The Job Search That Took Fifty Years

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2018

(Twice a week the same young man shows up at my office dressed in a suit jacket and tries to drop off a resume. Each time, I refer him to the website. He comes back, having not checked the site, still trying to hand in a paper resume. Finally, I sit him down and ask why he keeps coming back.)

Man: “My grandfather says I have to show up in person and make a good impression. He says that going to a website doesn’t show initiative.”

Me: “That’s not true. Do you even have any design or programming experience?”

Man: “Uh… No. You train, right?”

Me: “No, that’s the basics of what we expect from an employee. You know we don’t have any posted job listings, right?”

Man: “No, I didn’t go to the website because my grandfather said… Heck, I’ve wasted a lot of time, haven’t I?”

(I send him back with a letter to his grandfather.)

Letter: “Dear Sir,

Your grandson has come to my office on five occasions now, following your advice. That same advice seems to be what is hampering his job search.

When I am looking for an employee, I am looking for someone with initiative, thoroughness, and follow through. In this case, I want someone who takes the initiative to visit the website and research the company. I want someone with the thoroughness to read and follow the instructions on how to properly submit their resume. Finally, I want someone who follows through with an application to any job that meets their qualifications.

I hire only competent employees, and following the very basic instructions of how to apply for a job shows this competence. By having your grandson ignore this and follow your outdated advice, he has shown himself unable to use the resources at hand, unable to follow basic rules, and requiring special treatment.

Furthermore, as you have sent him to ‘hit the pavement,’ he doesn’t know the first thing about this business! (For example, showing up in a suit to an office where we dress exceedingly casually shows he is a bad fit for our environment.)

I’ve wished your grandson well in his job search. Please stop hampering it with your bad advice. This is the new millennium.”

(The young man thanked me! A few weeks later, he emailed that he found employment in a business completely dissimilar to mine. I hope he learned his lesson about not listening to dated advice!)

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