I may have mentioned that I am in the process of recruiting a new team, to replace the one that doesn't like me very much. This process has now been dragging on for months - partly because (I admit it) I am rather picky, and partly because job applicants are... well... crap.
Since this blog is read by quite a few future, current and ex-MBAs who can think of nothing else but job-hunting (you know I'm right), I thought I would share with you my top pet peeves as a recruiter. Now, it's possible that these things only bother me, but do you really want to take that gamble?
The Obvious Pet Peeves:
No need to detail these ones out. If you're making any of these mistakes you know you should be shot. In no particular order:
- addressing your cover letter to another company
- having as an "objective" on your CV that you want a marketing job when you're applying for a legal job
- not having a law degree when a law degree is listed as a requirement for the position (and no, biomedical engineering is not the same thing)
- telling me how you really think it's fantastic that CoolCo is doing X, when X is in fact being done by a different company entirely.
Don't You Lie To Me Pet Peeve:
I hate liars. Hate them. You should never lie on a job application. Not even a little. Not even to embellish. And especially not when "high level of personal integrity" is listed as a job requirement.
So let's say you've made it to the interview stage. Part of the reason may be because you stated on your CV that you were fluent in French, which is good because fluency in French is a job requirement. But shame on you if I then ask you a question in French and you have me repeat it three times before finally giving up and saying you don't understand the question and haven't spoken any French since that school trip when you barely managed to order un croissant, s'il vous plait. Not only have you wasted my time, you have also made me so mad I have to go eat chocolate to get over it which is NOT A GOOD THING.
And the Ultimate Pet Peeve: The I Have a Dream Pet Peeve:
You have no idea how many cover letters I see where the candidate tells me that it has "always been (his/her) dream to work at CoolCo." Shudder. First of all, I don't believe you. My guess is you say that to all the girls and that chick at Apple got the same standard letter. Because really it has always been your dream to be an astronaut, or president of the world, or to cure cancer, but surely not to work at CoolCo. Second, if it really has always been your dream to work at CoolCo, you are both pathetic and delusional. It's a job, people. We sit in an office, behind a computer screen, deal with overflowing inboxes and wear suits and have meetings and then we get a salary at the end of the month. We do not, as you appear to believe, lounge around on a beach somewhere drinking margaritas and making out with Ryan Gosling (or whatever your dream might be).
I know you're trying to show me motivation, but all you've managed to accomplish is make sure I never even look at your CV. Tell me what interests you about THIS JOB, not why you have wet dreams about the company (by the way, it's even worse when the I Have a Dream bit comes out at the interview stage in answer to the question: "why are you applying for this job?" If that happens I may strangle you).
This particular pet peeve has been making my blood boil for some time, but what really got my goat (and my cows and chickens are pretty miffed too) is that I recently heard it from an INSEAD student. Come on! You should know better than that!
So this is a message addressed to INSEAD career services (and really any people who might be reading and who are in the business of giving advice to job applicants): PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE ban the word "dream" from MBA vocabulary.
On behalf of my sanity and my few remaining non-gray hairs, I thank you.