Guru

Happy thoughts are order of the day

Yours Truly’s inbox is overflowing with examples of awful applicants and cantankerous candidates, so, like any good employee, he’s going to get through a few of them in a decidedly half-arsed manner.

Here are some highlights from the e-mails you have sent in detailing your recruitment woes:

  • “When asked: ‘What qualities would you bring to the organisation’, the sweetest young female graduate I have ever met responded (in her formal presentation) ‘happy thoughts’.” Anon
  • “His hobbies and interests state that when he was at school, he represented them in the 400m relay.” Disciple Emma
  • “We are a manufacturing firm and often receive applications from people interested in working in our ‘whorehouse’, as opposed to our ‘warehouse’.” Disciple Gemma

Be ready to man your battle stations

Anyone who’s recently attempted to recruit a top-notch candidate for any given role in their organisation will no doubt be aware that the nation is in the grip of a disease that academics have called ‘ability deficiency syndrome’, or ‘ads’ for short. This is ironic as many of these people can’t actually do addition, let alone subtraction, in the first place.

Now, in our sensationalist age, it takes quite a lot to make Guru sit up and take notice. However, one gloriously overblown press release came his way the other day based on the problems outlined above. If there is a war for talent, the person who sent this seems to have shellshock.

It was entitled: ‘Employers fight rear-guard action in war for talent’, and included the following paragraph:

“Many employers enter the market for talent blissfully unaware that it is already becoming a battlefield. This is a war fought by stealth and subversion rather than heavy artillery. Nobody is safe out there. Wear your flack jacket.”

By ‘eck! Time to build bomb shelters in the basement of your office. On second thoughts, maybe that should be dumb shelters, in recognition of all the substandard applicants out there who are fuelling this terrible conflict.

Not quite the right type for the job

Then again, maybe it’s employers who are just not paying enough attention to the talents on offer to them. Disciple Julia received the following typed letter (who on earth still types?) for a utility supervisor’s job. This chap seems adequately qualified, yet one feels he might not get the job. It is reproduced in all its surreal glory:

DEAR SIR,

FURTHER, TOO FOLLOWING YOUR ADVERT AS PER ENCLOSED AND ATTACHED FOR YOUR INFORMATION PURPOSES, MOST INTERESTED IN IT, PARTICULERLY MY AREA OF EXPERTISE WATER, 1981 (Uni) WITH A DEGREE IN SUPERVISORY INDUSTRIAL & COMMERCIAL MANAGEMENT, TO CORPORATE CHANGE AND THE WAY FORWARD. 1991.(college). M.A. LANGUAGES AND CULTURE TEACHING. TO NAME TWO OF SOME RECENT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS. BEEN IN THE ABOVE EMPLOY SINCE ITS INCEPTION 1987/88, AS A NEW FIRM GOVERNMENT START UP, AS ANTIQUARIAN AND O/P O/C SECONDHAND BOOKSELLERS, OCCASIONAL PUBLISHERS, TO LONDON AND CONTINENTAL STOCK AND COMMODITY MARKETS REASERACH ANALYSTS, SOME OF MY BEST PH.D THESIS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED ON THE FOLLOWING, WORKS, BASED UPON(etc, etc).

‘Some of my best thesis’? How many has he written?

The chap then signed off with an insane scribble, which can only be described as the daubing of a small child on crystal meth.

And yet such a talented fellow still can’t get a job, despite this gleaming array of experience and qualifications. Shame on you all.

Question of the week

Personnel Today is read throughout the known world, and in certain parts of the unknown world as well.

The following e-mail came from the US, where ‘Jo’ was wrestling with a particularly tricky dilemma:

Dear Personnel Today,

Hello from Atlanta, Georgia! Read your story this morning [about compensation in asbestos poisoning cases] and have a question: “It is estimated that claims for asbestos-related diseases could reach £20bn in the next 30 years.

Q: Is that 20 billion pounds?

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