, even though from my limited perspective at the time I wasn’t aware of this.

      2. Josh S

        I agree with you about the risks of over-generalization, but college students (or, more accurately, people in the 16-24 age range) are still developing the portions of their brains that have to do with impulse control, risk assessment, and recognizing consequences.

        Certainly there are those who develop those regions earlier than others, whether through genetics, maturity, or necessity, but it’s a reasonable assertion to generalize (but not overgeneralize) some things because of that.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.

          This. I think there is an important distinction between generalizing and over-generalizing. Understanding to what degree you can extrapolate your data to other realms and to what degree that makes for a faulty analysis is an important skill. :)

        2. Anna

          Exactly this. I was myself between the ages of 16 and 24, I have four sisters who I watched all go through the ages of 16 and 24 and I now work with approximately 120 young people between the ages of 16 and 24 and while most of them are making good choices, not all of them are and I would say it’s all about their age. So while they may show up at work or class on time and are ready to go, their love lives are a wreck. Or they know exactly where they stand in relationships, but they can’t figure out what a dress code is. It has everything to do with experience. They don’t have a lot of it and they’re still becoming fully developed human beings.

    2. fposte

      Eh, I think if you hire, period, you’ll hit some people at a disorganized moment and some people who are just flakes. But I actually hire mostly in this age group and they’re usually super-prepared because they’re so anxious and keen, and they’re more grownup than I am.

    3. the gold digger

      Really? My friends and I all got serious jobs after graduation (except for the ones who went on to CalTech, Texas, and Harvard for grad school). Indeed, graduates from my university were and are highly sought after.

      We supported ourselves without parental help. Some got married very soon, had children, and have reared those children to be independent, contributing adults.

      I didn’t see mental children where I went to college. I saw some goofy pranks, but I also saw responsible students who took school seriously and have gone on to lead successful, happy lives.

      1. Anna

        Yes, really. Congratulations on you and your friends all getting serious jobs. That doesn’t mean every single one of them was making mature decisions about everything that crossed their paths. It kind of goes with the territory. And if none of them are making bad decisions about drinking or relationships or what have you, then I would hazard you might have the weirdest friends on the planet.

  6. De Minimis

    I’m trying to think of a situation where #1 might work. Maybe one of those gimmicky places.

    With #2 I think students actually should have a better sense of day and time, their schedules are way more structured than those of us who work 40 hours a week. I forget the day at least a few times each week, the worst being when I go home on Wednesday and believe for a split second that tomorrow is Friday. That happens every week.

    1. Seal

      Perhaps it would be appropriate to send poetry as a writing sample if you’re applying to teach a class in poetry writing or applying to be an institution’s poet laureate. Or applying for a job writing greeting cards or fortunes for fortune cookies. Otherwise, no.

    2. The Other Katie

      Didn’t we just have somoeone commenting the other day that they had to quote poetry on some required test for a job? The person in #1 should apply for that job!

      1. Andrew

        It wasn’t me that posted that comment the other day, but I have been asked to quote poetry on a test for a job. I wonder if it was the same company.

        1. Artemesia

          This would have been a bummer for me because about the only poem I could actually quote would be Yeats
          “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity”

          True enough but probably not the right tone for a job application.

      2. fposte

        Somebody in today’s open thread had to submit haiku with her application.

        At this point it’s almost like a scavenger hunt. “Please attach a writing sample and the ways in which a raven is like a writing desk.”

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.

          I can actually *kinda* understand the haiku thing. Almost.

          In cases like that, I really appreciate that the organization is trying to say “we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we’re a fun place to work,” etc. And while that might not be the ideal way to do it, at least it doesn’t take a tremendous amount of time. Especially if they specify that you don’t have to have written the haiku yourself.

          Like, if there’s something like that that a company can use to show a bit of it’s internal culture, try to engage you with it, and do so in a way that’s not a massive waste of an applicant’s time, I think it would be a good thing. (Not saying this is any of those things, but that I can appreciate that being a goal).

      3. TychaBrahe

        I wonder how many people would be able to do that. 100 years ago you very well might have been asked to recite poetry in class, but it’s hardly common. I think I had to memorize one poem in all of my elementary and secondary education (The Beast in the Loch, by F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre). I can quote bits and pieces of it still, but hardly the whole thing.

      4. Laura

        I once came across a job application that asked me to write a poem about why I’d be the best fit for the job. I did not apply solely because of that. So there must be more than one job about that!

        The title of the job ad had the word superstar in it, so that should have been my first clue.

    3. EntirelyOutThere

      I feel the opposite. If you have a steady work schedule your day is more structured than a college student’s. The only thing set about my schedule is my classes, outside of that, there is part-time work, my organizations. Every single week my schedule fluctuates, there is nothing steady about my schedule and I have to constantly look up what I am supposed to be doing. I am involved in 3 organizations, a job, and taking 4 classes.

  7. Joolsey woolsey

    I’d like to add don’t tell your interviewer that you don’t really like working with women when you’re interviewing in an office where you’ve been introduced to the staff and 50% of them are female!

    1. Anon

      Yeah, that’s probably not a good fit then lol. It reminds me of that student at York U that didn’t want girls in his group project.

    2. Elizabeth West

      At Exjob, my old boss had someone come in for an interview once and she said he rolled his eyes when he saw her! And she said his demeanor and responses clearly indicated he didn’t think a woman boss was a good thing. :P

      This was a young guy too. Sheesh

      1. Joolsey woolsey

        It was actually a middle aged woman who said it, it was not the only thing she said that indicated that she wouldn’t be a good fit!

    3. Emma

      A friend of mine was interviewing to go to a certain Ivy League, and his interviewer lamented the admission of women into the university.

      1. Daisy

        My mum introduced me to a man of her age who is an alumnus of my college. Almost the first thing he said to me was that he’d voted against the college admitting women, because he was worried about the effect on the rugby team.

    4. the gold digger

      I am still puzzled by the question on the GRE that included the condition “Bob can’t work with women.” It was one of those questions where you have a set of conditions and then have to solve a problem within those parameters. I wasted way too much time wondering, “What is Bob’s deal and why on earth do I have to accommodate his silly prejudice?”

  8. JenTheNiceHRGirl

    I absolutely love this…and yesterday I received a rhyming cover letter from a candidate and that was a total first.

  9. Noelle

    Trying to schedule stuff through email is SO ANNOYING. At least half the time people don’t bother to read your email and then try to schedule stuff for the exact time you said you were busy.

    1. Ethyl

      I was just talking to a friend of mine about this today — for as much as people read my emails I may as well be typing in Klingon. I swear some people just skim for keywords and then respond to what they assume you are saying/asking.

      1. Noelle

        Exactly. Now when I schedule meetings, I usually highlight the times I am available. It feels a little rude, because I hate it when people highlight and underline stuff as though you won’t read their emails. But, people won’t read their emails!!!

        1. Ethyl

          Ugh right? I hate seeming rude or condescending, but it’s such a waste of time to have to go around and around because the person you really need an answer from insists on answering the question they want you to ask instead of the one you did ask! At one point with a particularly difficult case, I actually wound up saying (on email 4 to get the same question answered) “Jane, I feel like we aren’t communicating well around this. The question I have is xyz, can you please get back to me on that?” UGH.

          1. Jenna

            I used to have an off-site supervisor and tech person(boss, and also the person to fix computer database technical issues). I would email a couple questions to him, and get a partial answer to one of the questions. He did this all the time, unless I pared the email down to one question only. This was, eventually, my solution. I would ask him one thing per email.

            1. the gold digger

              How about the people who email or call to ask if you can meet on Tuesday at 2? I want to say, “Should I come upstairs and show you how to use Outlook Calendar?”

              Instead, I just say, “I keep my calendar current.”

              1. Melissa

                I did an internship at a place that used Outlook and it took me at least a month to realize that I could schedule meetings on through Outlook that way. I’m in academia and the way academics usually schedule them is the email dance, so that’s what I was used to. It’s way more efficient to do it the Outlook or Google calendar way, though.

      2. CC

        Or don’t even skim. I once sent an email to a supplier requesting a quote, with details on sizes, materials, etc. The rep phoned me and asked me a bunch of questions, all of which were answered in the email. I basically read my email to answer them. I think the rep read the word “quote”, scrolled down to the phone number in my signature, and that was it.

      3. V.V.

        E-mail skimming can be bad, I confess there are times when I am relying on my phone to notify me of e-mails while I am in transit don’t always get the attention I should be giving them or would give them if I were parked in front of a computer screen.

        However it is super-fun when you have someone do this in person. Several of my past bosses, you could ask a direct clear question and they would answer the question they heard, NOT the question you asked and then get mad at you for pressing them.

        Me: “Which catering service should I call to schedule Thursday’s luncheon?”

        Boss: “Yes the luncheon is on Thursday.”

        Me: “Who do we want to cater this luncheon?”

        Boss: “Yes you will need to contact a caterer, we don’t prepare for these events in house.”

        Me: “If caterer X is unavailable to use for the luncheon, should we use caterer Y?”

        Boss: “Why would we want to use caterer Y? We only use them if caterer X is unavailable. I am really busy and don’t have time for these questions, it is your job to handle these details.”

        In the end:

        Boss: “Using caterer X caused us to go over budget. I asked you to consult me before selecting a catering company for this event, and since you apparently can’t follow directions, I will need you to submit a written summary detailing every conceivable expense (no such thing as incidentals) a week prior to the next luncheon (that I won’t read, because I told you it’s your job and I don’t have time for this) for my approval before you do anything.”

        And on and on it goes… Good times!

    2. Audiophile

      Not sure if you’re talking about candidates, but I can say on more than one occasion that I’ve told an interviewer I’m only ‘available after 4’, they’ve read that as ‘available at 4’. In fact I’m struggling with this now, while trying to schedule time to view a demo.

      1. fposte

        I can help with that–you should be saying what time you’re available at. If I ask when you’re available, and you give me one time, I’m not going to assume that I should figure out a different time than the time you mention.

        1. Audiophile

          Ok. So you’re saying, I should say I’m available at 4:30, as an example? Instead of giving a vague time.

          1. Cat

            Yes. Otherwise why would you assume they know when after 4 you’re available? Most people say “available after 4” to meet “I have a commitment that is ending at 4pm.”

      2. Ask a Manager Post author

        Available after 4 sounds like “starting at 4” to me, so I can see why that’s happening. Name the time you’re truly going to start to be available. (Otherwise, how to interpret that? At 4:01? 4:30?)

      3. Artemesia

        I just left a message today that I was available for a call any time after 1 — they called at 1 — I was ready — because when you give a time, that is the time people expect you to be ready. If you won’t be ready till 4:15, then you need to say that.

      4. Vicki

        Does “after 4 mean 4:05? Or 4:30? Or 5pm?”

        I’m afraid I would also consider “after 4” to include 4 (because it obviously includes 4:01…)

  10. Ethyl

    I think I’ve done #3…. Not that I said flat-out that I had no idea who they were, but when I was applying for lots of jobs I took a call in the car (I wasn’t driving) on my way to visit family for a long birthday weekend because the area code was not one I was applying for work in but was one from where I was going and I thought it might be my sister calling from work.

    I was completely unprepared, could not for the life of me remember the company (and I was applying to lots of openings with similar names and all the companies were named things like XYZ Intl., The YZL Group, XXPCom, etc.), and just generally did not come across very well. Oh well, it didn’t seem like a good fit anyway.

      1. Ethyl

        Ok that is different, for sure! At least they didn’t rhyme at you when they picked up?

    1. MissD

      That’s why when you’re job hunting you should always let call go to voicemail first. I will only pick up if I know the call was pre-scheduled at a certain time.

      It’s hard because sometimes they do catch you like that, and you haven’t had a chance to look at the job description or even the company.

      1. Laura

        That’s what I do!

        The few times I don’t I end up doing an impromptu phone interview (like yesterday). And yet they expect me to remember where I saw the job and why I wanted to apply even though I applied a few weeks ago and also applied to dozens of other jobs, yet they couldn’t schedule a phone screen in advance.

    2. KC

      When I was fresh out of college and had a million applications out everywhere, I had a hard and fast rule:

      During my job search, if I don’t know the phone number, it goes directly to voicemail.

      That way, if it was a company calling about a job, I could listen to the message, mentally prepare myself, and call back ASAP. But I was never caught off-guard, which was key.

    3. Ethyl

      I usually ALWAYS let calls I don’t recognize go to voicemail, this was just such a distinctive area code that I would honestly never have assumed it would be someone other than a family member! (So like for instance I was driving from 315 to 716 and applying to jobs in 703. It was so weird!)

      (upstate represent!)

      1. Ethyl

        But overall I do feel I dodged a bullet as far as fit goes both based on the phone call and the company’s website and reputation.

    4. EAA

      This is likely to occur more and more. With the increase of cell phones and area code overlaps the number that appears could be from any where. Not everyone has a work cell phone and some companies could have two area codes fro the same location.

  11. AnonAthon

    Oh gracious, I am doing this exact thing right now and I can’t even get started on some writing samples … (Also: college students, I would suggest not having a 2+ page resume, especially when 50% of it covers high school.)

  12. MR

    #5 is one of those things that you can’t just talk about, and then not provide the juicy goods…we need the link!

  13. AAA

    Honest question here: What does a good writing sample look like?

    I don’t mean what does good writing look like–I can cover that part. But what *types* of writing are appropriate for use as a writing sample? I’m sure it depends on the job, but are we talking about papers? reports? letters or emails? Can you use something that you *mostly* wrote but others collaborated on? What if you only have “academic” work from college? What is the right length? I have so many questions.

    I write a ton, but my writing style is geared toward the purpose of the work, which is often varied, so I never know what style is most appropriate to show to a potential employer, especially if you only can give one sample.

    1. SD Cat

      I’m no expert, but if the job ad doesn’t specify the type or length of the sample, I usually include one that’s 2-4 pages. It really does depend on the type of work. I’ve mostly used excerpts from literature reviews and write-ups of statistical results (since those are examples of the types of writing I’d be doing in the jobs I’m applying to).

  14. Ruthan

    #5: I clicked over to the original post and proceeded to laugh until I cried. “I wasn’t really prepared for that.”

  15. KB

    If poetry is out as a sample (no surprise there) what about listing a book you’ve had published (oh, all right “I” have had published) and including a sample from that.

    1. Char

      I think it really depend on the job, I.e. is it relevant? If the book is about managing finance and you are applying for a wealth manager role, then yes. Generally, I think employer would be more concerned on your job experience or the huge things that you did (e.g. speaking in front of an international conference relevant to the field/industry). If you feel your publication has developed qualities that would help you accomplish the work in the position, explaining how in your cover letter would be better.

      1. KB

        Very true, although asking for writing samples isn’t standard practice in job advertisements in Australia. I was more being pre-emptive in case it should happen. Thanks, though!

      1. KB

        In some ways. Actually the changes were suggested and I had to act on them or provide compelling reasons why the original writing should stay. However, unless I’m applying for editing/writing roles, I imagine that sort of thing is probably better left for an interview. (And to be honest it was a completely hypothetical question anyway as no position for which I’ve applied has ever asked for writing samples. Still, I thought it would be nice to be prepared, so thank you for answering!)

  16. Graciosa

    A little bit of a twist on #3 – don’t tell me you know nothing about our company! A fellow manager just spent a full day on campus interviewing prospective interns – only ONE was able to answer the question “What do you know about our company?” with any information.

    These were all interviews scheduled well in advance, and there’s not exactly a dearth of information about firms in the Fortune 100.

  17. VictoriaHR

    #3 – I teach job searching classes and one of the things that I try to hammer into their heads is to always save the job description when they apply – either print it out and stick it in a folder/binder, save it as a Word doc, or clip it to a cloud storage site like Evernote (LOVE Evernote!)

    I hire a lot of college students and I have a lot of pet peeves =\

    1. Have a professional outgoing voicemail message. Yeah, that one of you going “Hello? Hello? Har I’m not in, leave a message yo!” is hilarious to your buddies, but it’s annoying as hell to prospective employers that you just made look like an ass in their stupid open-plan cubicle farm.

    2. Sometimes when I’m on the road, I’ll forward my desk phone to my cell phone so I can continue to do phone screens. If you miss my call, check your voicemail – I assure you that I’ve left a message. Don’t text me going “Who is this?” because I’m going to answer, “Jake from State Farm.”

    3. For the love of little green apples, if you sign up to attend training, SHOW UP. If you change your mind, call me and let me know! I’m not going to nag you like your mother. It’s business, it happens. Grow up, put on your big boy/girl underpants, and act like an adult. Same goes for if you decide to quit, don’t just stop showing up, because chances are you’ll reapply in 6 months and I’ll have to tell you that you’re not rehireable because of voluntary job abandonment.

    4. It’s really sad that I have to call people the day before training to remind them of the class. But I do.

  18. I.M. Bananas

    I have applied for positions online that do not give a company name or address. I’ve been job searching for several months now, and I send out resumes just about every day, and in many cases the job title, description and the city match the ten other resumes I sent out not that long ago. So sometimes, when companies call for an interview, I do not remember what the job ad had to say. Since they didn’t specify who they were in the ad, how am I to link it to the entity calling me or interviewing me. I’m sure I put my foot in my mouth when an interviewer stated that they posted the salary they were offering in their ad. True, they may have. And before I every interview, I go through my sent emails searching for the resume/job ad that I think pertains to this company. I just wish it was more standard for companies to specifically state their name and address and (bonus points) a link to their website, so that applicants can be better prepared. I just went on an interview recently where the interviewer gave me the address of the interview location, her cell number and last name Beside knowing that she was a doctor, because she introduced herself as such, that is all the information I had to go on. I had to play detective and do a phone number search. Then I was able to Google her and eventually found her business website. Ugh.

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