The Interesting Résumé (from John)
Back in 2002, we needed an integration specialist for my team. This was after the dot-com bubble burst and previous ad placements online had resulted in getting flooded with résumés from desperate souls whose only qualifications for the job were that they could legally work in the US without Visa sponsorship.
This time, I placed a blind ad through our newspaper. The applicants would submit their résumés through the paper and therefore hopefully help us weed out some of the crazy, because taking the time to print and mail a résumé shows a tad more serious intent then just hitting "send" on email. I went down to the paper to pick up the first batch of submissions and was surprised at how many there were (50 or so). But there was one return address in the bunch that got my immediate and prompt attention.
I have to give him credit that he actually had a printed copy of his résumé, albeit hand-corrected for his current address. To be fair though, if his current residency status wasn't enough of a red flag, the 19 jobs he'd held in the past 9 years would have been (most were 1-2 month stints). His claim to be an EDI "master" was also interesting, as no EDI experience was reflected on the résumé.
I guess the moral of the story is, if you owe child support, man up and pay it, especially if your trade is IT. While hiring a welder on a work-release program is one thing, hiring an IT professional and giving them access to your systems is another.
I guess the guy eventually found work somewhere, because a couple of years later we had another round of hiring and I recognized his name, though this time the resume showed he wasn’t living in government housing and the cover letter wasn’t hand-written.
Insecure Résumé (from David Bishop)
While reviewing a large number of résumés for a mid-level C#/ASP.NET developer position, I happened across a rather “insecure” résumé. Overall, the résumé was quite average, but in the “previous experience” section, the candidate included a very boastful passage about a previous project the applicant had worked on: an online store that sold speed boats.
He triumphantly explained that the middle-tier of the application was entirely driven by a web-service, to which he promptly provided a link to the live "ManageStore.asmx" page, complete with all the auto-generated debug form. It was pretty obvious that the service had no authentication, which meant we had full and complete access to the company’s entire inventory, prices, content and customers. He had essentially published their security vulnerability to us in his résumé.
We decided not to bring him in for an interview.
The Family Friendly Company (from Lawrence W)
Things were looking pretty good. I made it to the third round of interviewing, this time with the CFO. And that's when things turned... awkward.
"Are you married?" he asked first after a little small talk about the weather. Hoping this more was small talk, I told him not just yet but that I'm sure it'd be coming soon.
"Good to hear," he responded, "does that mean, you're currently engaged?"
"Err, well, no. But, it's definitely some—"
"Hmmm," he interrupted, "I see. Have you been married before?"
At this point, I had no idea where he was going with this, but continued along, "nope, never married before. What about y—"
"What about kids? Do you have any?"
We definitely were not in small-talk land anymore. "No kids now, but I do have a neph—"
"Do you plan on having children?" he cut me off.
Now things were getting weird. "Please don't take this the wrong way," I said, "but why are you asking me all these questions?"
"Oh, we're a very family-friendly company. We expect all of our employees to have a family, and since you don't now, I need to know when you plan on having one."
I'm sure he was breaking a whole litany of employment regulations, but the only thing I cared about was getting out of there and never turning back. Needless to say, things didn't progress to a fourth round of interviewing.
The Atlanta Flagship (from Kendra)
"Joe" seemed like an ideal client at first glance. From all appearances, he'd recently arrived from out of town with plenty of investment capital, and was interested in hiring talent for his soon-to-open web design startup.
His job advertisement glowed. It was well-written, and promised good salary and benefits, flexible part-time hours, cool people, unique projects, access to a full suite of expensive equipment, and he himself professed years of management experience in majorly popular tech start-ups. "After this office opens, we'll be opening a flagship in Atlanta within a year." The local office already had an address. Sounded great.
I sent over my portfolio and got an immediate call back from Joe himself. Things went rapidly downhill. Without asking a single question about my technical knowledge, or even asking if I wanted the job, Joe told me I was as good as hired.
"I'm a well-known entrepreneur," he said, "And my book on unusual management techniques will be coming out in a couple of years as soon as I find a publisher. I run businesses where everyone is entitled to the profits, and the business is owned by all employees. We vote collectively on all management decisions, and we'll be doing everything including booking A-list celebrity interviews, producing major motion pictures and TV dramas, providing copywriting services and translation, producing radio shows, manufacturing a line of action figures, and, of course, making websites. Did I mention I have tons of expensive equipment?"
I think I managed to get two "Uh huh"s in edgewise before he ended the call and hung up.
Alarm bells went off, and I couldn't Google fast enough. Everything I found make me cringe. There was no - literally no - mention of Joe the international entrepreneur anywhere online under the name he'd given. Not even his email address came up. More Googling turned up a series of aliases - all plays on his first, middle and last names. I even went so far as to call the businesses he claimed to have founded, and none of them had heard of Joe (under any name).
His past production experience included three disastrous paranormal investigative "shows" he taped with a hand-held camera and a couple of friends, then posted on YouTube. His web background involved one website complete with animated sparkling Gifs and some world-map clip art. And when I did a satellite search of the office address I'd been given, Google maps came up with a top-down view of a stunning trailer park.
I wrote Joe to politely turn down the job. He never bothered to respond. And I watched the freelance job boards for months as Joe's ads increased in desperation and intensity. Occasionally, just for the thrill, I go checkout the awful company website designed by the poor, just-out-of-highschool shmuck Joe managed to hire, and wonder how that "flagship in Atlanta" is coming along.