Posts Tagged ‘ Humour ’

Candidate Application & Interview Humour #2- sometimes you can only get by with laughter!

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The following shows the funny side of the in-house recruiters and interviewers job. These have been lifted from a discussion of similar title on The FIRM’s LinkedIn Group pages. The names and companies have been removed to allow us to share! this is Part 2 I posted the first installment of these in Sept last year

Head of Recruiting – Retail Org (UK) – My Director recently interviewed a new consultant for my team. The candidate, who we have hired, told her the storey of why she never became a vet as she injected a hamster with to much morphine, it belonged to a school! My Director said they way the candidate told the storey made her laugh so much she had tears in hers eyes, so much so she thought she was fab!

Recruiter – Computer Software Co (France) – A funny one from a recent recruitment before summer:
When making a verbal offer at the last stage: the candidate replied that it will give her plenty of money… to feed a new duck.

Then followed a surreal 4 minutes conversation about ducks and how they can make really nice pets.

Of course she accepted the offer !

Director TA – Management Consultancy (Australia) – Years ago while working for another Big 5 firm, a candidate I had already interviewed phoned me from the interview room to my extension. I had arranged for him to have a final interview with a Partner from the Consulting practice. It was a Friday afternoon, about 3pm. I was surprised to get a call from the candidate during the interview time but the reason he rang was to tell me that the Partner had fallen asleep during the interview!!! I asked him if he was sure and he said “Yeah, totally sparko” I asked him to stay where he was. I went to the room and sure enough found the candidate sitting opposite a 48 year old partner who was head back, mouth open, fast asleep in the chair. What is the protocol here?? I asked the candidate to wait outside. I prodded the Partner who eventually stirred (smelling of gin & tonic) but in nano seconds said “Now where were we?” as if nothing had happened! I explained to him that he had fallen asleep and he said “Nonsense! The chap was just unbelievably dull’. After a few minutes and an order of coffee for the interviewer, I convinced the candidate and Partner to resume the interview, which they did. The candidate didn’t get the job… I am not at all sure that he wanted to!

Head of Resourcing – Insurance Co (UK) True story – One of the recruiters on my team interviewed a candidate who wanted to examine the restroom prior to being interviewed. He then graced her with his presence by stating that the toilets were in exemplary condition and was happy to proceed with being interviewed. Fortunately he was easily rejected due to lack of technical expertise. Which role do you think he was applying for?

Senior Recruiter – Comms Co (UK) – Not an interview but based on a CV… received one in the UK from an overseas applicant….I wont go into a raft of detail on content – far too funny (or controversial) for global consumption – but under interests it simply stated ‘Breathing’ …. Oh I love those pigeon language translation tools on Google !!!!

Recruitment Manager – Engineering Co (UK) – In an old position I once worked in I had a lot of more junior positions to fill and used to love the weird and wonderful email addresses people now have an also wonder why on earth would you put it on a cv??? Here are a couple of choice ones I remember –
f* (there was no * there!)

Also I was once hiring for a customer service position in Glasgow when we had a candidate sent in via the job centre on the “back to work” scheme to give interviews to the long term unemployed. At the end of the short interview I asked what she likes to do outside of work/hobbies etc, The answer was “I like going out with my mates and getting belted like a rubber monkey” and “if I can remember getting home and remember who I’m with, it’s a bonus”. Whatever the first thing she said was I have no idea but answers on a postcard please !!! She never got the job !

Finally I got a CV in for a lady called “J Peace”, good CV so we brought her in and it turns out her first name was “Joyan”, my first thought was why do parents do that, Joyan Peace, must have been hippies, the interview never went that well and took a real downturn when I asked her does she have a brother called Warren !!!!

Recruitment Manager – Facilities Co (UK) Love these comments 😉

This was not an interviewee comment but something I received back from a line manager in response to my interview notes and recommendations on a candidate. (I should explain here that I work in the Space industry and well, basically, recruit Rocket Scientists).

So, having interviewed an Astronomer I duly sent my notes to the line manager and technical CV reviewer with an additional comment that whilst he seemed to have all the right technical skills he was a ‘bit of a mad scientist’ and so the line manager should consider if and how he would want to manage such a character and how this would affect his client relationships in an on-site situation.

The response I got was brilliant, bearing in mind the line manager himself had a forehead and hairdo like Einstein.

“‘Thanks for your comments, as we are all mad scientists here shouldn’t have any problems at all managing (said candidate) its all the normal people you keep sending me that scare me and the customer to death!!!!

Gotta love ’em!

Recruitment Manager – Engineering Co (UK) – One of my managers many moons ago was involved in reviewing the cv’s that were given to him by our over zealous graduate recruitment person. She had sent through to him a pile of over 500 cv’s that all had the correct degrees etc so theoretically could be suitable, but on seeing this his heart sank.

Unbeknown to me, he proceeded to tell his secretary that in life, it’s all a lottery and to get on in life you need to have luck as well as ability, at this point he split the pile in two and shredded one of them, when I asked what the bloomin’ heck had he done, he said “they weren’t lucky” !!!!

Thankfully we didn’t have that many people chasing applications, and the graduate recruiter doesn’t now pass on originals !!

Recruitment Director – Managment Consultants (UK) – I remember fondly the CVs I used to screen for quant analysts. I always love ones with hobbies included, because every so often you get a blinder. My memorable one was someone who stated “I have an avid love of emergency vehicles.” What?! He was invited in and the hapless candidate was provoked into talking about ambulances for 20 minutes by the unwillingly-curious hiring manager.

Also, calling back to spell checkers mentioned further up the thread, they aren’t infallible… I had a good chuckle when I found one man’s career had been unfairly cut short due to a woman…. His dates of employment were “January until Jane”.

Finally, emails – graduates are the worst. In the same campaign a few years ago we got both ‘princessbigboobies@xxxxxxx’ and ‘lilmissgangsta89@xxxxxx’ Neither were interviewed thankfully, despite calls from some corners…

Recruitment Director – Facilities Co (Netherlands) – I’ve just received a CV for a CV/Proposal Writer with fluent French and English, I wish I could post the whole thing but will share a few of the best bits with you:

The covering email reads:
“My professional experiences as well as my faculties of adaptation allow me to glimpse this activity.

I would be very happy to be part of a dynamic team in which I could show evidence my background and experience.
I join to the present my CV that I will comment orally at the interview.”

Now that SHOULD have prepared me for what the CV would read like but I have to admit crying with laughter by the end of it, and the extremely stressed bid director (who is not normally known for his sense of humour) thanked me for forwarding it and giving him a sense of reality in the middle of such a busy period…….

Here’s a few snippets:
Under “Personal and Hobby”
“Sense of the organization admin, good team spirit, prompt, able to work quickly, capacity of autonomy, sense of the deontology, capacity of call welcome, opened to the new ideas and formations.

Mind of initiative, facilitated of adaptation, smiling, easy contact.
Welcome & orientation customer.
Convivial, Elocution comfortable and excellent spelling”

(Er, What is a “sense of deontology”?)
(The BD said: Maybe I should try elocution comfortable, would it help with writing bids ?)

And under “Experiment” instead of Experience! …….
2001 – 2002 Commercial in insurance Blows saving & pension

The best is the: “languages; Anglais : good written and spoken” (“Anglais” in an English CV for a Proposal Writer?)

Gotta love those free on-line translation tools, eh!
Needless to say I won’t be short listing that one

Recruitment Manager – Oil & Gas Co (UK) – Brilliant!! Remember a couple of CV’s from my old agency days in particular that always made me chuckle.

One was from a candidate who applied for a junior customer services role. He was currently a part time cabaret dancer who also doubled as a waiter at a well known themed restaurant. He proceeded to state that he was officially a “natural born griller”!! I wanted to invite him for interview for that line alone.

Also received a CV from a senior IT professional in one of the world’s leading brands. For a reason that is still unknown to me, he had stated under interests that he was a skiing fanatic and that his nickname on the slopes was yellow racer! It was so out of character for his CV. However a few sentences later he also offered up his marital status. His status was “Single…..but in love”!! Awww bless!!

Loads more I could share including a CV from a candidate who explained a gap in their employment history away due to being held hostage in the Middle East!! Sure beats refurbishing an old house anyway!!

Senior Recruiter – Computer Software (Switzerland) – I got one with the same kind of gap explanation: “held hostage by Sadam Hussain, as humain shield”

A really like the Hobby part. I got a ” watching Discovery channel” from a Business Analyst. I also got a high percentage of “reading philosophy” in Receptionist CVs, i don’t really know why (i am now used to quote Kant at the end of this kind of interview – to be fair i had to check the quote on internet – and usually no reaction)

A particular cover letter was on the wall in my previous office, coming once again from a Business Analyst working for a really big bank producing specs. a 2 pages cover letter without any break, dot, and a very limited number of commas. And no, it was not a keyboard issue, i have asked….

Recruitment Manager – Transport Org (UK) – I interviewed a graduate candidate once who’s answer to the question “what would you say your weaknesses are?” replied straight away “chocolate”, paused, then added “ooohhh and shoes, definitely chocolate and shoes….”

I sat there with a stunned partner trying not to laugh out loud…


Candidate Interview Humour- sometimes you can only get by with laughter!

The following shows the funny side of the interviewers job. These have been lifted from a discussion of similar title on The FIRM’s LinkedIn Group pages. The names and companies have been removed so allow us to share!

Recruiter – Computer Software Co – I interviewed a fairly senior project manager the other day and he made me chuckle, we were having a fairly circumspect discussion about project teams and skill sets, when it came to a particular individual that we both had experience of, his reply was “well, for every teapot, a lid”.

I thought it was a great saying, and I resolve to use it in the future. If we look back I bet there are quite a few humorous experiences we could recall.

Has anyone else had a funny or bazaar experience you would like to share. Maybe we could sell it to Readers Digest 🙂

Recruiter – RPO Vendor – I interviewed a chap from India when I was in Australia and he asked what the rate was? I told him it was $300 day.

His response was “You look for Jesus Christ”, “You pay for Shepherd”

I just about fell off my chair……

Recruitment Manager – Big 5 Accounting Firm – I was running a panel assessment for a very polished sales exec from a competitor, (great experience, great presentation, excellent answers, solid examples etc etc). However, he was being a little illusive regarding his motivation to make a move. After a little more questioning he revealed that he recently started reporting to a new Sales Director and as much as he had tried to develop the relationship etc…it was not working. Concerned that this was around performance or maverick behaviors, we asked him to qualify his answer at which point he simply said, “Put it this way, the softest thing about her…is her teeth!”

It was just brilliantly random!

Recruitment Manager – Govt Health Services – A few years ago was explaining to a German candidate, that the role included a package, that involved company bens…he then proceeded to rant and rave about the differences between BMW, Mercedes and Audi. At this point I was at a bit of a loss, as to what the relevance of all this was, as we only gave car allowances…he then proceeded to announce he would only accept the offer if we gave him an Audi instead of a Benz…took me awhile to explain to him the company car allowance policy 🙂

Senior TA Manager – Compute Software Co – One of my Recruiters had a candidate turn up to an interview with his wife who sat in so she could help him decide whether he would/could take the job or not. My Recruiter made the choice for them both…..

International recruitment professional – Again not an interview but definitely unusal. Some time ago I was working in Kazakhstan, I received a CV from a Kazakh who was currently Chief of Police. Before that he was Chief of the ‘Drunk Tank’ and his job before that was as a ‘Chief Fur Mare Slaughterer’. Quite how he thought he was qualified to be a Geophysicist I’m not sure…On another occasion I was instructed by the office of the manager of the local unemployment service that I should interview him for ‘A Job’ with one of my Western oil company clients. When I got there and via 3 way interpretation – Kazakh to Russian, Russian to English & accompanied by much ranting/table banging & spittle flying from his mouth (I thought it was a joke, it wasn’t) he accused me of sleeping with my Kazakh female staff & demanded to know why I hadn’t found him a job & said he demanded one – NOW! I eventually managed to calm him down to the point that a bottle of vodka came out with 2 chipped and dirty tea cups which he filled & kept on filling, no escape!

Freelance Recruitment Specialist – Don’t know about funny but definitely bazaar, in the space of two weeks I have been trawling through job boards and on Linked In and came across MY exact details posted on other peoples skills summary and LI Profile! What is funny is both times when whizzing through the data I have stopped and thought- wow looks good and then the realisation kicks in!

Managing Director – Management Consultants – We have the fortunate position of being on the 26th floor of a great London building, and it is a view that many candidates admire every day. However an applicant for a PA’s position recently took great pains to clarify the fire escape procedure – when; how often; who was Fire Warden; had we ever had a real fire ??, when we asked what was causing so much worry (trying to be sensitive) they bit their lip………, looked at the floor and then asked what would happen if it was too tiring to walk down the stairs ??

Head of Recruitment – Construction Co – Some years ago, I received a resume from Iraq quoting engineering experience in the nuclear weapons research program on the same day that the IAEA inspection team was being ousted for overly vigorous inspections. I gave it the benefit of the doubt and assumed a languge problem before quietly putting it aside.

Head of Recruitment – Health Services – A few years back when in the public sector – I had a very nervous, eccentric character fiddling with his pen, and he managed to end up flinging it at my face to his horror. He then asked at the end as one of his questions “what is the first thing you are going to say about me when I walk out the room?” For that cheek – and to brighten up our days, he got the job!

Recruitment Manager – Financial Service Co – My old manager used the phrase “he says waving his wooden leg” (not sure of it’s meaning or origins even after having Googled it) but he said it right in front of one of my candidates at the client’s offices… who had a prosthetic leg. I knew he has a false leg because he’d told me when I asked if he had a disability that needed to be considered at the interview. As it wasn’t relevant, I never mentioned it having not thought he’d say anything like this, nor having never heard it before or since. He got the job in the end but my boss was rather embarrassed.

Recruitment Manager – Management Consultant –
I attended a graduate assessment centre last year, during an interview with a candidate I asked “Tell me about a relationship that you have formed in order to get a job or task done” (not a great question I know). The reply was “I would never have sex with some one to get a job done or for promotion.”

Recruitment Business Partner – Software Company – I interviewed someone a while ago now for a customer facing position. I asked a fairly straight forward question ‘what are main strengths as a communicator?’ to which I got the reply ‘I’m not very good at communication’ !!!!

Branding Manager – Broadcast Media Co – These are hilarious – I once interviewed a graduate who when asked about a difficult team working situation gave the example of a disagreement with a fellow student. When asked how it was resolved she said that the other student had come up to her afterwards and apologised. I then asked her how she responded and she replied “I said she could keep her apology and I would keep my distance”.. needless to say she didn’t get the job…

Another story was when a candidate sat down to a group exercise and opened a 2 litre bottle of sparkling water which immediately exploded onto the other candidates – the stunned silence that followed by the six soaked candidates was priceless.

Recruitment Manager – Financial Services Co. – That reminds me – I asked a candidate about a time she had to deal with a difficult colleague… her answer was that she threw a stapler at her. Solved her problem, didn’t get her the job with us though.

Recruitment Advisor – Engineering Consultants – I was interviewing for a Business Development Director a while back. When asked about his management style he said ‘Basically its my way or the highway’. Amazing.

Recruitment Manager – Law Firm – Last week I interviewed a rather nervous and un-talkative candidate so thought I’d open them up with a general question: “tell me about your ideal job?”. The candidate then went on to talk about how they’ve always wanted to run a tea and cake shop in Devon….

Ask a stupid question……..

Recruitment Officer – Computer Software Company – When recruiting an IT guy last year, my colleague asks at the usual questions at the end of the interview:
– Do you have any questions?
– Huh, yes, do you organize a Christmas Tree for kids?

The same candidate 10 minutes before:
“I find living between mountains very oppressive!!!

Come on, we are Switzerland based, mountains are everywhere!!!!

Technical Recruiter – Health Services – I had a day of interviewing graduating IT students on campus… always a challenging day. One student came in and he had a less than stellar academic record. Just barely a ‘C’ average. I normally start by giving the students a little info about the company and letting them know what I hope to accomplish in the interview. He stopped me before I could get through my first sentence and leaned back in his chair and told me that he didn’t need me to waste his time with all that information. He asked me to tell him immediately what his starting salary would be and when his start date would be.

I told him those were fair questions and answered that his starting salary would be zero and that he wouldn’t be starting with us, and then I asked him to please leave. He had an incredulous look on his face and asked me if things weren’t going well in the interview.


Talent Attraction Manager – Media Company – We have just been contacted by a Psychic asking if we have any job opportunities within xxxxxxxx for Psychics. We were soooo tempted to say ‘well you tell us…’

Recruitment Manager – Computer Software Co. – During the DOTCOM boom I worked for a well known new media agency aggressively recruiting for designers and developers. In the post one day we received a video tape, which we duly played in a discreet office. The opening scene was a woman doing her ironing in the front room who proceeded to introduce her wonderful son to us who had recently graduated with a media studies degree, she told us all about his strengths and how much his granny loved him and that he was always pleasant and had a tidy bedroom etc etc. Obviously it was all staged but it was without doubt the most creative job application we’d ever seen.

So I got the management team together in a meeting room and played it again, the tape went down very well indeed and everyone wanted to interview him. We even shared the experience at the Global HR conference in Florida to much amazement!

Yes of course we rang him to interview him but sadly we’d been beaten to it by 4 other companies, if I recall it took him less than 1 week from sending his CV out to being offered by 4 companies.

Pretty impressive for a grad!

I wonder what he is doing now?

Recruiter – Computer Games Co. – These are great. I received an email from a candidate yesterday that made me laugh out loud……
“Please find my updated CV attached, apologies for any incontinence”.

Recruitment Manager – Management Consulting – I once received an appalling application for a graduate position. It was filled with spelling and grammatical errors, littered with random ‘txt spk’. So we duly rejected the application. The candidate then emailed in to complain. The email was even worse than the application. So being in a good mood, I called to offer some ‘constructive feedback’, politely suggesting running an application through a spell checker before submitting it to an employer. And perhaps use one for any emails as well. The response was “but then you wouldn’t see the real me…!” I thought, ‘You’re right, I won’t…’

Recruitment Manager – Computer Software Co. – I was speaking with a very friendly and enthusiastic Graduate applicant recently who told me that he was the best person for the job. When I asked him to explain why he though that, he said “my dad said so!” – I did let out a little laugh I fear. I didn’t dare try and qualify how old he was

Senior Recruiter – Big 5 Accounting Firm -One of my colleagues was interviewing a candidate for a graduate role and asked about a time they had overcome a challenge. The candidate described a time when they had gotten involved in a talent contest on campus with some of his friends as part of a boy band. He thought that singing their song on stage would help him gain confidence. My colleague asked him how it went and the candidate gave her a strange look.. paused for a moment… and then started singing the song. It was ‘I want it that way’ by the Backstreet Boys. He realised what she was actually asking a couple of lines in and the interview never really recovered from there.

Recruiter – Insurance Co – I had a candidate (who was on mid £30ks) tell me that their 5 year plan was to be on a 5 figure salary……..
Unfortunately we weren’t able to help them get there.

Resourcing Adviser – Financial Services Co. – I was interviewing for a senior relationship manager a while back. When I asked the candidate where they see themselves in 3 years time she advised me that she would be a farmer! She then proceeded to brush imaginary crumbs of the desk for the next few minutes. Giving the feedback to the agency had the whole team falling of their chairs. I was later advised the candidate had drunk 4 espresso’s before the interview!!