That’s Not At All Vague Or Creepy

, , , , , | Working | September 3, 2020

I’ve worked in this department store for several years, and I have had a number of customers approach me with “job offers” after I finish helping them. I’ve just ordered an item to be delivered to a young woman since the one in stock had a small defect.

Me: “That should arrive within two weeks, and here’s a copy of your order slip. Can I help you with anything else?”

Customer: “Just that, thank you. You do great customer service.”

Me: “Thank you!”

Cue the red flag that a lot of these people use.

Customer: “Are you satisfied with your job here?”

Me: “I enjoy it, yes. My hours are pretty flexible, so I can change them when my college schedule changes.”

Customer: “Oh, okay. Well, I was really impressed by your customer service, so if you wanted to earn more money, I’d love to give your number to my bosses. They’re not really hiring right now, but if I tell them about you I’m sure they’d consider it.”

Me: “For what kind of job?”

Customer: “Selling.”

Me: “Selling what?”

Customer: “Assets.”

Me: “What does the company do?”

Customer: “It sells assets to people.”

Me: “What kind of assets?”

Customer: “Assets.”

Me: “…”

As “tempting” as that was, I stuck it out with the store and got a new job by finishing my degree.

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Maybe They Should Hire His Wife

, , , , , , | Working | August 25, 2020

A coworker and I were conducting an interview for an open position with a man who had applied for the job. As the interview progressed, we both noticed that his answers tended to be vague and evasive — not as though he had something to hide, but more like he simply had trouble making up his mind. For example, we’d ask about a time where he had to get information from someone who was uncooperative, and he’d start to answer, and then backtrack and say that probably wasn’t a good example and give him a moment to think of a better one.

Finally, in exasperation, my coworker tried to see if she could better understand his decision-making process: “If we were to offer you this job, what process would you use to decide whether you wanted to take it?”

He hemmed and hawed for a couple of minutes, and then said, “Well, I’d probably have to go home and ask my wife about it.”

He didn’t get the job.

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Applications Are Hard, You Know!

, , , , , , | Working | August 24, 2020

I volunteered in the administrative manager’s office for volunteers at a hospital. The applications and correspondence I sorted through for the manager were kind of amazing in all the horrible ways. Here are a few things I encountered.

“Please use a black or blue ink pen to fill out this application,” crossed out with a neon pink glitter gel pen with the word “No” scribbled under it. Said applicant told us that she uses said gel pen for everything she fills out so that everyone knows it’s her. She said black or blue ink was “too ugly for my work.”

On another application, under the question, “What days/times are you available to volunteer?” I found the answer, “I love Jesus!” followed by a big X over the space for references and, “You don’t need two references. Jesus is my one and only reference.”

One another application, I found swear words peppered throughout the application, with the F-bomb being used as an adverb

I found overuse of chatspeak: nawt abl 2 spL NEthing longr thN 3 lttrs. Our application is pen-and-paper only, so the chatspeak text was handwritten.

One applicant filled the application out halfway, got bored, and left the rest blank. He called us up when we said we couldn’t process the application unless it was completed and promptly got into an argument with the manager. 

“[Manager], let me tell you how the real world works: you’re running a volunteer department. That means you need to bend over backward just to kiss my a** in gratitude that I’m bothering to give you the time of day. You can fill the rest of my application out for me if your paperwork is that important.”

The manager told him that if he couldn’t follow directions and curb his attitude, then his presence wasn’t welcome. Then, she hung up on him. He called back immediately and basically left a profanity-strewn message about the ancestry of everyone she happened to be related to. We were both speechless.

We also had an applicant who said that if we needed references, to chase them down ourselves and gave us two cell phone numbers and no other information. She basically ordered the administrative manager to hurry up and get it done because she wanted her paperwork completed in a timely fashion. She refused to acknowledge that it was her responsibility.

I told the manager that she was far more patient with these people than I would be.

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At Least She Didn’t Waste Their Time

, , , | Working | August 7, 2020

I work at a VERY busy family medical clinic. The job of a receptionist is by far the worst job in the office. Between phones ringing, scheduling appointments, updating insurance, and taking payments, there are times I don’t see how our current receptionist keeps her sanity. 

The current receptionist gives her two-week notice and we start looking for someone to fill the position. Needless to say, this job requires being able to multi-task and being willing to work hard to get the job done.

On this particular day, during flu season, we are especially busy and everybody is having to work hard to keep their cool and stay professional. As the receptionist is finishing up one call and answering another, a lady comes through the front door wearing a dirty looking T-shirt, sweatpants, and a ball cap. She stands at the front window waiting for someone to help her. 

The receptionist finishes her call.

Receptionist: “Can I help you?”

Lady: “Yeah, I was wondering about the job you have posted.”

Receptionist: “Sure. Have you filled out the application online?”

Lady: “No. I was wanting to know before I did, is this job hard? Because if it’s hard, I’m not going to bother.”

Receptionist: “…”

Needless to say, she did not get called for an interview.

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That Is One Powerful Candidate

, , , , , , , , | Working | August 7, 2020

We’re interviewing a job candidate by phone. As part of the interview process, the candidates log in to a mockup of our database system to demonstrate their technical skills. The current candidate has been doing well but is struggling with a particular task. When she gets an error, we see her circling a part of the error message with her cursor on the shared screen.

Interviewer #1: “Hey, we see you indicating part of the error message. Can you tell us what you make of that?”

Interviewer #2: *On mute* “It would be nice if she could because I don’t have a clue what that means…”

Candidate: “I’ve seen that before in [our kind of system]. Pretty sure someone didn’t set it up correctly, so it’s kind of a security vulnerability.”

Me: “I know we’re not interviewing you for a security role, but can you tell us a little more about what you see here?”

Candidate: *Typing* “Sure. If I were an unscrupulous user, I’d see this error, and… actually, I don’t want to break anything.”

Interviewer #1: “You’re in a test environment. If you break it, we’ll just reset. I’m curious now. Do your worst!”

Candidate: “Okay!”

We wait a few minutes while she types a very long command on the screen.

Interview #1: *On mute* “Who the heck flagged her as ‘less experienced’? I’ve never seen half these words in my life.”

Interviewer #2: “She only has three years of experience with [System]. The rest of the candidates had at least six.”

Candidate: “Aaaaaand… there we go. Okay, I think this is gonna work. Let’s see what happens when I do th—”

As all three of us lean forward to watch what’s about to happen, the computer running the test environment — and the phone call — shuts off. We jump back in surprise.

Interviewer #1: “She was in a virtual machine! How’d she do that?”

I start frantically hitting the ON button on the PC tower.

Me: “The machine won’t even start!”

Interviewer #2: “[Interviewer #1], why’d you have to use the phrase ‘do your worst’ here?”

I get the candidate on the phone, and she says something must have gone wrong and overwhelmed the test environment. When she hears the computer won’t even start, I can hear her start to panic.

Me: “Don’t worry; it’s an old desktop that we needed to replace anyway. If there’s an exploit that can actually break a computer, we needed to know.”

Candidate: “This is a longshot, but… when you were leaning in to look at the code, no one hit anything on the computer, did you?”

I look down. [Interviewer #1]’s elbow is firmly planted on the on/off switch of the powerstrip that the computer is plugged into. We all have a good laugh and everyone calms down, and we restart the computer and resume the call.

Interviewer #2: “By the way, we see you only have three years of experience with [System]. How’d you recognize an obscure error like that?”

Candidate: “Oh, those were three years at [Company that makes the system].”


This story is part of our Best Of August 2020 roundup!

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