I sent chocolate to a hiring manager but haven’t heard back

A reader writes:

I have applied for a job I would love to have. In attempts to stand out to the hiring manager, I sent my resume in with two bars of chocolate, a dark chocolate and a milk chocolate. I had read a Forbes article on creative ways to get a job interview, and one of the suggestions was to send chocolate (another I was toying with was to send your resume in a bottle, like a “message in a bottle”). Plus, I know the person is a woman and there is only a small percentage of women whom would not appreciate a bar, or two, of chocolate after lunch.

The next Monday, I sent HR my resume and cover letter, not mentioning the chocolate. That was three weeks ago. The job posting expired a week ago. I have tried calling HR, but I have yet to get ahold of anyone. Is my only option to sit and wait?

Yeah, although I would actually assume you’re not getting called and move on. That’s my advice with every job application, but it’s especially true here.

Forbes, I’m sorry to say, steered you wrong. Or rather, their columnist did. They might as well have told you to send a suspicious looking powder with your application.

Gimmicks like these hurt, not help, your chances. After all, think about it from the hiring manager’s perspective: This kind of thing makes it look like you don’t think you can stand on your qualifications and merit, like you don’t understand normal professional boundaries, and like you think you can bribe your way into a job. And it comes across as … well, a little cheesy.

What’s more, let’s say that you find the rare company who responds to gimmicks (turning off all the rest in the process). Guess what happens when you screen for that sort of employer? It doesn’t stop at the job offer — you’ll be working for someone who can’t separate flash from merit, which really sucks when it comes to raises, promotions, and assignments. Do you really want to work somewhere where those things go to whoever is the flashiest or schmoozes the most with the boss, rather than to the people who have earned them?

Look, I get that you want to stand out amid a sea of other candidates. But the way you do that is by (a) being a highly qualified candidate, (b) writing a great cover letter and having a strong resume, and (c) being friendly, responsive, thoughtful, and enthusiastic. In other words, the path to standing out doesn’t run through the Hershey’s counter.

(Your experience, by the way, is why I get so pissed off about self-proclaimed “career experts” giving out crappy advice like this. They’re directly harming people’s careers and ability to make a living, and it’s BS.)

Also: In general, it’s a good idea not to assume things about people based on what sex they are.

{ 434 comments… read them below }

  1. Celeste*

    For one thing, gifts are inappropriate. For another, you can’t assume the person can even eat it. Food gifts are the trickiest when you don’t know the person.

      1. KarenT*

        I’ll never understand those who think they can get ahead with small gifts. Most hiring managers aren’t interested in bribes, and those that are probably want more than chocolate.
        I realize the OP probably intended the chocolate to make herself stand out and not as a bribe, but the same logic applies. A chocolate bar does not make you stand out, at least not in the way you are hoping.

        This actually reminds me of a colleague of mine. They did some work on our building so a lot of peoples offices had holes in the wall. Our facilities dept. went around and patched the holes, but sent an email saying that painting would take a while and that they were doing two offices per week (since this was dumped on them on top of their regular duties and our company was too cheap to hire painters). They put out a list of people, in the order the offices would be painted. One of my co-workers ran out at lunch and bought fancy muffins and pastries and gave them to the facilities guys to thank them for all they were doing. Nice, right? Everyone thought so until she followed up with an email asking them to bump her up on the list since she was feeding them. When they said they couldn’t, she got mad and said, “You have no trouble eating my goodies. I don’t see why you can’t eat with a paint brush in your hand.” I’m not accusing the OP of this kind of behaviour, but this is a good illustration of why you shouldn’t give out goodies in a business relationship–it always comes off like you expect something in return.

        1. Bea W*

          Wow. I once had a co-worker hand me a request stapled to a bag of dark chocolate, but it was meant to be funny (and it was). She was not seriously bribing me.

          There’s a fine art to bribary by pastry, and this not it.

          1. Vicki*

            At LastJob, a lot of us would do this sort of thing the other way around. Do a favor for someone, they’d respond “Thank you! How can I repay you?!” and the usual answer was “the team likes chocolate”.

            Note it’s “the team likes chocolate” not “I like chocolate”. Always share with the group.

      2. Anon*

        Sending gifts is definitely tricky especially since you never know if someone is allergic/doesn’t like something. I have a family member that is actually allergic to chocolate but people still give it to her. It has made caused some awkward situations.

        1. Stephanie*

          I am allergic to chocolate! Tiny amounts are ok (like if it’s a tablespoon in an entire pot of chili), but a chocolate bar will give me hives. I’ve had my fair share of awkward situations as well–at the start of an internship my manager gave me nice chocolates as a welcome gift. I just had to lie about how good they were (I took my roommate’s word for it).

          1. Rev*

            Chocolate…..in chili???

            *remembers it’s “Be Kind to New Ideas Week” *

            Oh, my, how…..interesting!


            1. Stephanie*

              Rev, it’s usually like a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder. I think it’s just there to give it a subtle sweetness aside from the tomatoes.

              1. Rev*


                Shhhhh! Don’t say that too loud!

                That’s the Secret Cajun/Creole Ingredient in wild game BBQ dry rub. Coffee’s an aromatic, like nutmeg and black pepper, and adds that je ne sais quoi to well-cooked wild game.

                1. VintageLydia USA*

                  One of my closest friends is Cajun and can confirm. Coffee is everything and she’s been consuming it since she was a toddler.

          2. Zillah*

            I’m also allergic to chocolate! When I was younger, even the smell of it could make me sick if someone was eating it very close to me – that made for several very awkward situations in middle/high school.

          3. KH*

            I wouldn’t lie about a food gift. Just say “Thanks for the gift, but actually I’m allergic to chocolate. I really appreciate the thought, though, and I’ll share with my significant other/family member.”
            …Saying how good the chocolate was might result in you receiving additional chocolate or people mistakenly believing you are a real chocolate lover.

        2. Ruffingit*

          I do not drink at all and neither does my husband. It’s just not our thing. We’ve had more than our fair share of awkward situations when people will just hand us drinks at parties and such. One guy handed us something and said “You have to try this, I just bought it, it’s delicious!” And we stood there awkwardly and said “Thanks, but we don’t drink.” It’s such a foreign concept to people that they just can’t fathom that someone might not be into alcohol. To his credit, he took the drink back and said “Oh, you don’t drink?” in a surprised voice and then said “OK.” And that was that. So much better than the people who probe you like aliens with “Why don’t you drink?”

          1. Felicia*

            I don’t drink either and get similar reactions. Most people do ask you, and look at you like you’re crazy and don’t know what you’re missing instead of maturely accepting your preference. Like they can’t fathom someone just chooses not to drink alcohol. I imagine people who choose not to eat chocolate get similar reactions. I also don’t drink coffee (I don’t like the taste), and people look at me and ask why in a tone that makes it sound like they think there’s somthing wrong with me

            1. Ruffingit*

              I don’t drink coffee either. Totally a tea drinker over here. And yeah, people get all weird on you about the non-coffee drinking thing too.

              1. Windchime*

                Try living in Seattle, where there is a Starbuck’s on every corner. I don’t drink coffee at all; I can’t stand the taste of it even in tiny little bits.

                I do confess to drinking lots of Starbuck’s tea, though,

              2. Felicia*

                I love tea! I have dozens of kinds of tea and one of the most fun things I’ve done this year was go to the tea festival. I wish people wouldn’t ask why and/or would accept “i don’t like it” as an answer

                1. Ruffingit*

                  Yes, exactly! I don’t know why people can’t just accept “I don’t like it” as an answer. They always follow up with “Well, why not, it’s so great?” UM…I have no control over what my taste buds deem acceptable. Sorry. It’s just such a weird thing for people to follow up with “why not?” because it’s not really a choice what you like and don’t like with food. It just is what it is.

                  My husband would do this sometimes and I took to teasing him about it. I said once that I don’t really like raisins and when he asked why, I said “Because they mugged me in the park once, little wrinkly bastards!” :)

            2. Gloria*

              I have colleagues who don’t drink alcohol or coffee or refrain from certain foods and I never ask. I think that’s indescribably rude.

  2. Jubilance*

    This is totally one for WTF Wednesdays.

    OP, I’m sorry you got suckered into a stupid gimmick. But now you know firsthand that these things don’t work. Don’t send flowers, or fruit baskets, or a framed photo of yourself. Just send a strong resume and cover letter, and then put it out of your mind. I know it can be rough when you’ve been looking for a long time and you really want to a find a job, but gimmicks aren’t the answer.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      This is probably the time to mention that I think I actually can’t make WTF Wednesday a thing, for a whole variety of reasons, but one is that I think we can’t avoid it making letter-writers feel bad when it’s brought up in regard to their letters :)

      1. Andrea*

        Maybe “WTF, Forbes?” could be a thing. I just clicked that link below and poked around and in seconds, I saw several examples of bad advice. I know you highlight that stuff fairly frequently, but I was actually shaking my head and saying, “WTF Forbes?!” while I was reading it. Ridiculous. I hate to think about how many people are steered wrong by that stuff.

        1. Bea W*

          Yet at the same time there are probably people out there who would strive to be featured on WTF Wednesday. The internet is a strange place.

  3. Just trollin'*

    “Plus, I know the person is a woman and there is only a small percentage of women whom would not appreciate a bar, or two, of chocolate after lunch.”

    Maybe she’s at home, barefoot, cooking supper for her children and can’t answer your calls. She’s probably busy doing, y’know, lady stuff.

    1. KerryOwl*

      Or maybe she’s in a bad mood because she’s on her period! Should have sent FIVE bars of chocolate lol.

      1. Jamie*

        Great. Now I want 5 bars of chocolate.

        Seriously though, why is Forbes putting this stuff out there. I personally love being gifted with chocolate. From my husband, my kids, my friends, co-workers…the guy at the store who gives it to me in exchange for money…

        No way would I eat anything that came from a stranger, nor would I respond to gimmicks in the hiring process.

        I hate Forbes for making me side against chocolate.

          1. Ruffingit*

            Seconding that. Seriously, no. I’m not a paranoid person by nature, but I would not eat something that was sent to me via mail by a random stranger. Not happening.

        1. Kelly O*

          I have to admit, I would also be hesitant to eat something that just showed up like that.

          I mean, you never know about people, and we’ve all heard the Ex-Lax frosting stories…

          (And I’m also disappointed in Forbes for putting that sort of thing out there. I almost expect it from Brazen Careerist, but not from Forbes. It’s a shame this sort of thing has seeped so far into the collective conscious.)

    2. Andrea*

      Yeah, that’s the part that stood out to me, too. Seems like the OP sure knows all about the womenfolk. Seriously, it’s more likely that he’s just inexperienced, so I do sympathize. I don’t want to be hard on him for this either, because it sounds like he’s trying to find a job and he did some research about what to do and came across one of the many articles out there with harmful advice. But now he’s found this blog, so maybe he’ll take the advice here and things will start to get better. Good luck to him.

      1. Elysian*

        I find it equally interesting that you assume the letter writer is male because of his/her assumptions about women. Women can be just as wedded to gender stereotypes as men can, and some will happily put themselves and other women in little stereotyped boxes.

        1. Andrea*

          Good point, of course. And I’m not really that surprised to hear that the OP is a woman, in any case, because I’ve known some very sexist women.

          1. kristinyc*

            The writer may have been more empathetic than sexist. I would never send chocolates to a potential employer, but I could see the mindset of, “I like chocolate. Lots of people like chocolate. I’d like to receive chocolate, so I’m going to send it so this person likes me.” (Not the best logic, but it could be as simple as a person treating others the way she would want to be treated.)

      2. Koko*

        I read the letter as being from a woman in my head. I’m always pretty curious who is writing the questions. So many other advice blogs I read, the LWs open with, “I’m a 23-year-old female,” or, if it’s a relationship advice blog, “I’m a 23-year-old straight female in a long-term relationship,” to set the tone.

      3. LJL*

        I was on a committee that got a similar kind of weird “bribe” from a candidate. This candidate was also female. it was just icky and creepy all around.

    3. Artemesia*

      Actually this comment was so over the top sexist that I suspected the OP was putting us on.

        1. Rayner*

          It’s a common trope, and I’m sure that many women do actually ascribe to it – me too, to be honest. I cannot resist a cold chocolate bar when I’m feeling tired.

          But it does play on the whole, “What woman could resist (my resume! and) a chocolate bar!” thing that many advertisers play on, which is sexist.

          1. Artemesia*

            well yeah – I can’t resist a chocolate bar, but I can sure resist a resume with a chocolate bar attached.

          2. Andrea*

            Well, sure, it IS sexist. But I think the OP just believed it because it’s commonly repeated and presented as factual, and he read something about standing out among job applicants and thought this chocolate thing would work with the hiring manager with a woman’s name. I feel a little bad for him and am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He was wrong, but he was trying, and he was following what he thought was good advice from what he thought was a reputable source.

            1. Rayner*

              Oh, yeah. I’m not saying the OP is ‘teh evils!’ for believing it. It’s just something that I picked up on.

          3. stellanor*

            I think MOST PEOPLE enjoy chocolate bars, though.

            I’d definitely remember an applicant who sent me chocolate, but it would be “Oh, this is that weirdo who sent me chocolate, what an odd person,” as opposed to anything in their favor.

          4. Simonthegrey*

            I don’t like the taste of plain chocolate except for 1-2 days a month. Otherwise, it is simply too sweet and cloying. I can do mint chocolate once in a long while. I just do not like candy.

            1. TL*

              I don’t like chocolate, at any time of the month. And I’m a woman.

              But most people like chocolate, so both men and women tend to stare at me strangely when I say that.

              1. Lanya*

                I am also a woman who does not like chocolate (at any time of the month). And I agree with TL – most people, both male and female, give me a funny look when I say I’m not interested.

              2. Stephanie*

                I developed an allergy to it in my late teens, but I was neutral about it anyway. Abstaining from it wasn’t a huge deal.

                Although when people find out, I usually hear “I would just eat it anyway and go to the doctor.”

                Because, yes, a Hershey’s bar is worth a copay/deductible and a cortisone shot in the butt.

                1. Zillah*

                  Another chocolate allergy here. I often get “Oh no! You poor thing! I feel so bad for you!”

                  I usually respond by saying, “Well, I never really liked it, and now I associate it with the taste of vomit, so… I’m really fine.” It’s kind of awkward, but it shuts people up.

                2. Ruffingit*

                  I’m allergic to shellfish and I get the same thing from people. “Oh, how tragic, it’s soooo delicious.” Really people? Tragic is living in Darfur. Tragic is being burned over 80% of your body. Tragic is not an allergy to shellfish. Just saying.

                3. Tinker*

                  Oddly enough, my aunt has kind of done that — she’s allergic to shellfish in that she breaks out in hives after eating it, so if a shrimp dip plate comes around she’ll ask me whether I’ve got my Benadryl and Epi-Pen and then dig in.

                  I don’t get it myself. I’m a big sushi person and liked a lot of shellfish things before I developed the allergy, but afterward it was “this is the stuff that causes me many disconcerting symptoms” and there’s been no sense of conflict about it since — I have to think twice to remember that other people consider that… toxic, unpleasant substance… to be food.

                4. Tinker*

                  Huh, and come to think of it, if someone sent me a resume with a shrimp stapled to it, I probably would be awfully put off by that because of that same reaction of “not food, bad, itchy thing, I don’t want it near me, eeww.” That, and by the time it got to me it’d probably be objectively disgusting.

                1. TL*

                  I…hate cheese too.
                  Passionately hate cheese. I won’t even walk into the cheese departments of fancy grocery stores.

              3. Katie the Fed*

                I’m agnostic on chocolate. It’s ok. Not my favorite. I’m a salty eater though. If OP had brought me some nachos or french fries she might’ve been onto something.

              4. Moosic*

                I’d look at you strangely, then say “Great! Can I have it?” or “Yesss! Mine all mine!”

                I have known several women who don’t like chocolate.

          5. CH*

            I am a big fan of chocolate, but since I have a job (and obviously this hiring manager does too) I can buy my own chocolate, thank you.

          6. Pennalynn Lott*

            Not that this is the main topic here, but I thought I’d raise my hand as one of the women who do not particularly care for chocolate. I’ll have the equivalent of 3-4 M&M’s a couple of times a year, but that’s it. I save my sweet tooth for things that are fruity and sour, like sour gummi worms or Shockers (or sour SweeTarts, or sour Jolly Rancher bites, or Shock Tarts, or Warheads. . .) :-D

              1. Pennalynn Lott*

                I remember hearing it on the show and thinking it was the greatest name ever. I knew I’d get a chance to use it one day. :-)

    4. SRMJ*

      maybe the OP is also a woman and speaking from her own experience. weird/tongue-in-cheek? way to phrase it, but who knows.

      -from a woman who doesn’t really like chocolate, incidentally

      1. SRMJ*

        not that that would make the generalizing okay. it just sounded like if the OP is a woman, she might’ve been poking fun at herself.

        1. Koko*

          Yep – I hear the “women love chocolate” trope MUCH more frequently from other women (several times a month) than I hear it from men (around Valentines’ Day and anniversaries). It’s usually a light-hearted way to make excuses for eating chocolate that they feel guilty or like they’re supposed to feel guilty about eating.

      2. RMc*

        I am also a woman who doesn’t like chocolate! Plus, I wouldn’t eat it anyway (ingrained in me to be suspicious due to the Halloween candy scares in the ’90s LOL).

        1. Julie*

          It would never occur to me to assume that women like chocolate more than men do. Don’t men like chocolate just as much?

          1. ThursdaysGeek*

            I don’t know — my husband eats it like it’s CANDY, instead of properly revering it and savoring it slowly like me.

            1. SRMJ*

              revering. now I’m envisioning a chocolate altar (dedicated to chocolate; possibly made of it as well) before which you bow and offer your chocolate sacrifice. excellent.

          2. Bea W*

            Every time i put the team chocolate bowl out, my male co-worker comes running over like a dog waiting to be fed.

      3. Liz in a Library*

        This is what I thought, too. I’m glad AAM mentioned that it was sexist, but I don’t think it was meant to be so. I think it’s helpful for us to try to assume the best when responding to an OP’s words sometimes…this OP lightly mentioned a common stereotype, and was corrected. The comment was misinformed, but I seriously doubt it was meant to offend like that.

        1. Mints*

          But “benign” sexism is still sexism. I really dislike the idea that if someone thinks they’re not being offensive, they get a free pass. “I didn’t mean to be offensive” doesn’t mean people aren’t allowed to be offended. I realize chocolate preference isn’t a big deal though, it just hit a trigger for me

          1. Liz in a Library*

            Yeah, and I agree with you. I think that saying this isn’t ok is needed when people are passing along stereotypes. But…

            I’m not arguing that she shouldn’t be corrected; rather, now that she has been corrected, let’s not keep kicking her, you know? (And I’m not saying that you are, just that that’s what happens here sometimes.)

            1. hildi*

              Yes, Liz, I hope your plea doesn’t get buried. I think it’s’ fine to point things out as a “hey did you know?” kind of way, but I think things have been getting a bit out of hand in that department around here lately. And I’m not saying Alison isn’t doing her job, just that I think there’s a real mob mentality at work and I’m noticing it more than ever. I think sometimes the larger points of the original question gets lost in the outrage over something relatively small in the context of the original question. On the other hand, it’s been quite a learning experience for me to realize just how many different perspectives are out there!

                1. hildi*

                  I agree it’s better and I don’t mean to imply you’re shirking. I think you strike a fine balance between getting involved when necessary, but backing out so that a free exchange of ideas can take place. I think my comment is more about me and how weary I am of all the outrage in our society. It takes so much energy to be offended all the time and I’m trying hard to get away from it. It also makes me think that if everything is an outrage, then nothing is an outrage. Meaning that over time the comments/events/situations that are truly deserving of an outraged response are diluted because we (society, individuals) have spent so much energy being outraged on the quibbles. So anyway, I am more sensitive to this stuff lately I think.

                2. Jamie*

                  @ hildi – as Jon Stewart said in a speech once: “If we amplify everything we hear nothing.”

                3. hildi*

                  Jamie – isn’t the the truth? Great way of putting it. And I think that applies in a lot of areas; I’m thinking of my 4 year old right now….pretty sure all she heard this weekend was a lot of amplified “knock it off!” so it’s no wonder she didn’t respond to any of it :)

        2. Just a Reader*

          Wimmin love chocolate!

          Just such a weird comment. And so not appropriate especially for the workplace.

      4. Chinook*

        You know what, I am a chocoholic and I find it insulting to assume I like chocolate because I am female. Only those who know me well know about my cravings for dark chocolate with sea salt and caramel or real cherry fillings. To have a stranger assume they know me based solely on my gender and then think they can use this information to manipulate me is just wrong.

      5. amaranth16*

        I am also a woman who doesn’t love chocolate. I like it, but I’m not enthusiastic about it, and I don’t really ever crave it. And it makes me sad that it’s constantly trumpeted as a thing “women love,” because then I feel like I have to lie to spare someone’s feelings if someone gives it to me.

        1. SRMJ*

          Same here. I have the palate of a confused five year old; dark chocolate is too bitter and gross, but most milk chocolate is too sweet for me. I’m a sucker for Milk Duds, though!

    5. fractal*

      I don’t think it was that sexist, y’all. At least she acknowledged that there is a small number of women “whom” don’t like chocolate. Those freaks! /sarcasm

      1. Rev*


        If believing that the whole “women love chocolate” thing is inherently sexist, somebody better tell the TV industry. Look at the commercials for chocolate/candy in general (Rolo, Dove, Godiva, etc). What do you see? Women going into paroxysms of bliss when eating a piece of chocolate.

        Here’s an interesting article: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/marketing-men-vs-women-1011.html

        There’s a reason why stereotypes are accepted, and a lot of it has to do with perception.


        1. fractal*

          That was certainly an interesting read. You should look up Sarah Haskins’ series called “Target Women” which offers a refreshing take on the topic.

        2. Observer*

          Well, the TV industry is hugely sexist – and in ways far worse than “women love chocolate”, so that doesn’t impress me much.

          There really are gender differences. The problem is not that they are acknowledged. The issue is when they are presented in a way that is somewhat denigrating or when they don’t really reflect reality.

          In this case, the issue is not just “women love chocolate” but that the “love” (or “appreciate”) it so much that it would really influence her to favor one candidate over another. That makes women sound shallow and poor at making decisions, as well.

  4. Artemesia*

    When I was hiring if I had been sent a bar of chocolate, I would have considered that a major strike against the candidate. The candidate, if really outstanding might have ended in the phone screen pool, but I would have gone ahead with a lingering doubt in the back of my mind about their judgment that might have tipped the balance against them if they were one of several apparently equally qualified people. I would be sort of looking for other signs against them.

    And although I do love chocolate, the notion in your OP that women love chocolate and therefore will be likely to consider you if you send them chocolate is just creepy misogynist or at least very insulting.

    1. ZSD*

      I really like the explanation in your first paragraph. OP, listen to this!
      And OP, please don’t feel bad about all the people criticizing you here. You made a mistake, but you can correct it with future applications. Live and learn!

    2. Chinook*

      Is it wrong, though, that I would eat the chocolate bar guilt free despite thinking this was a bone headed move?

      1. Turanga Leela*

        No, that’s exactly what I was thinking! I would be like, “Weird application. But free chocolate!”

    1. TheMinion*

      Unless it was Milka or Kinder lol. I don’t think I can resist those. Too bad they’re not as popular in the US. I can only find them at european grocery stores.

      1. Stef*

        Kinder is definitely hard to find, but Target stores seem to carry Milka reliably. I always have good luck there!

        1. Ethyl*

          Wegmans carries Kinder, yet another reason why they are the greatest grocery store in the world.

          1. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

            I got to shop in a Wegmans when I visited upstate New York several years ago. It lives in my memory as a paradise to which I may never return. :(

      2. Joline*

        I can’t resist them either. Tie right back into my childhood.

        Blows my mind that the US I don’t think is allowed to have Kinder Eier (Kinder…Surprise, maybe? I think they’re actually called here). Choking hazard. We have them up here in Canada but apparently it’s illegal to bring them over the border.

        1. Felicia*

          Once I actually brought a Kinder Surprise over the border without realizing (I’m from Canada). I didn’t know at the time that it was illegal, and it seems like such a silly thing to be illegal, so I really had no idea. Kinder Surprise was what I would get as a reward as a kid for doing something extra good. They’ve made the toys less easy to choke on thenn they were when I was a kid, because now they’re just one piece , instead of something you put together

          1. Joline*

            Someone was saying down the comments somewhere that apparently it’s because their rules say you can’t have non-edible items within food.

            So it really doesn’t have anything to do with the egg or its contents (since I think they have age warnings on them anyway like any small toy) and it specifically being of an inappropriate size – but just a general rule that hiding plastic in food is apparently a bad idea.

              1. Joline*

                I only learned about these the other day!

                I think someone below said you actually can’t buy them with the baby baked in anymore (maybe at small private bakeries that are less worried about rules?) because of the choking hazard. You’re now supposed to buy the cake and insert the weird little baby yourself.

              2. Kelly O*

                Yeah, most of the time the baby/crown isn’t baked in the cake anymore. It comes separate and you can hide it under the cake.

      3. Not my 'Nym*

        Kinder eggs are actually illegal to import into the US because of the toy capsules. It’s a major shame.

      4. Traveler*

        Kinder eggs aren’t allowed in the US which is so sad! Seconding the Target has Milka and Aldis carries a lot of the European chocolates too.

      1. KarenT*

        For me it’s because I was a kid in the 80’s/90’s, when there were all these horror stories about people putting razor blades in kids Halloween chocolate. I wasn’t allowed to eat chocolate until my dad inspected it (all parents were encouraged to inspect candy, making sure it was sealed and nothing had been tampered with). A chocolate bar from a stranger would go straight in the bin. And then I would be sad, because I love chocolate.

          1. KarenT*

            I’m not sure that it is. I was wondering the same thing, and snopes lists 13 actual cases in Ottawa and Toronto, which is where I’m from.

            1. Felicia*

              I think it’s mostly an urban legend. I have heard of the actual cases (though could you link that snopes article? I am from Toronto too, and so am interested, but couldn’t find it). It was even a whole lesson in the university course I took on urban legends. I think in the real cases it was that the razor blades/pins/etc were just put in the bag, not in the actual candy. And it happens maybe one every few years in a very specific location to only a few kids (and no one ever gets hurt). While the urban legend goes more like, “razor blades are in candy every year! everywhere! children die! It will probably happen to you!!” When it’s one of those things where you probably have a better chance of getting struck by lightening than finding razor blades in your candy, and the real cases are rare, and most reports are fabrications.

              1. H. Rawr*

                I think I remember reading that in the cases that did pop up, it was almost always directly given to specific children by adults who knew them. Horrifying, yes, but kind of the opposite of a “stranger danger” situation

              2. KarenT*

                It’s this one: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/mayhem/needles.asp
                It doesn’t give details about the cases, but confirms their existence. And I read it wrong, it was 13 in New Jersey and “several” in Toronto/Ottawa. Apparently 1982 was the year for poisonings.

                In either case, I agree it’s a fairly isolated problem and my point is that we shouldn’t eat chocolate because it might have razors in it, but rather I (and presumably others) have been raised to be suspicious of candy from strangers.

                1. Felicia*

                  Thanks! The urban legends course I took in university was my favourite course, and I remember being fascinated by how far back this particular one goes. (it goes nearly as far back as trick or treating does). I remember reading about a specific case in Toronto a few years ago, ad it ended up being someone the 2 kids affected know. I think in the rare actual cases, it’s disturbed and dangerous people who also grew up with the urban legend and thought it would be a good idea. Kind of like the urban legend where someone drugs you and steals your kidneys. I’m pretty sure it’s never actually happened, but some deranged person might hear the urban legend and take it as inspiration.

                2. Jamie*

                  I’m always in favor of being super suspicious of candy from strangers, except on Halloween.

                  Predators do use candy, puppies, other kid magnet things to strike up conversations and build trust. Halloween though, the kids are coming to them and it’s part of the deal.

                  Unsolicited candy out of the blue when my kids were small would have freaked me out.

                1. anon-2*

                  The wildest urban legend that floated around Massachusetts in the 1980s was that there was a blue panel truck with the word “Circus” painted on the side of it … and a man dressed as a clown was out to lure small boys into the van, and kidnap them.

                  Nearly every school had that — my father was a principal and “Ernesto told me that he heard of a truck” became “my son has a friend, Ernesto, who said he SAW the truck…” – panic ensued.

                  Every year – this van was “sighted” – although no one ever saw a license plate number on it.

                  And the rumor came around every October, which is when the circus comes to town here.

              1. Jamie*

                Definitely the scare is real, even if the threat was not. Had I eaten one piece of candy in the 70’s that hadn’t been checked at home by my mom or an elder sibling she’d have had a stroke.

                That’s why when my kids were small I’d take the mounds and almond joys and break them in half…just to make sure no blades. Then once they were safe it seemed rude to give them back broken candy…so I took one for the team and ate them myself.

                1. Who Are You?*

                  You’re right, it would be rude. We need to teach the kids manners, and follow through. I show my kids every year that once I start a candy bar, I must finish it! ;)

                2. Jamie*

                  It’s not skimming in the illegal sense. It’s actually a candy tax, to which parents are entitled. It’s not a flat tax – the amount owed varies depending on how long said parent had to walk behind holding coats taxpayers refused to wear over their costumes, the over all value of the sugar assets, and how much annoying small talk the parent had to make with the parents of other taxpayers.

                  The calculations are complicated, but the taxes are required by law to be paid. However, the law does not require the taxpayers be told about the payments they have made.

                  It’s in the constitution.

                3. Laura*

                  I actually watched a father get yelled at by his wife (quickly sorted out) because his daughter asked “can I have it now?” and he said “yes”. He’d been at the door with her and knew I’d handed her a glow stick, while her mother had waited down on the sidewalk.

                4. Payroll Lady*

                  Jamie, you made my day! My kids never believed in the candy tax, and would attempt to hide a good portion from me. They didn’t realize I could sniff out Reese’s from a mile away and ALL their candy would disappear. Funny how now they are older, neither one of them really eats any type of candy. The 75% tax must have worked!

                5. KarenT*

                  Oh my, Jaime. I think you’d get along with my dad. The year I did confront him for skimming my Halloween candy he replied, “everyone in this world has to pay their taxes.”

                6. Judy*

                  Jamie, that’s so funny, because we have a cookie tax at our house. When the kids get kids meals at restaurants that include cookies, they have to give me a cookie tax.

              2. Julie*

                I always heard that it was razor blades in apples. We were never allowed to eat Halloween apples anyway because they’re not wrapped and could have been tampered with (this was in the ’70s).

            2. Artemesia*

              The only documented case of a halloween poisoning in the US was a Texas father who poisoned his own child for the insurance money.

      2. Jessa*

        Aren’t Kinder banned in the US due to the toys and the potential problem with kids swallowing them (or am I thinking of a different confection?) The US is so freaking litigious over things that are really the customer’s fault (NOT the coffee lady btw, but people who are the reason that there’s a tag on an iron that says do not use whilst wearing the shirt.)

        1. CanadianWriter*

          Kinder makes a bunch of different chocolates. Their delicious eggs are banned but if you ever see a Bueno buy them all.

          1. stellanor*

            …and then send them to me, because I never see them in the US and they are MY FAVORITE.

        2. AndersonDarling*

          You can get the Kinder bars… I keep a stash in my desk, I think I will have one now. :)

        3. Del*

          Kinder eggs are banned because the FDA blanket bans embedding non-food items within food. It’s nothing specific to Kinder eggs.

          1. Aunt Vixen*

            But … all those King Cakes in New Orleans can’t all be illegal. (I am genuinely confused now.)

            1. The IT Manager*

              If you buy a King Cake now-a-days the baby is not baked inside.!

              It is on the outside and it is up to the purchaser to stuff the baby inside by poking a hole in the bottom of the cake. So much more obvious than baking the baby in the cake. :(

              1. The IT Manager*

                And yeah, I heard it was because of potential lawsuits and choking hazards.

                It’s been that way for a number of years now, but I remember as a child that the babies were baked in the cake.

                1. Aunt Vixen*


                  I remember as a twenty-five-year-old that the babies were baked in the cake. (This was longer ago than I’d like to admit, but well into the litigious modern age.)

                  On the other hand, I deliberately did not stir a dime – which I have to consider to be the nearest local equivalent of a sixpence – into my Christmas pudding this year. Not so much because of the choking hazard as because we didn’t want anyone to risk breaking a tooth. So I guess there’s that.

                2. Rev*

                  When co-workers start bringing King Cake to work, whoever gets the slice with the baby has to buy the next cake.

                  Shirkers are banned from eating ANY of the next cake.

          2. ThursdaysGeek*

            Good thing my mum never listened to the FDA. Our marble cakes always had a marble (and if it had layers, there were toothpicks holding them together). Of course, the stone in our stone soup was big enough that it wasn’t a choking hazard, since it was adult fist sized. We re-used the same soupstone for several years.

        4. Artemesia*

          Kinder eggs have a giant plastic egg with a toy inside but were still banned in the US in case a child ate the toy. I always get them for my grandchild when we travel in Europe. I think they sell a version in the US now with little paper toys.

          1. Chris*

            As said upthread, it has nothing to do with Kinder eggs in particular. You’re just not allowed to have non edible things inside of edible things. This falls under that by a technicality. No one actually thinks a child is going to swallow the egg like a pelican and eat the plastic.

    2. Joie de Vivre*

      Agreed. Maybe I just watch too much Law & Order, but there is no way I would eat anything sent to me by a stranger.

      I received cookies with a job application once and they went directly into the bin – along with the resume.

    3. MaggieMae Teapot*

      Um, I probably would.

      *shame face*

      But only if it was a high quality brand and I could tell that it was still sealed in its original packaging. “Chocolate bars” can be refolded and not all are necessarily sealed, so maybe I wouldn’t eat a BAR, but I would eat the %^&* out of some truffles. And then wear my annoyed face/voice when I phone screened them to see if they could charm me back from the dark side.

    4. annie*

      Yeah, I would never eat anything a stranger gave to me either. And actually, now, I don’t even participate much in potlucks amongst groups of kinda-friends-but-not-quite people (i.e. the church potluck) either because I’ve developed allergies, and you never know what someone’s kitchen is really like. Even if you swear you don’t use peanuts in your oatmeal cookies, I can’t be sure you weren’t making peanut butter cookies on the same pans, or using the same measuring cup earlier that day, etc, and I hate to give well-meaning people the third degree about their baking. :)

    5. tshirt*

      Meh, I would have eaten the chocolate. I’m nobody important and I don’t have any enemies, so I think the odds are in my favor. It’s probably less suspect that the bourbon chicken samples they give out of toothpicks at the mall, and I eat those too.

  5. Rayner*

    I think the only thing you could have done worse would have been to send the message in the bottle.

    That would have made the hiring manager throw your resume out the window, not just into the circular filing cabinet. At least chocolate is somewhat reasonable, if inappropriate. I mean, you expect chocolate. You don’t expect to have to get tweezers and feel like something out of a spy novel with a bottle.

    OP, I’m sorry that they steered you wrong, and so badly. But the only thing you can do is move on and don’t look back. You blew it, but at least you have a chance to fix your future attempts going forward.

      1. Rayner*

        I’m weird, but I would have done it just so I could make a note of candidate name etc, and then I’d have binned it SO fast. Nothing could be weirder or slightly creepier.

        1. Jamie*

          Oh it could be weirder. You could have gotten a framed picture of the candidate in your resume care package.

          1. Rayner*

            Imagine putting it all together – a resume (printed on thick, heavy printer paper with fancy fonts) in a bottle, chocolate, a basket of flowers, a shoe to show you have a ‘foot in the door’, a frame picture for reference, all sent first class delivery tracked delivery, so as soon as the candidate sees that the manager has recieved it, they can immediately phone and demand an interview because…

            wait for it…

            they clearly are the best candidate for the job.

            And if the manager disagrees during interview, then they can just take a dump in the plant pot and leave. Done deal.

            1. PJ*

              Rayner, you are spending too much time on AAM…

              (Who am I to talk — I got every single reference!)

          2. HM in Atlanta*

            I once got a CD with multiple headshots (in front of the laser background) as part of the resume package. I like to think of it as an early version of the Barney Stinson video resume, without the awesome.

      2. Artemesia*

        Do people really do this?

        I once sat on a committee screen for the CFO for a company. We were choosing the three finalists. I was amazed at some of the weird stuff we got. But the reaction to weird stuff was to discard that resume from consideration or if only slightly weird, to be leary of it. A resume in a bottle would literally not have been read. This was in the days of paper applications and resumes. WE had one cover letter written in a spiral in tiny print from the top edge around and into the center of the sheet of paper. Yeah right, I’m reading that. Might have been the best CFO in the world in there — but we’ll never know.

        1. Asteria*

          “We had one cover letter written in a spiral in tiny print from the top edge around and into the center of the sheet of paper. Yeah right, I’m reading that. Might have been the best CFO in the world in there — but we’ll never know.”


            1. Artemesia*

              It did indeed. It did get the applicant noticed ‘hey you’ll never believe this one’ is I believe the communication from the person who read it before me.

              A chocolate bar by the OP is nowhere near in this league. It is a bad idea, but does not mark you as truly wigged out.

      3. Elysian*

        I think I would have tried to break the bottle like I was christening a cruise ship, just for fun. I would call anyone in the office with some free time and had a ceremony. But I would have broken it over the trash can, so that’s where the resume would end up. ‘Cause I wouldn’t be digging through the broken glass to find it. But it might have made for a fun coffee break.

      4. Jamie*

        I would – in case it was a love letter. The mystery would require me to get it out (although I’d probably smash the bottle and not bother with tweezers.)

        And then I would be very disappointing to see a resume rather than a heartfelt expression of unrequited love from someone who had admired me from afar for years…but had heretofore kept that to himself knowing he could never be worthy…yet, could no longer keep the deepest longing of his heart contained.

        Then I’d spend the rest of my life wondering who he could be…

        Because really, could be anyone. There have to be dozens of guys out there secretly pining for me writing notes to put in bottles they will never send.

        1. Rayner*

          Maybe I just really crave the desire to feel like an archeologist or someone, teasing information out in respect of history and time immemorial.

          Sad fact, it’s true. It’s what I do when I bake, feeling like I’m blowing the dust off priceless artifacts when it’s actually flour off the wooden spoon.

          1. Jamie*

            When I bake I pretend it’s the 1800’s and I’m baking to feed my family and farm hands who will be ravenous when they come in from the fields.

            You just made me feel much more normal about that. :)

              1. Rayner*

                I will not lie, I have pretended I have my own cooking show while I attempted to construct a thing in the kitchen.

                It was tasty, if not particularly attractive looking.

                I’m just glad that I’ll not be out of company of imagining things ‘when I grow up’. lol.

                1. Jamie*

                  I play Beat Bobby Flay or Chopped in my head when cooking something complicated.

                  If we were kids I would so want to invite you guys over to play!

                2. Elizabeth*

                  You mean everyone doesn’t pretend that they’re demonstrating proper preparation when they’re cooking?

                  I will confess to having been in 4-H cooking for a lot of years, which included a requirement of doing demonstrations at club meetings. The year I knew that I could handle anything was when my dad did my poster for me that was supposed to include the recipe for the bar cookies I was demoing (done about 2 in the morning before the meeting at 6pm), and he forgot the flour. I had a dot-matrix printout of the recipe that I worked from instead, and that I handed around to the moms in the club, because they all wanted to copy it down because I made it sound so good as I did the demo.

      1. Rayner*

        But that’s standard recommendation across many varied career websites – sending chocolate or other foodstuffs wouldn’t immediately smack of sexism (the bit in the letter about what woman doesn’t like is what made the ‘sexist bells’ start ringing.) I wouldn’t LIKE it, and I wouldn’t be happy about getting it, but it wouldn’t send me running for the hills. I can’t think of ANY career website that I’ve seen that would recommend a RESUME in a BOTTLE.

      2. Sunflower*

        I don’t think its sexist at all. Chocolate is an incredibly popular gift item for men or women and I think it’s seen as somewhat of a universally liked and ‘safe’ gift. It wasn’t right to send anything in this context but I frequently receive gifted amenities with chocolate from hotels I stay in and I’d never tie it into me being a woman

      3. The IT Manager*

        For me chocolate by itself does not scream of sexism except with the LW’s dig. So from that perspective unless she said something about women liking chocolate when she sent it to the HM, I think she’s fine.

        But it could be because my father is the biggest choco-holic so in family chocolate was never a woman thing. Funnily enough I was annoyed by an ex that just wasn’t a fan of desserts and didn’t care to split them while dining out. It confused me for a while because the man is supposed to like stuff like until we had a conversation where he did not claim to like sweets.
        ^^ Bizarro family baggae

    1. Jean*

      Throwing the bottle out of a window might
      a) hurt somebody (if it lands on someone’s head)
      b) trigger a lawsuit (passerby suing You or Your Employer)
      c) trigger another lawsuit (You or Your Employer suing the Applicant Who Sent the Bottle)

      1. Rayner*

        My window overlooks an enclosed courtyard, where nobody can get in since the only door is swollen shut. Trust me, if they’re in there, they bloody well deserve to get smacked with a bottle because they’d have to climb up and over the roof, and down three storeys of sheer drop.

        Late eighteenth century Finnish architecture. S’a wonderful thing, right there.

      2. fractal*

        Haha! Don’t forget having to pay a fine for littering in certain jurisdictions.

        Seriously though, do people still mail hard copies of resumes these days?

        1. Nina*

          An interviewer once told us (it was a group interview) to bring in a copy of our resume to the receptionist directly, or to mail it and require a signature if we were really interested, because online resumes can be ignored if they don’t contain certain buzzwords.

  6. Elysian*

    I don’t think I would ever actually eat a food gift from a job candidate. There are real crazy people out there, and the last thing I need to be poisoned by someone who was previously rejected, or something.

    So yeah. This wouldn’t go over well with me.

    1. Anon Accountant*

      I’m reluctant to eat anything from a stranger even if it’s a wrapped chocolate bar. But I’m also odd about some things do take that with a grain of salt. :)

      But I’d thought the same thing- I’d have tossed it because of worries about someone who may have added something to it- ExLax or worse.

      1. Jessa*

        Me too. Food from a stranger just screams problems to me. I’d be very nervous of eating something I did not know the source of. For a value of know as in can identify them personally and know they’re not a creep.

      2. sam*

        you’re not that odd. Back when I worked at a law firm, there was an upstart financial printer that would periodically send me chocolate chip cookies in the mail with no note, and then follow up a few days later with a phone call asking if I got the cookies. It was all an attempt to get in my good graces so that I would recommend them to clients for prospectus printing.

        First, I let them know that there was no way under the sun that I was going to eat some random piece of food sent to me in a brown envelope (with no note!), and second that there was no way I was going to recommend someone with such poor judgment to any of my clients. (mind you, this was in NYC in the years immediately following 9/11 and the anthrax mailings).

        Plus, I hate chocolate.

        1. sam*

          I should also add that, they did this a few times, even though I had admonished them the first time. The second and third times it happened, I just pretended that I never got the cookies in the first place and said that they must have been confiscated as suspicious by the mailroom.

        2. Cassie*

          I hate it when people leave unmarked gifts (food) on my desk. Am I supposed to go around to my coworkers and ask them if they a) left the food on my desk or b) saw who did? And if I don’t know who left it, I’m not going to eat it – I’ll just leave it sitting there. Maybe offer it to a hungry coworker.

          At least leave a post-it note or something!

  7. fposte*

    OP, I’m guessing you’re at the start of your employed life, and a lot of us have a lot of sympathy for that phase; it can be hard to figure out what you should do, especially when there’s clickbait advising you to do foolish things like this.

    So read the archives here. Stick around and ask questions, even–we’re a nice crowd. But stay away from anything that could be a clickthrough starting “This one weird trick…”

    1. OriginalYup*

      Ditto on the stick-around-and-read-the-archives advice.

      OP — I’d estimate that most portion of websites & blogs out there offering ‘career advice’ post articles with the sole intent of promoting themselves. Most of the writers haven’t done any hiring, and don’t know much about what constitutes a good applicant or resume, so they’re basically just writing stories like fairy tales rather conveying knowledge to the public. One important thing to know about applying for jobs is that the essentials don’t change much (track record + marketable skills + strong resume + good interviewing technique + positive references), so anyone who claims to have a inside track ‘secret to getting hired’ is probably full of it.

      1. Lizzy*

        Absolutely! My favorite “bad advice parading around as innovative advice” article involved suggesting quite a few egregious gimmicks, including sending a $1 gift Starbucks card to a hiring manager to get them to meet you for coffee and calling their home numbers. WTF! It is like these writers know the backlash their articles will create, but do so to court the free publicity from their controversial articles.

    2. Amy B.*

      I just wanted to say that this is very kind advice. We have all fallen for some fairly crazy things along the way, whether in love or in life, and we just need some compassionate guidance.

  8. AdAgencyChick*

    An article in *Forbes*?! Forbes seems smarter than that.

    OP, if you’re reading this, please post a link. I am very curious to know whether this was simply misinterpreted advice of some other kind, or is there really someone writing for Forbes who is giving such terrible advice? Because if the latter is the case, I think some letters to the editor might be in order.

    And as much as I love chocolate, I would a) be very reluctant to eat any that was given to me by a stranger, and b) think exactly along the lines Alison mentioned above, that this person is trying to make up for a resume and cover letter that don’t stand out by sending food to stand out. Not exactly going to inspire me to want you on my team.

    1. The Real Ash*

      I would a) be very reluctant to eat any that was given to me by a stranger

      I didn’t even think about this aspect of it. It would definitely send off a “creep” vibe to some people, especially if they had ever been stalked or harassed before. Just completely bad all around.

        1. Just sayin'*

          Maybe these sorts of things are written by people who are trying to deliberately sabatoge others because they know how bad the job market is and they want the jobs for themselves (and for those they’ll advise more discreetly about the real way to get a job.) Just wondering…

          1. Joey*

            Eh, I take them as one small nugget of advice buried in an article that’s mostly for entertainment. I’m kind of surprised people take this stuff seriously. It’s just weird to me that people don’t find those things too weird to be effective. There just doesn’t seem to be any question for a lot of what people read.

            1. Andrea*

              Well, in this case, it seems clear to me that the OP is inexperienced, probably a new graduate.

              1. Joey*

                I’m not sure that’s a free pass. I tend to think that graduates should at least have a barometer for the outlandish stuff. Its sort of like having a barometer for people selling snake oil.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I believe it was in Forbes. I’ve seen really terrible job search advice in every major news outlet I can think of. There isn’t really much quality control that goes on as to the quality of the advice in these pieces; their editors assume that if the person writing is considered an “expert,” that’s sufficient. (And keep in mind that their editors aren’t typically experts in the topic themselves so not equipped to say “hey, this is horrible advice.”)

      They’re judged on click rates, for the most part.

      1. Jessa*

        Yes, I just read, I think it was Emily Post’s column where she advises that it’s wrong to talk salary at an interview. Seriously. I mentioned AAM in despatches.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          So what does she think you should do, wait until after you are hired?

          “Yes, I will by this car. Put it on my very large charge card. Then I get the bill we will talk about price. After I have driven the car for an entire billing cycle.”

      2. Jamie*

        All it takes is for one outlier hiring manager one time say publicly that it got their attention and worked. Just one, because that’s click bait in a way hundreds of thousands of managers advising to write a good cover letter tailored to each job can never be.

      3. AndersonDarling*

        Do they have any openings at Forbes? Maybe we should all use these tactics and apply. I’ll send my dirty old shoe to “get my foot in the door.”

        1. Andrea*

          Someone should use every one of these gimmicks to try to get hired at various positions at Forbes. And then that person should write an article about how none of that advice worked at the very place that published it (because I imagine that hiring managers at Forbes aren’t impressed by such stunts). A link to AAM should be included at the end.

      4. Sunflower*

        I know Forbes has a career writer who graduated high school the same year as me (I’m 25) and had her first job out of college at Forbes. I’m not saying she isn’t a good writer but my guess is she doesn’t have experience with hiring people or a whole lot of experience getting hired

      5. OriginalYup*

        There was a blogger I used to really like at BusinessWeek who I swear has totally lost their mind and is now chock full of the worst gimmicky jargony garbage you can imagine. It went from “here are ways to design a meaningful performance appraisal process” to, like, “fingerprint a picture of your workplace spirit animal and write it a poem.” So disheartening.

        1. Chinook*

          Wait – I’m suppose to have a “workplace spirit animal”? Do Hobbits count as an animal since I seem to be stuck in my hobbit hole all the time?

          1. AdAgencyChick*

            My workplace spirit animal is Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua. Because I sure would like to be that pampered.

      6. AVP*

        Plus, unfortunately, the advice that actually works (have a good track record, well-written cover letter and impressive resume) is just not sexy or gimmicky enough to make the news.

      1. Beebs*

        What strikes me about this Forbes list of “what worked” and “what didn’t work” is that they are completely random. Even if you buy into the premise that a stunt could help you, there’s no discernable pattern to help the applicant figure why one stunt worked and another didn’t. Message in a bottle “worked”; timer on the desk didn’t. “Invitation to hire me” worked; back flip didn’t. How is that supposed to be helpful?

        And even more basically, we don’t know, for example, that the message bottle person wouldn’t have gotten the job anyway–in fact, maybe she almost didn’t because of the stunt. We have no way to know. So stick to the well-done cover letter!

        1. TeaBQ*

          In addition to that, what stands out to me is that it’s based on folks self-reporting in a CareerBuilder survey. That has about as much validity as me saying that I got hired for my current job because I rode a unicorn into the office.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Put an “invitation to hire me” in a bottle, OF COURSE!

          It’s a test to see if you can read and follow instructions.

          1. Mallory*

            Also put some chocolate in the bottle. And a folded-up shoe so you can get your folded-up foot in the door.

    3. James M*

      I’m guessing that blogs with no fact checking, quality control, or relevant knowledge act as an echo chamber for whatever generates the most clicks. Eventually, X is pervasive enough that it becomes a de facto “fact”.

      There are some ongoing experiments on this phenomenon. One of my favorites is called The Onion.

  9. The Real Ash*

    I wish I could have taken pictures of the expressions my face made as I read the letter; it just kept getting worse. The last part though, about the woman and chocolate? That’s just pathetic. OP, I hope that you realize that you made a huge mistake with what you did, and also that you have some weird sexist views about women (whether or not you are a woman yourself doesn’t matter, sorry). You need to know that your accomplishments are what make you stand out from other job seekers, not idiotic gimmicks.

    (Plus what if they were allergic to chocolate, or milk, or soy, or nuts, or any other ingredient in the candy you sent? That would be rude and inconsiderate on top of everything else.)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Well, wait. The OP read an article in a reputable source and followed the advice. I don’t think she deserves harsh condemnation for that.

      And yeah, the comment about women and chocolate was silly. And also the sort of thing you can find repeated all over the place. Educate her as to the problem with it, but she doesn’t deserve to be slammed for it.

      1. Lizzie*

        But if the articles posted are the ones the OP is referring to, they did NOT recommend sending chocolate bars (and certainly never said anything about it being a gender-specific move). They simply said that someone put their resume ON a chocolate bar.

      2. Joey*

        Except she missed this part of the article:

        “If you’re planning to do something unconventional, first ask yourself, ‘Does this help to exemplify my skills and experience?’ If the answer is no, then don’t,”

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Replying to both Lizzie and Joey: but there are plenty more articles that do recommend this and don’t include disclaimers. Regardless, we don’t need to attack the OP for this.

        1. fractal*

          While I agree that nobody needs to be attacking anyone, I think it’s really sad that people are getting so desperate about their job hunt that they’re willing to throw common sense out the door. I mean, reputable sources give out dubious advice all the time, at which any reasonable person would only pause to roll their eyes before moving on. It takes a special kind of person to think that bribing is ever a good idea and then earnestly wonder why they didn’t get the desired outcome.
          OP – when it comes to the job hunt, you want to be as cautious as possible because this is often your only shot at making an impression. I wish you the best of luck.

          1. Zillah*

            It takes a special kind of person to think that bribing is ever a good idea and then earnestly wonder why they didn’t get the desired outcome.

            I agree that this was a poor choice, but I think you’re being overly harsh when you say that.

            For one thing, I don’t think that the OP connected this with bribery in her head – my impression from the letter that it was about making herself stand out so that the HM would at least look at her resume and cover letter. That frame of mind is very different from “I will give you this so you give me a job.”

            For another, while most people can separate out reasonable advice from unreasonable advice when they’re not desperate, but if you’ve been looking for a job for awhile/need one very badly, it’s not shocking that some people grasp at straws to find something to get them an interview.

            1. Jamie*

              Yes, I do not understand why the word bribery is even being tossed around here.

              If someone has a job they can buy themselves a couple of candy bars – besides, bribes are paid off after you come through. She didn’t send one now and promise the other upon hire.

              This in no way fits the definition of a bribe. Why, yes, I am familiar with Illinois politics. :)

              1. Not So NewReader*

                There are other angles to look at, too. The monetary value of the gift. The likelihood that the giver would receive anything of notable value in return or could expect such. And lastly- there are some arenas where even a $5 gift would be a huge no-no. Simply because it is not transparently clear that no exchange of favors is going on.

                1. Jamie*

                  Those policies crack me up. When our external auditor came for the first time we offered him a company coffee cup and a pen.

                  He declined because of the no gift policy – and I just remember thinking if I were going to bribe someone I’d shoot a little higher than that. This is Chicago, after all.

            2. fractal*

              I’m sorry, I fail to see how that wouldn’t be considered bribery. The OP was hoping to gain an advantage over other candidates not solely on the merit of her qualifications, but by offering a gift. That is the very definition of a bribe.
              As for your second point, please go back and reread my comment. I acknowledged the desperation of certain job seekers in the very first sentence. I didn’t say it was shocking either.

              1. Zillah*

                I saw that you acknowledged the desperation of job searchers, but you still went on to say that it takes “a special kind of person” to do what the OP did. That’s pretty harsh.

                I can understand where you’re coming with calling this bribery, but the OP doesn’t seem to have seen it like that, and the “bribe” is so minor that I have a hard time seeing it as such. It’s inappropriate, sure, but the monetary value involved makes “bribe” seem like a stretch to me.

    2. fposte*

      I don’t think it’s a huge mistake, though. It’s a mistake, and it hurt her candidacy, but it’s not going to bury her for life or even carry forward; even in the same company, it’ll be forgotten in a few months, because it’s not that bizarre, it’s just inappropriate.

      And I don’t think it’s rude to send chocolate to somebody who doesn’t eat it; it’s just a mistake too.

      1. Jamie*

        Absolutely – it’s not a huge deal. We’ve all sent resumes places and not gotten call backs, this isn’t something that will follow her.

        And if she’s new to the workforce the hiring manager probably chalked it up to a lot of bad advice being passed around out there.

        Definitely nothing to feel bad about, OP, we’ve all done things we’d do differently if we could go back. Now you know for next time.

        1. Sunflower*

          Exactly- in fact I think a lot of hiring managers are aware that these articles exist and are kind of prepared for this stuff sometimes

      2. Turanga Leela*

        Right. We’ve all made mistakes, and sending chocolate is as minor as mistakes get (and will probably be funny later). Shrug it off and just send your resume and cover letter next time.

    3. Celeste*

      Also, diabetes is everywhere. Not just Type 2, but Type 1 since a person’s childhood. This is another reason why food gifts in particular are tricky.

      1. Jamie*

        I don’t think they are tricky – candy, bottle of wine, flowers, basket of muffins – these are all traditional token gifts for hostesses, thank yous, what have you. Vendors send them, people you don’t know well send them, it’s a token not meant to be a personal gift.

        If you don’t like them or are allergic appreciate the thought and pass them along to someone else, or toss them.

        It’s rude to send wine to someone you know doesn’t drink, or chocolate to someone you know can’t eat it, etc. – but no one should be expected to do research on the personal preferences and allergies of everyone to whom they send a token.

        1. Celeste*

          I guess I feel like the purpose of giving is to please the person. I don’t want to obligate people to thank me for something they don’t want. I think you need to know somebody so you aren’t just taking a shot in the dark.

          Vendors passing out swag are a different story. It’s a sales tool, not a gift.

      2. anonymous*

        I’m not usually anonymous but am for this. Not to jump on what you said, but I’ve had Type 2 for a few years now and what I’ve learned it’s no one’s business but mine what I eat. I’m completely conscience of every item I eat, just like someone with allergies. So please don’t try to comment on what people eat, should or shouldn’t eat. I’m very open about my diabetes because it has made me a healthier person but just because someone knows about it doesn’t mean they get to police me, even people who have problems with dairy or gluten still make the decision to consume it because they’ve taken in the factors and weighed the risks, just like a diabetic, and for all you know this one bad thing like chocolate is what I’ve decided to indulge in today, that maybe I’ve decided to do extra time at the gym or been good the rest of the time. I’m just saying, it’s really not anyone’s business unless they’ve explicitly asked for help. … plus real dark chocolate is actuallypretty healthy, and if you’d llike a great perspective of someone with diabetes this is an article I read when I need a reminder how brutal it is to live with and it’s okay to breakdown about it, and this is not my article fyi http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-13061/5-ways-diabetes-wreaks-havoc-on-your-entire-life.html

        1. Judy*

          My grandma was type 2. At 80, she asked her doctor if she could have chocolate, hadn’t had any for 5 years or so at that point. His response was limit it, but if it makes you happy, then go for it. So the next 6 years until she died, her only “cheat” was a mini Reeses Cup every day.

        2. Celeste*

          I know you weren’t jumping on me. But I wasn’t policing anybody. I was just saying it doesn’t seem like candy is a universally thoughtful gift.

          1. Jamie*

            For these tokens which are not intended to be personal, food is by far the easiest gift to pawn off on someone.

            You can’t leave wine or flowers in the break room for everyone else, but open a box of candy or basket of muffins and in most places they will vanish fairly quickly.

        3. Marcy*

          Thank you for the link! My hubby will appreciate it. He is T2 and doesn’t tell many people because they do try to either police what he eats or try to get him to “live a little” and eat that piece of birthday cake at work. The other issue is that so many people are surprised he isn’t overweight- it seems there are people out there who believe that if you are T2 then you did it to yourself by eating too much sugar, drinking too much soda or by being obese.

          1. Zillah*

            I find the number of people who get a vicarious thrill out of watching someone “live a little” by eating something that could seriously harm them to be truly frightening.

          2. Tinker*

            T2 runs strongly on one side of my family. Amusingly enough I have fat relatives and I have skinny relatives… and I have relatives with cholesterol problems and diabetes, and I have relatives completely free of those problems. Which problems go with which people… well, that doesn’t exactly fit with common assumptions.

            The genetic factor for type 2 is huge, and I… am not huge. Therefore, I fear mightily. I’m hoping that I take after the fat relatives, metabolism-wise, and that the difference is a cultural one (Texas vs. Colorado, so… yeah).

      3. TL*

        Yup. I have a bunch of food allergies and when someone gives me something I can’t eat or brings something for everyone that I can’t partake in, I just shrug, pass the gift along to someone who will enjoy it, and move on with life. It definitely does not have a negative impact on my life.

  10. NEP*

    Yikes. As I read the original note I thought it was a hoax. Hard to believe this is for real, and that anyone would give such advice.

    1. Anon Accountant*

      There’s a lot of very poor advice out there. When I was unemployed, I read an article about ways candiates have tried to stand out. 1 way included sending the hiring manager a shoe with your resume in it. To “get a foot in the door”.

      Yeah. I’m NOT joking either on that.

      1. Anon Accountant*

        Ahhh! It was listed in the article of “what didn’t work for candidates”.

        Yeah, I can see that not working very well- sending your resume in a shoe to get your foot in the door. The sending a fruit basket to the interviewer’s home has me confused. That’d really have me creeped out!

      2. KimmieSue*

        Years ago, when working in corporate staffing, I received a package with a converse tennis shoe from a very large global temporary staffing service. Not said something akin to “getting their foot in the door”. I couldn’t believe it and never took the company seriously.
        It would be much worse had it been a candidate with a resume inside.

        1. Pennalynn Lott*

          My mom, who was a senior exec, once received a fruit-and-cookie basket from a potential vendor that was decorated with plastic alligators and sphagnum moss. . . because my mom had told her she couldn’t schedule a meeting anytime soon because she was swamped. Vendor took it a bit too far and created a swamp basket for her, thus ensuring that she would *never* get a meeting with my mom. (Mom was in the very conservative world of commercial real estate and banking, and thought it was incredibly unprofessional).

        2. HumbleOnion*

          Even if this wasn’t a bone head idea, what are you supposed to do with a single shoe? If you had a pair, you could donate them, but a single shoe is worthless.

  11. Katie the Fed*

    “Plus, I know the person is a woman and there is only a small percentage of women whom would not appreciate a bar, or two, of chocolate after lunch.”

    I’m sorry, I’m too stunned after reading that to type anything else coherent right now.

    1. The IT Manager*

      Yes. I actually had some sympathy for the LW discoverying AAM and the blog blog archives three weeks too late, but that sympathy disappeared with the sexist crack at the end. Ironically LW could have left of the research discovering that the HM was a woman and just said, “Plus, what person would not appreciate a bar, or two, of chocolate after lunch.”

      So LW take this as two lessons learned:
      1) Don’t send extras to make your resume stand-out
      2) Many people don’t appreciate sexist generalizations even if the you are making it about your own gender in a joking manner. Maybe you meant it as a joking aside (to a fellow female), but that “joke” is lost in the writing.

    1. Randomosity*

      I note that the chocolate example given there was not actually merely “send chocolate with resume” but “send resume ON a chocolate bar”, which is at least somewhat more creative if still gimmicky and inappropriate.

      1. The IT Manager*

        Sending a resume on a chocolate bar might be a great idea for someone interviewing for our chocolate teapot company. Not so much for an average office job.

        Just sending chocolate bars along with a resume seems a tad too much like a tiny bribe. I mean if it really worked everyone would send a resume (who sends paper resumes any more) along with some chocolate bars.

      2. Not my 'Nym*

        Honestly, the correct answer is to go to the hiring manager’s place of work, find their car, and decorate it with chocolate and oreos and stuff. Just put your contact info on the windshield in shaving cream. That’ll make you stand out.

    2. Andrea*

      I don’t see much difference between the stunts that supposedly worked and the ones that did not. They’re all terrible ideas. And seriously, Forbes?!

      1. fposte*

        And I’m not sure what “worked” means and how sure we are that it really happened–the shoe thing is *old*, for instance, so I think we’re trucking in legends to some extent.

      2. Artemesia*

        Exactly. WE all know that all the candidates really had to do of course was walk right up and ask for a job like their grandfathers did.

    3. Felicia*

      Well at least the OP didn’t climb on a roof , or sending a message in a bottle, or perform a musical number in an interview (unrelated to music performance). I have a hard time believing the things in this article “worked”. The things that “worked” and “didn’t work” in this article are equally ridiculous.

      My first thought when reading this letter was the OP must have never read AAM before.

    4. ZSD*

      Huh. I went down the list of successful ones and thought, “Terrible, terrible, terrible – oh, you can do the interview in Spanish? Cool – terrible, terrible.”
      What do people think about offering to do the interview in another language if it’s relevant to the job? Now, I don’t think you should ever specifically *ask* to do it in another language, but what about saying, “By the way, if you prefer, I’d be fine with doing the interview in German”?
      (On the other hand, my brother once went to an interview that *turned out* to be in Japanese, and they hadn’t warned him about that in advance. He hadn’t brushed up on his Japanese, and…I don’t think it went well.)

      1. Elysian*

        I think that if language proficiency is a job requirement, they’ll have some way to test for it and you won’t have to volunteer a way. I don’t know that it will hurt, necessarily, but I also don’t think it will help. If you’re interviewing for a medical position, for example, knowing conversational Spanish is not the same as being able to translate medical jargon to a Spanish speaker. So doing the interview in Spanish wouldn’t even prove you have the skills they need.

        I think it could work in some circumstances, but in the circumstances where it would make sense, you really won’t have to volunteer to do it.

        1. De Minimis*

          Heard of many cases where the candidate is asked a question in Spanish during the interview.

          1. Elysian*

            Sure! That makes sense if it’s required for the job and if a few questions will help the company figure out if the candidate knows the requisite amount of Spanish. But the candidate doesn’t have to ask for that. The company will just do that if it will help them test the candidate’s proficiency. It won’t make the candidate any more attractive if she volunteers to do the whole interview in Spanish.

          2. Mallory*

            That would throw me off even if I knew Spanish. I had a waiter at a local steakhouse start speaking in French not to long ago. I understand French when I’m expecting it, but it took awhile for it to sink in. My first reaction was, “Wha?? Did I wander into a French restaurant by mistake? Where am I?”

      2. Cruciatus*

        This wasn’t a library archives position was it? A coworker was JUST telling me about his friend who had a surprise interview in Japanese for such a position and it didn’t go too well either…)

        1. ZSD*

          No, it was years ago, for a finance position. Imagine trying to come up with specialized financial jargon in Japanese on the spot.

          1. cvmurrieta*

            Yeah, this was poor communication from the company that interviewed your brother. If the company had given him a heads-up, he could have at least read the home page of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun business newspaper. I think your brother would have prepared himself for a Japanese interview had he been forewarned.

      3. Del*

        If the language proficiency is needed for the job, the company will most likely interview you in that language — unless they don’t have the capability (ie no one in an appropriate position speaks the language) at which point the question of offering to interview in it is kind of moot.

      4. cvmurrieta*

        I had an interview in Japanese that a Japanese company had not warned me about beforehand. It was a phone interview no less! Even though I did not get the job with this particular company, this experience did motivate me to translate my relevant work experience into Japanese (I have applied for several procurement positions) to be prepared in future interviews. The preparation seems to have paid off as I will be start working at another Japanese company in mid-May. Fortunately, the two interviews I had with this company had been in-person, allowing me to observe body language and lip-read.

        Even though I have few problems with conversational Japanese, I find that technical Japanese is a whole different story;)

    5. Sunflower*

      Also notice what the HR person concluded with “Make yourself memorable for the right reasons,” Haefner concludes. “Focus on specific ways you have contributed to other organizations, so the employer sees what you can do for them.” AKA YES THAT IS WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

      I think people resort to this stuff because they feel they ARE putting the best info out there and it’s not getting noticed. If this was the article that OP read, it looks like she only saw the ‘sexy’ stuff and maybe skipped over the same tired info.

      It’s important in an age where so much info is available to really look at the info and determine ‘is this coming from a reliable source?’ ‘Should I seek out more info before I decide if it’s valuable’.

    6. Paige Turner*

      “6. Candidate climbed on a roof the employer was repairing and asked for a job.”

      This is on the “it worked” list?!?!

        1. Paige Turner*

          They probably were, but I don’t think I’d want to work for an employer who would let a non-employee onto a worksite that is A ROOF (what other safety/liability concerns would come up?)

          1. Pennalynn Lott*

            Yeah, even if this was a residential job, I’d think the roofer would prefer the candidate to hail him from the ground and wait for him to climb down. When I had my roof repaired, one of the workers busted a slat and fell through my bathroom ceiling. The roofer’s insurance covered his trip to the ER. I wonder if it would cover a random stranger who climbed up there to ask for a job, or would it be on *my* insurance?? Definitely not the smartest way to ask for a roofing job.

    7. Mephyle*

      By sending the “resume on chocolate” do you think it means as the wrapper, or printed on the chocolate? My first thought was molded out of chocolate, but that would make it hard to read. Maybe printed on chocolate in a white font.
      Some of the others are not quite as crazy or random as they seemed on first reading.
      For the roof climber, note that the employer was repairing the roof at the time. I can see how that could work if the employer was (as seems plausible) a roofer with his own small business.
      #8 and #9, where the candidate did something useful (well, in #8 it’s not clear whether they actually followed through with the offer to help) are not altogether different from some advice that’s been given here (I tried to find a specific post I was thinking of, but couldn’t locate it – someone was asking if they could send something they had drawn up that could help the employer’s process, after an interview).

  12. NEP*

    Absolutely, positively — giving any kind of gift or using any kind of gimmick screams out: ‘I don’t think my skills and background stand up so I’ve got to add this little twist.’ Nothing positive about it. Everything negative, in fact.

    1. LBK*

      I don’t think that article is bad actually, other than the overly long example. Thank you notes are still important but that’s way too much info. A short 2-3 sentences would get a better response out of me, at least.

  13. Anoners*

    I think the hugest problem with sending food is you don’t know if it’s safe or not to eat. Especially in a field where you may have crushed a few peoples dreams by not hiring them.

    1. Sunflower*

      Ehh I don’t know. For business purposes, I often see food as a safe choice regardless of whether you can eat it or not. This might sound backwards but I think personal gifts between friends are about the gift itself whereas business gifts are about the idea of the gift. And with food at least you can say ‘oh it’s chocolate or peanuts, can’t have it’ as opposed to sending a plant that you could also be allergic to but only find out after breaking out in hives. In a time when sending a gift is appropriate, I think there’s a fine line between ‘thanks for your business’ and ‘this is a little too personal’.

      1. Anoners*

        Yeah totally. I would just be weary of food gifts delivered by a candidate I don’t know.

        1. Sunflower*

          Definitely! I don’t care if how sealed or stamped that stuff is, if I don’t know you, it’s going in the trash

          1. Colette*

            I understand people have that attitude – but you understand that dozens of people you don’t know have had access to the sealed food you buy from a store, right?

            1. Jamie*

              That’s different, though. Those people are making it for sale, they don’t know who will end up with the final package.

              If someone I didn’t know sent me food, addressed to me specifically? I’m tossing it out, too. I’m confident that food workers aren’t randomly tampering with stuff, but my name on the label takes it out of the world of random and into the world of – someone would like me specifically to have this.

              If it’s someone you don’t know why risk it. Or maybe I’m just horrible enough that I can easily conceive of someone wanting to kill me with cookies.

              1. Colette*

                Homemade stuff? Sure, if you don’t know/trust the person who made it. I’m thinking of sealed, commercially made food (i.e. a chocolate bar) – I can’t imagine it’s much more likely for a job candidate to try to kill you than someone who works at the chocolate bar plant.

                I don’t think it’s wrong to throw it out, but it’s not really rational.

                1. Sunflower*

                  A person at a chocolate bar plant is registered in a system, employed and bound by law to act ethically. If they poison someone on purpose, they’re easy to spot and their life is pretty much over. If guy on the street slips a substance on the inside of a wrapper and sends it to someone, it’s rare they’ll find you and no real personal accountability.

                  My thing is just because someone presents them self as a job candidate doesn’t mean they are. Anyone can apply to a job- To me, I view it as the same thing as getting food sent to me from a stranger on the internet. I’ve seen people do crazy things to spite people and sometimes that includes hurting people around them. Look at the entire anthrax attack in 2001- people do crazy things for no real reason sometimes. Point is, yes it’s very rare that it would actually happen but for a $1 chocolate bar that has no real name attached to it, I’m not risking it

            2. Stephanie*

              Yeah, that’s different. Food handling laws and regulatory agencies (ostensibly) protect the integrity of packaged food.

              Homemade food from a stranger is iffier just because you don’t know how people are handling it.

              Plus, some people just aren’t very good cooks.

    2. Mephyle*

      I have a different point of view – I think the biggest problem with sending food is that it highlights that you don’t think you’re good enough to qualify for the job on your merits alone.
      To see this, imagine that the candidate instead sends the universal gift, the magic gift that’s better than money, and pleases 100% of the population. Will that make the hiring manager look on the candidate favourably, or will it impress them that here’s a candidate that’s so weak that they need to send me a gift – to bribe me or make themselves stand out, whatever you call it, but their skills and experience aren’t enough.

      1. Mephyle*

        My main point is, while the discussions on food as a business gift are interesting, and very useful for other contexts, it’s not the foodness that was the problem in this situation, it was the giftness.

  14. Anon Accountant*

    I’m sorry that you received poor advice. I encourage you to check out AAM’s e-book Secrets of a Hiring Manager or the free interview guide. It’s solid advice that can really help you.

    Also the way to stand out if by having a well-written resume and cover letter. Plus you’ll have much better success with targeting places and jobs that your skills and abilities are compatible with.

  15. Adam*

    This is one of the things that sucks about being desperate for interviews these days. When it seems like you’re doing everything “right” and still getting no bites quirky things like this become all the more attractive.

    I remember reading a career site that spent half its pages talking about how you needed to call into the place you wanted to work and practically demand to speak to the person in charge so you could get an interview. There was a whole chapter dedicated to “getting past the gatekeeper, i.e. the secretary” and had a cartoon up front of a woman that looked like a cross breed of a human and a troll doll. Not even joking.

    And young fresh-out-of college me believed this crap. I didn’t actually follow any of the advice. I more went the route of “dammit, is this what it really takes to get a good job? I’m going to be making minimum wage FOREVER!”

    1. fposte*

      Exactly. If people writing these things couldn’t make them sound plausible, nobody’d pay them. It’s like phishing only more oblique.

    2. Ali*

      Do you remember if this was The College Grad Job Hunter? I read that book and remember some of the craziness in it! I didn’t really follow any of it either but some of it sounded like borderline bribery.

      1. Adam*

        I think that was it! I remember the website having a lot of yellow in it or something, and feeling by reading it I was essentially being trained for a career as a car salesman. I hated it and lamented the idea that this was the reality of the working world.

  16. MaryMary*

    I’ve found some formerly reputiable business publications have been publishing some suspect content recently, especially online. It’s difficult for someone like OP (or my boss) to recognize bad advice or biased articles when it comes from a well known source. So, beware, folks, everything you read online might not be true. ;-)

    1. Anon Accountant*

      “So, beware, folks, everything you read online might not be true.”

      Hey, didn’t Abraham Lincoln say that? :)

      I promise to stop my humor now.

  17. Sunflower*

    Stuff like this being on big websites worries me. I mean if someone is searching for job advice and sees an article on Forbes, which is supposedly a site for the world’s business leaders, of course they’re going to think it’s good info! This is how bad info gets generated as good. I doubt OP is the only person who did something like this and I’m worried at the amount of people who visit these sites and assume the information is good because if Forbes said so, it must be. I don’t know if this stuff is generated for clicks or if they’re trying to appeal to people who aren’t getting responses from going through the normal system but I’m glad I am able to steer my recent grad sister to some good resources.

    1. Adam*

      I do wonder how many of these suggestions of “Here’s something that worked one time”, like the stars aligned and someone who tried the chocolate or the resume in a bottle and it eventually got sent to one company that was cool with it, never mind the dozens of other places (how much money are you shelling out for bottles and shipping fees by the way?!?) where such efforts produced precisely squat.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Or they worked once, but the hiring manager was a terrible manager who then made the person’s life miserable for the duration of the job…

        1. Adam*

          But you know it was brought up at every office party, even years after the fact.

          “You’ll never guess how Joey got his job here.”

          Meanwhile Joey is hiding in his cubicle with his head in the recycling bin…

        2. Jamie*

          Yes, I knew a hiring manager that would have been all over this – and would have loved the ship in the bottle. His whole management approach was one gimmick after another, which was not successful.

  18. TheMinion*

    I’m actually not surprised that the OP followed this advice. Not sure how long he/she has been out of college but I remember all of the “career advice” I got while there. I specifically remember this “important” alum from some NYC company who was giving a lecture and tips on how to get noticed and whatnot. And I distinctly remember how proud he was telling us a story of repeatedly emailing/calling the hiring manager and finally tracking him on a subway (umm..stalker?) so he could tell him how “he’s the perfect candidate” and persistence pays off. He ended up getting the job and his manager told him that’s exactly why. So, [bad] hiring managers seem to be encouraging this type of behavior and then letting the poison spread. I totally though this was ok and cool….so not proud of that today!

    OP, any time you find these “creative” tips, try to imagine yourself as the hiring manager. Would you really consider hiring a gardener whose resume has one grocery-store related job but he/she also sent you a box of chocolates or would you rather give a preference to someone who has 2 years of gardening experience? Would sending *any* type of gift make a difference for the candidate #1 over 2? :)

    1. Joey*

      Well they are unique and I guess they did work. What they forget to say though is how likely they are to work for the average person.

      Fwiw I be seen some crazy job advice articles, but I thought everyone knew those are more entertainment than actual real advice.

    1. DC*

      I read that article, which really is just reporting SURVEY results and does put the disclaimer to be careful about being creative in your job search endeavors and ensure that if you do something creative, to make sure it is in line with that type of business and realize it can easily backfire. So, maybe we’re being too hard on Forbes. The article isn’t advocating any of those methods. (Disclaimer: I don’t and never have worked for Forbes!)

  19. Chinook*

    You sen tit during Lent (i.e. before Easter)? There’s your problem. She is probably Catholic and resents being tempted with chocolate, so she has “file 13” your resume and you will never hear from her again.

    Seriously though, I agree with AAM that this does make you stick out in a bad way. In fact, you may even look sexist because you assumed that, because she is female, she cqan be manipulated with chocolate.

    1. LBK*

      I guess this is possible, but there are a ton of non-religious reasons someone would be put off or creeped out by someone sending them chocolate, as evidenced by most of the comments here, none of which mention Lent. There’s no time of year that this would be a good idea.

  20. AdGal*

    A long time ago, when I worked at an ad agency, we were hiring for an entry-level position where we specifically asked candidates to do their best to stand out. We had people sent shoe bouquets (“getting their foot in the door”) and someone even came to our building early in the morning to put a life-size cutout of themselves in the elevators. But the best was when a guy sent a large sheet cake with his photo and resume on it. Unfortunately, we started slicing into it pretty quickly and didn’t get his contact information. He did not follow-up with an electronic copy of his resume.

    None of the applicants got hired. They hired a friend of a current employee.

    1. Skippy Larou*

      I tink in the 90s there was advice to stand out by including glitter in the envelope the resume was mailed in. It might have worked once, in the right field, but mainly it just resulted in people having to try and clean up glitter.

      1. Jamie*

        As a huge glitter fan (in controlled circumstances) I HATE the glitter filled envelopes!

        I’ve never seen one at work, but used to be when the kids were small someone would send one. That stuff is impossible to vacuum up all the way unless you carve out the rest of your week to do it. Ridiculous – worst idea ever!

        I can’t even imagine how that would go over at work where unless you had a change of clothes you’d be living out the rest of your day like a knock off version of Liberace.

        1. Stephanie*

          I wrapped presents in glittery wrapping paper on my bed. Bad idea. I had glitter trapped in my fro for about a week afterwards.

          1. Pennalynn Lott*

            LOL! I wrapped holiday gifts in glittery wrapping paper six months ago, and I’m *still* finding gold and silver sparkles all over the house. The presents looked gorgeous, but I’ll never do it again.

      2. Turanga Leela*

        I applied to a college that put glitter in their acceptance letters. In theory, it’s a cute idea. In practice, the applicant now associates you with vacuuming glitter out of the carpet.

        1. CollegeAdmin*

          Oh man, now I really want to know what college that was. If you don’t want to name names, can you at least give a country/state?

          1. Turanga Leela*

            It was a while ago, and I don’t mind naming names. It was Reed College, which I hear is otherwise a great place.

            1. Victoria Nonprofit*

              lol! When I was accepted to Reed there wasn’t any glitter (that I remember). There also wasn’t any scholarship money, so that’s what I remember. :)

    2. Sarah*

      This makes me just hate your agency. What a jerk of a thing to do when you were going to go the nepotism route.

      1. AdGal*

        It made me mad, too. It was pretty unfair and honestly, I just thought it was unprofessional to ask people to stand out and encourage this clueless behavior.

        Oddly enough, we had a big layoff a few months later and guess who was the first to get let go – the dude they hired for this role.

      2. BB*

        Well OP never mentioned they knew they would hire the friend all along and were just playing the other candidates. It’s obviously important to look at a few possible candidates

  21. Lora*

    Yikes. Even though at first I thought, well, tip #9 would be OK (repairing a piece of equipment on the spot), after a moment’s thought it would have to be a demonstration piece of equipment rather than an actual one–otherwise, you’ve only shown me that you void warranties and have no concept of business processes or contracts. What if the equipment was leased? Or used in regulated processes, in which case it’s better to leave it broken and let the officially trained folks fix it tomorrow?

    All of the Forbes suggestions would result in peals of laughter from everyone, followed by a quick call to Security and HR demanding answers to the question, “WHO LET THIS ONE THROUGH???”

    If I wanted a gift with your resume, I’d put my gift registry information in the job posting. I need new Sharpies…

    1. Pennalynn Lott*

      …”gift registry information in the job posting.” Thank you for the best laugh all day!

  22. Snargulfuss*

    Really Forbes, a message in a bottle? Do they also advise applicants to wait for that bottle to float back home with a treasure map to the interview site inside?

    The reason that these kind of gimmicks make for news stories (terrible news stories) is that it’s so rare that they actually work.

    1. Stephanie*

      And women be shoppin’, women be shoppin’, women be shoppin’.

      It’s like the greatest hits from every hack comedian.

  23. NBB*

    Count me as one of the many people who are just “meh” about chocolate. And I most certainly would NOT appreciate a bar or two of it after lunch. And the assumption that I would just because of my gender is really weird.

  24. Stephanie*

    OP, sorry you got bad advice!

    Food gifts are tricky for many reasons, allergies being a big one. I am actually allergic to chocolate (cocoa powder technically), so this would have freaked me out and had me trying to dispose of the bar like it was nuclear waste. On top of that, it would seem like you were trying to bribe me to give you the job.

  25. E.R*

    Not sure if anyone mentioned this above, but Forbes content (online, not sure about print) is more often than not really terrible, gimmicky silly advice. They tend to just regurgitate popular perceptions – like this advice, or “if you want a job in this tough economy, become a petroluem engineer.”, likely because the writers there are freelance writers first, and career/ hiring experts last. Anyone else feel differently about Forbes.com?

  26. Kay*

    Just as a side note, I have a huge hang-up (hangup? Hang up?) about eating food that is from an unknown origin. I can’t eat baked good from clients, and I would be super uncomfortable eating something from a job applicant. I just….I get squidged out about it. It’s not really a comment on anyone else or their baking skills as much as it’s me being uncomfortable with food being prepped away from me.

    1. Jamie*

      Are you okay with professional baked goods, or just homemade?

      I don’t like eating anything regular people made and brought in, unless I know them really well. But I’m okay with bakery or grocery store bought stuff.

      And I never say this irl because I don’t want to offend people, but I’ve never understood the concept of bake sales or pot lucks when you have no idea how clean their kitchen is or their cooking habits. Professional chefs double dip on Food Network all the time, why would I assume better of my acquaintances?

      1. KellyK*

        You really don’t know how clean a restaurant kitchen is either, though, and food you purchase is likely to be handled by more people and exposed to more people’s germs than something homemade. I tend to figure that unless I have specific reasons to be concerned (like, I wouldn’t eat something baked by someone who I *know* has questionable hygiene), worrying about it will do me more harm than the small risk of food poisoning.

      2. Jamie*

        I totally agree – it’s one of those things I don’t want to know. I don’t watch Kitchen Nightmares or others that take me beyond front of house.

        We have places we go all the time, order from, and have never gotten sick – additional information will just mess with my head for no benefit.

        I don’t want this show, but flipping through we landed on an episode of Hoarders once, where some woman was fighting her son not to throw out really old nasty food because “she was going to make X and take it to work.”

        I know that is a very rare anomaly and she probably wouldn’t have even done it – but my mo is to go worst case scenario and that did not help.

      3. Kay*

        I am definitely more OK with store bought baked goods, I think it’s mostly just the not knowing about the prep space or if the person knows what they are doing. It’s weird because I worked at restaurants and am fully aware of how nasty they can be.

        The flip side of that is that I also wouldn’t be OK with someone singling me out, even with store bought baked goods unless I knew them really well.

  27. Elizabeth the Ginger*

    OP, I’m also sorry that you got bad advice. I think people are being a bit harsh on you here, and I’m sorry about that, too. I don’t think you should be too hard on yourself for the chocolate – it wasn’t a singing telegram or anything like that, just a minor misstep. Also, there are unfortunately going to other jobs where you apply and don’t hear back, no matter what you do. Just do your best to make a really solid resume and cover letter and then try to be zen about it once it’s out of your hands.

    1. Stephanie*

      I agree about the harshness. OP, I understand where the urge to do this came from. It sucks to send out applications into a Taleo black hole and never hear anything back. So I can see the appeal of gimmicks that make it feel like you’re taking control of the process.

      Take heed of Alison’s really good advice.

      1. Nina*

        Exactly. Desperation makes people do things they normally wouldn’t, and there are still so many people out of work. The idea that the article is selling (“If it worked for even one person, it can work for me”) is alluring and I can see how people would fall for it. I wish you luck on your job search.

  28. Us, Too*

    I read the Forbes article and I think the key thing here is that this article doesn’t actually suggest anyone do the 20 things. First, half of them didn’t work. Second, the author specifically points out that you have to know your audience to make something like this work. I can definitely see something like these techniques working in very specific fields for very specific jobs when – as the article points out – you know your audience. For example, if I’m hiring a musician, playing a song for me isn’t creepy or weird. If I’m hiring an attorney – yeeesssh, the song idea makes my skin crawl.

  29. Sally*

    At the very least, I feel like it would have seemed more normal if it were a box of chocolates, but two chocolate bars? Poor OP!

  30. Fabulously Anonymous*

    OP, I’m sorry you got bad advice. But now you’re here, where you can get good advice.

    My question to you: why do you feel your resume needed to “stand out”? Did you not meet all of the qualifications? Is your resume not as strong as you like? I agree with Allison that you stand out by being a strong candidate, so what can you do to make yourself a strong candidate?

    1. De Minimis*

      Many times you have a lot of strong candidates, though. I’d guess this is especially true for entry level jobs. I can certainly understand the pressure to find a way to stand out.

    2. fractal*

      I would have to sympathize with the OP in response to your questions, because sometimes a person could be doing everything right and not getting any calls from hiring managers. It’s inevitable given the limited number of vacant positions vs. hundreds of applicants waiting to fill them. So yes, a strong cover letter and resume can boost your chances. Otherwise you have to remain patient and continue applying to different places, which is a big challenge for most people.

      1. some1*

        This. When I was out of work I applied for dozens and dozens of jobs I was qualified for and heard nothing back.

      2. Fabulously Anonymous*

        Actually, I DO symphathize with the OP. I was trying to create a conversation on better ways to stand out then the advice offered in the Forbes article. I thought that if the OP identified what she thought were her weaknesses, we could help.

        1. fractal*

          I…didn’t make any indication that you didn’t sympathize…I was merely speaking from my own point of view…which is the only point of view I can speak from…
          Ok, I’m gonna stop overusing the ellipses now.

      3. Anon Accountant*

        Exactly. Especially when there’s candidates with years of experience applying for entry-level positions.

  31. MR*

    I’ve seen some of people talking about the reliability of Forbes, but they have strayed away from that in recent years. Unless an article appears in their physical magazine, I would probably ignore whatever any article has to say, mostly because of the type of stuff that suckered the OP.

    Poynter has a pretty good article about this: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/top-stories/173743/what-the-forbes-model-of-contributed-content-means-for-journalism/

    So, I would stay away from anything from Forbes that you find online – or at the least, treat it with a healthy dose of skepticism.

  32. some1*

    Another reason it was a bad idea, chocolate melts &/or the bars can smashed or damaged, if that happened, I’m sorry but you sent a resume that was covered in brown goop.

    Even if the chocolate had arrived & been welcome by the Hiring Manager, you don’t know that their receptionist or mail room doesn’t open everything first and could eat it.

  33. BCW*

    Honestly, I came to the comments just to look at how much the OP was called sexist. I love also that it was a woman who said it. However, I do think the term sexist is being thrown around way too much on this post (and frankly on this site). Stereotyping itself isn’t inherently sexist (or racist, homophobic, etc). So if you want to say that the OP is playing to stereotypes, and that assuming those stereotypes is bad, then fine. However I don’t think its sexist. Its not trying to exert power over women women, or even state that women are below anything. Its just repeating a stereotype. Period. I thought the statement was a joking throwaway line, but I knew that would blow up on here.

    1. H. Vane*

      Actually, I believe that stereotyping a group of people based on a single characteristic, ie gender, is the very definition of sexism. Using that stereotype to exert power over a group is something else in addition to that.

      Here’s an example. There’s a stereotype out there that asian women are bad drivers (which, by the way I do not agree with). That stereotype is racist and sexist. If a policy was enacted to required asian women to have additional training before they could get drivers licenses, it would indeed be racist/sexist. But it would be something else, for which I bet there’s a specialized term out there that I don’t know.

      1. BCW*

        Well, then are you saying all stereotypes (good and bad) are inherently racist or sexist? I’m a black man, so there are plenty of stereotypes about me, but they aren’t all racist in my opinion. If you say something like “black men age well” or “black men are better at basketball” I wouldn’t consider those things to be racist, but they are stereotypical, and not necessarily true. If you say “black men are all thugs” then I think thats a bit different and it is a racist statement. Now if you want to consider all stereotypes as racist or sexist, then thats fine, its just not how I see things.

        1. Aunt Vixen*

          I’m going to have to disagree with you on that one. “All X are _____” is on its face an inherently []-ist statement. There is no sentence that begins “All women are” that is not sexist, no matter how flatteringly it may end. Making assumptions about a group based on an irrelevant characteristic is what makes the statement -ist.

          More to the point – I think (that is, it has been my impression) most people use “racist” or “sexist” (or whatever) to mean “overgeneralizing in a way that is usually negative”, rather than “overgeneralizing but only in a way that is negative”. I don’t know if you routinely find yourself making this stereotype-vs-racist-or-sexist-or-etc. distinction, but if you do, that may be why.

        2. Jamie*

          I’m not up in arms about it, but this isn’t a neutral stereotype.

          The women and chocolate thing is often tied to women craving it during PMS. There is some truth to that stereotype, and there are reasons about the release of serotonin and low blood sugar, all that.

          That part of it is neutral – nothing wrong with craving something, and for some it’s a response to a biological state. Fine. Doesn’t happen with everyone, but no stereotype is universal.

          But it’s not neutral in the work place where the women and chocolate thing often melds into the women with PMS thing.

          If you’ve ever been in less than stellar mood at work and been offered a piece of chocolate by someone to make you “feel better” heh heh – you’ll know it’s a pretty common thread.

          Again, I don’t see a reason to march against the comment, but it’s not neutral in a business context.

          Change it up a little bit and there is not one thing wrong with liking fried chicken. I loved fried chicken. That’s not an insult.

          “I know the hiring manager is black so I sent a gift certificate to KFC along with my resume, because a lot of black people like fried chicken.”

          Nothing evil or insulting about liking fried chicken on it’s own – but I think most people would find that racist because of the connotation.

          Things don’t exist in a vacuum. Yes, I think sometimes society as a whole gets offended too easily…but that doesn’t mean anything that’s not actively insulting is okay to say/do without consequence.

          1. Aunt Vixen*

            Your explanation is better than mine. But I think it’s the offhand generalizing that is actively insulting.

          2. BCW*

            I guess I see your point, although I don’t know that I agree with it. However, I’m not a woman so I have different experiences. If I offer you a piece of gum, yes it COULD be because your breath stinks, or it COULD just be because I’m being polite. I think its very possible that you are just a bit more sensitive to the chocolate thing because you have experienced it, but I don’t think its always assuming you have PMS. I can assure you I’ve never offered a woman chocolate for that reason. The fried chicken analogy is a good one, but I think my problem is that the particular black people and friend chicken stereotype is a bit more loaded than the women and chocolate one, IE the Tiger Woods winning the masters thing comment. However, again I fully admit that as a man I just may not be as aware of it how it can be seen as negative.

            1. Jamie*

              I am in full agreement that not everyone drawing the women love chocolate thing is tying it to PMS – and I do not want people to stop offering me chocolate. I’m saying it’s done enough, that from someone you don’t know it gets the side eye because it could have been a shot. It’s not an obscure tie in.

              And offering someone chocolate is almost always a good thing imo – but when done in a snarky way because of veiled reference to mood or calendars it’s not.

              Fwiw I think the OP probably tossed that off in a lighthearted kidding kind of way. Sure, it’s a little sexist in the sense of it’s a stereotype about gender that could be seen negatively, but I don’t think there was any harm from her comment. But someone reading says it to another hiring manager, it could cost them and so it’s good to point out how it’s being read.

              And yes, the chicken thing is far less excusable – if you don’t know how that comes off I don’t know what to say – but it was to illustrate a point that even a neutral comment can be decidedly offensive if there is a history of using the comment to keep others in their place.

        3. fposte*

          I’m familiar with two different operating definitions, one of which limits racism to stereotyping/bigotry of the majority toward the minority (that’s the sociology-based definition), and the other of which says yes, any stereotype based on race is racist.

          It sounds like you use the term a third way, which is that stereotypes become an -ism when they’re a negative characterization. I can see the point, but I haven’t run into that definition a lot.

          I’m not too concerned with the definition myself–it’s not that I think it’s evil to say “Women love chocolate,” but it’s the sort of comment that’s offered as a bonding point and it’s good to be aware the consequences may be the opposite of what you had hoped for.

          1. BCW*

            Yes and no. Racism (sexism, homophobia, etc) is generally accepted as being a negative thing. So I guess I do have a hard time with a positive, or even neutral comment about a group being considered racist. I’m also am kind of mixing a few definitions here. With that aid, I don’t necessarily like the thing of how only a group in power can truly be racist or sexist. It seems to be too narrow of a view.

            1. Del*

              Part of the problem is that even superficially positive stereotypes can work out into negative real-world behaviors or implications.

              For example: “Asians are good at math” is a very common stereotype. If I always go to my buddy Steve whose grandparents immigrated from Korea for help with math issues because he’s Asian and therefore he’s totally good at math, then that’s insulting to him because I’m not treating him as Steve but as “Asian dude.” The positive stereotype now has negative consequences.

              1. Jamie*

                Your friend Steve can always tell you he’s not your math tutor.

                I think it’s dangerous when some people seem to see everything as equally egregious.

                Stereotypes A: Asians are good at math, black men are excellent athletes, or the Irish are known for the art of storytelling.

                Stereotypes B: Asians are lousy drivers, black men are criminals, Irish are all a bunch of drunks.

                In the sense that both sets are stereotypes they are equal. They both paint groups of people with the same brush, attributing characteristics of a subset to all.

                But in reality one can’t say that set A unleashes the same amount of harm as set B. The mindset for set B could lead to people not being hired for jobs, being unjustly accused of crime, etc. The harm from set A would be to those who don’t fit the stereotype and feel pressured to do so or annoyance at people commenting too much about your strengths.

                The harm isn’t equal. I know you weren’t saying it was, but when people talk about the danger of positive stereotypes I fear we risk diluting the harm caused from the negative ones.

                1. Mints*

                  It’s definitely true that negative stereotypes are worse, but I think focusing too much on worst case scenarios is problematic in its own way. Like when American women complain about making 60-70 cents to the dollar, and people respond with like “At least you can legally have a job.” (You’re not doing this, I’m just making a point). Because I can care about women who are 80% equal, and also women who are 30% equal; I don’t have a finite limit of caring. And for people who do feel like they have a finite limit of energy to care, they don’t have to engage. Dismissing isms in smaller examples isn’t helpful to anyone.

                  And for the earlier point, positive stereotypes are harmful because they’re in exclusion to other traits. “Black people are athletic” is good, until the education system doesn’t encourage black students academically the same way white students are. Or ” women are good parents” is good, until women aren’t taken seriously as professionals because they’re seen as mothers first.

                  Generally though, there are lots of isms that don’t really bother me. Like I’ll see “Okay, I understand how that’s -ist” but I’m not moved to act, but I really don’t see the use of mocking people who are moved to act (again, not that you did). I think that when things are outrageous enough, the volume of people moved to act is what’s important, and what’s heard

              2. One of the Annes*

                And “positive” stereotypes also come with their implied negative flipsides: women are instinctively better at parenting than men . . . because they’re so emotional; black men are superior at athletics . . . and inferior at pursuits that don’t involve athletic prowess.

    2. Victoria Nonprofit*

      I think it’s kind of tacky that you chimed in here just to, what, mock the conversation others are having.

      1. BCW*

        And you chimed in just to tell me I was tacky because you don’t like that I brought up something that is relating to the comments. So who is more tacky?

        1. Tinker*

          You know, it was a bit awkwardly said and all — but truthfully, you are just as much a participant in this sort of conversation as anyone else, if not more so, and it does seem like not exactly the most ideal way of entering a discussion the world has ever seen to start off by seeming to complain that one approach to the material in question exists and is discussed at all. And it’s also, I note, a bit of a repetitive pattern, not that I’m not prone to that sort of thing also.

          So maybe we all want to put the sticks down and back away?

    3. Tinker*

      I’ve gotten to where in general conversation I usually try and downplay quite a lot the question of whether something is sexist or not and try and focus on the effect, or the interpersonal relationship, or what is a higher risk or lower risk social move. And it’s precisely because it provokes this sort of “aw come on do we have to talk about sexist that is not sexist I knew you were going to make a big deal about it” sort of thing, and I’m kind of not seeing that as productive — it doesn’t seem to get people over the hump of changing their behavior, which to me is the important point, and it has a way of going to bad places.

      You’ve also pointed out an interesting thing in that it’s a woman who did this, and I think this is precisely the sort of pitfall that women can fall into — both because there’s a popular conception that women can’t be sexist against women (and often more generally that members of minority groups can’t be prejudiced against members of their own or other minority groups, which is… hilariously wrong) and because homosocial enforcement is a part of the overall structure of gender roles for both men and women.

      Anyway, question of sexism aside, I hope that if the OP is inclined toward the use of these sorts of tropes, that in future they know that these things can have an uneven reception. Which they can. The rest is basically details.

  34. Tinker*

    Wow, I feel bad for the OP. I really hate it when folks who are acting out of a genuine desire to make a good impression go out and seek advice for how to do this, get hooked in by some yahoo who wrote up some content-free content to get clicks, and end up being made to look foolish. It’s taking advantage of a basically good nature, and it’s unfortunate.

    On the bright side, there are a lot worse things than chocolate bars — I’d bet whoever got them probably reacted along the lines of “huh, WTF?” and filed them either in the trash can or in the face, depending on their level of comfort with strange chocolate, and that’s the end of the matter. So it’s not, like, something to be all wracked over — just send out normal resumes going forward, and chalk it up as a lesson not to listen to anyone except maybe AAM on career advice. :D

  35. Ruffingit*

    Also: In general, it’s a good idea not to assume things about people based on what sex they are.

    Thank you for that Alison. Seriously, thank you. I really think the OP should give a ton of thought to the way he or she (because this could come from either gender) is thinking about gender “norms.” It can only hurt to paint people with a broad brush based on an external characteristic. Going forward in a career, that would be a horrible thing to continue to act upon. Please OP, stop thinking every woman or man appreciates something. Generalizing is not at all helpful.

  36. Sarah*

    The only good thing about this is they didn’t send the resume in a bottle. As a general rule you should not make your resume deliberately difficult to access.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I cannot imagine the frustration level if the recipient tried to get that out of the bottle. oh my.

  37. Abradee*

    “They might as well have told you to send a suspicious looking powder with your application.”

    Something else to consider when thinking about taking job-hunting advice from Forbes. I once worked at an organization that put every piece of mail through a radiation machine post 9/11 in order to destroy any threats (i.e. anthrax) someone could possibly send through the USPS. The mail was always a total mess as the radiation fused paper and ink together.

    One time, an applicant bypassed HR and mailed his resume directly to the head of my department, and in a further attempt to stand out, also included a few candy bars. Trust me, no one even CONSIDERED eating that chocolate after it had been radiated.

  38. Katie the Fed*

    OK, I’m sure I’m too late here – was in meetings all afternoon. But really – shame on Forbes. There’s so much trashy clickbait out there. Really the advice on getting a job is pretty simple and straightforward, like Alison explains on this website. But “write a kickass cover letter and have a strong resume” don’t get the click because it’s not a sexy story.

    It’s kind of like weight loss. We all know it’s a matter of eating less and moving more. And yet there will never be an end to the “New Great Way To Lose Weight!” stories. And we’ll keep reading them.

    Of course, maybe you could combine them and send a hiring manager some acai berry and green coffee extract with your resume.

    1. Rev*

      Don’t ya just hate it when you come in late for a good discussion?

      Didn’t want you to feel like you missed out…

  39. Ash (the other one!)*

    So… I hate chocolate. If you sent me chocolate in the mail the whole package would likely end up in the trash because I cannot stand the smell or having chocolate anywhere near me. So, yea, that would really backfire. And, yes, I am a woman.

  40. Kera*

    I’m not sure of the legal position in the US, but in the UK, I’d have to bin that CV without looking at it – anti-bribery legislation. I know my industry is really sensitive about this kind of thing at the moment – one of our major players with a reputation for being ethical was heavily dinged last year, and so we’re now getting 3 hours of anti-bribery training a quarter – but even outside of that, it’s a gift or inducement to act contrary to my employer’s needs for personal gain, if I look at your cv favourably /because/ of the gift (or even if I appear to) . It’s not worth it for £2 of chocolate, so straight in the bin.

  41. KB*

    AAM, the Forbes article failed to explain the context of the application for which the chocolate was originally sent. The job was a marketing position and the person sent the chocolate bar as their entire CV.


    Obviously this would still not work for the OP, but I’m just wondering if knowing the details changes your opinion of it. I had thought, in context, it was a rather clever idea, but obviously not one that would or should be used outside of this specific situation.

  42. Claire*

    Sadly, people don’t appreciate gestures like this anymore. Everything is all about “politics” in the working world. It is for sure a good way to stand out, but I don’t think in a good way… :(

Comments are closed.