Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I've been interviewing potential replacement receptionists. If you'd like to apply, please review our strenuous requirements before sending me your resume and cover letter. You cannot miss our ad; it's got my name all over -- and not because I wrote it, either.

It's an interesting process to be now interviewing my own replacement. Not so long ago, I was the person on the other side of the table, sweaty palms, new suit, nervous giggle. Now I'm putting these poor, poor candidates through the same torture and it's not very pleasant for me. I gave up my list of questions after I asked one person a question and got in response a deer-in-headlights look of terror as her mind went totally blank. I know she's not an idiot, but for a moment there all conscious thought had fled and she couldn't speak. I felt like a murderer, as though I had planned to make her look bad. Hence, the question list was put away and I'm going by instinct.

Some things I recommend for job seekers, especially in this uncertain economy:

1. Please update and personalize your cover letter and resume. One applicant sent us her November 2003 cover letter and the resume was obviously out of date as well.

2. Our firm name and the hiring attorney are both listed in the ad, so there's no need to "To Whom It May Concern" us.

3. Do you want this job? Then don't be sorry you're applying. One applicant apologized for sending us a resume. Three times. In one letter.

4. Use spell check. Now, I've sent out things with a typo and smacked my forehead copiously, but now I'm seeing it from the other side of the desk and I realize that it's a show stopper -- especially when you misspell the name of the firm, or tell me that you have lots of assistnat expereince.

5. Please don't send your resume from your current job, especially via fax with their name all over it. That's sort of like sending it via mail with their postage meter. I actually have taken to opening up the document properties to see if it was homemade or done using a work computer. Sure, a savvy applicant knows to wipe the fields, but there's a lot of people who forget. If you're applying for my job on your company's dime, you will probably apply for your next job on ours (works the same way with cheatin' spouses).

6. Test your attachments before you click the send button. I suppose in a bigger firm, I'd just delete ones that cannot be opened, but I'm a curious person -- and I feel awful for these people who I cannot hire. So I emailed them back to explain how to attach a document to an email, because chances are they have never had any responses telling them they're lacking in technique.

And that's your human resources tip for the day :)

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