Job application WTFs



  • Recently somebody posted a job ad on CraigsList with a contact e-mail very similar to mine (without giving too much away, their address is of the form bar.foo@example.com while mine is just foo@example.com).  This led to me getting a couple of dozen misaddressed job inquiries (which is WTF #0 -- especially the ones who did it twice).

    I don't know about anybody else, but I always heard that when you're applying for a job, you put your best foot forward.  I've always had this naive idea that people actually did that, or at least made the effort.  But some of these e-mails left me scratching my head wondering if English grammar, spelling, punctuation and formal writing style may simply be well and truly dead.  Herewith some of the gems (all names and phone numbers are of course changed):

    "Hi My name is John Doe phone # nnn nnn nnnn" [that was the entire message -- the Subject: was "job"]

    "hello iam wanting apply for your job postings on craigslist plz call me @nnn-nnn-nnnn iam John or email me back plz thank you." [the entire message -- Subject: "forklift opeerator"]

    "IF YOUR LOOKING FOR A HARD DEPENDABLE WORKER IM YOUR MAN.IM RESPONSIBLE AND HAVE A GREAT WORK RECORD."  [No Subject:, but he included a resume whose Objective stated "To obtain a full time job with your company allowing me to enhance my skills for advancements opportunities. I was a crew leader maintaining the beauty of one of Hilton head largest plantation. Im ready to work and willing to learn"]

    "Hello I seen you ad on craigslist for the warehouse jobs my brother and I are hard workers ..."  [Later sent another one: "hello I seen your ad on craigslist for the warehouse jobs my brother and I are both looking for a job"]

    "Included is all my current contact information to set up an interview (wink-wink)."

    "My name John i can be reached at nnn-nnn-nnnn  looking for warehouse work." [the entire message, no Subject:, no resume]



  •  Maybe this is why it took so long for me to get a job!  Correct English spelling and grammar is now a minus, from my experience.  (sad-face)



  • There's a company in San Diego that may be interested in flying them out, all expenses paid.



  • I felt bad for my co-worker who was tasked with posting jobs to security-jobs@securityfocus.com because there would always be a deluge of emails like that, and he would have to dig to find the ones that actually weren't brutally terrible.

    I guess that's why a lot of places have an automatic filter that will check your submitted stuff for keywords before even bothering to show it to a human.



  • @rbowes said:

    I guess that's why a lot of places have an automatic filter that will check your submitted stuff for keywords before even bothering to show it to a human.
     

    The trouble with that is the number of resumes that take advantage of keyword-matching by having large sections of nothing but acronym salad.  I've seen a few of those where I work and it always puts my antennae up.  Usually I find the relationship between total number of acronyms and skill with any particular one is an inverse function.



  • @Kensey said:

    The trouble with that is the number of resumes that take advantage of keyword-matching by having large sections of nothing but acronym salad.  I've seen a few of those where I work and it always puts my antennae up. 

    Hey, sometimes it works to weed them out faster! Like those claiming 5 years experience on Microsoft Linux, 20 years experience in Java, or managing distributed transactions with Access.



  • If I understand you correctly, they were looking for a warehouse worker. You should not be surprised that the people applying there did not write perfect applications like you would expect from people applying for a senior developer position.



  • @ammoQ said:

    If I understand you correctly, they were looking for a warehouse worker. You should not be surprised that the people applying there did not write perfect applications like you would expect from people applying for a senior developer position.

     

    Living and working in Korea, I handle a lot of applications for the few jobs in my company that require English speaking skills. Our work, though not related to software, very much requires people who can read and write in an accurate, proper, and formal style.

    Most of the applications we get from non-native English speakers (mostly South and South-East Asian) have some errors, but you can see they put a little effort into writing their resumes and cover letters.

    The level of applications from American and Australian expatriates, however, is absolutely horrendous. The look like they wrote them in notepad.exe using their elbows. After a too many long island ice teas.

    And let's not forget the pictures they include. You would expect a formal headshot, but a lot of the pictures seem to have been taken at the tail end of some pretty nasty parties. Also, some people send a picture taken in front of a mirror, with the camera visible.

    I don't know what they teach in American and Australian colleges, but formal English does not seem to be in the curriculum.

    Basically, I sort the resumes in two piles: Native speakers and non-native speakers. The non-native ones I forward upstairs, and native ones I show around our department for laughs.



  • @baeksu said:

    And let's not forget the pictures they include. You would expect a formal headshot, but a lot of the pictures seem to have been taken at the tail end of some pretty nasty parties. Also, some people send a picture taken in front of a mirror, with the camera visible.

    I never understood this.  Is it some kind of British thing?  In America people do not send photos of themselves with resumes.  That would be retarded.

     

    @baeksu said:

    I don't know what they teach in American and Australian colleges, but formal English does not seem to be in the curriculum.

    Basically, I sort the resumes in two piles: Native speakers and non-native speakers. The non-native ones I forward upstairs, and native ones I show around our department for laughs.

    You're making a fundamental reasoning error here.  Looking at the pool of people who have learned a second language versus those who have not you would see that the former group would have a higher median IQ and would be more driven and professional.  Essentially you're weeding out the crappy non-native resumes by making a second language a requirement.

     

    The real question is why you aren't getting any quality resumes from native speakers.  The most likely reason is that the intelligent and professional native speakers are avoiding your company like it was a dead hooker in an alleyway.  So instead of making baseless claims about the quality of an education system you clearly know nothing about, perhaps you should ask yourself what it is about your company that is driving away intelligent native English speakers.  Maybe it has something to do with the ignorant ethnocentrism that your post reeks of.



  • @ammoQ said:

    If I understand you correctly, they were looking for a warehouse worker. You should not be surprised that the people applying there did not write perfect applications like you would expect from people applying for a senior developer position.
     

    I expect proper spelling and at least some demonstration of basic literacy in a job application, no matter what job it's for.  That's how I was taught, but many of these e-mails demonstrated a stunning lack of either skill.

    Of course another WTF is that I see far too many resumes for senior IT staff that are just as bad if not worse relative to the standard they ought to be living up to.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @baeksu said:

    And let's not forget the pictures they include. You would expect a formal headshot, but a lot of the pictures seem to have been taken at the tail end of some pretty nasty parties. Also, some people send a picture taken in front of a mirror, with the camera visible.

    I never understood this.  Is it some kind of British thing?  In America people do not send photos of themselves with resumes.  That would be retarded.

     

    It's definately not a British thing - and for the majority of positions you could probably be prosocuted for asking for photos (unless it is an acting or modelling job!).

    The only reason I can see for it seems to be to weed out races you don't like without asking someone what race they are.

    I'm so glad I live in a country that does not behave like this!



  • @Kensey said:

    I expect proper spelling and at least some demonstration of basic literacy in a job application, no matter what job it's for.  That's how I was taught, but many of these e-mails demonstrated a stunning lack of either skill.

     

    If I was to hire warehouse workers, I wanted them to be honest, assiduous, flexible (overtime, weekends etc.) and clever enough to do their job. Proper spelling is not a requirement. Basic literacy... well, I've heard of warehouse workers who were completey illiterate but did their job well.



  • @GettinSadda said:

    The only reason I can see for it seems to be to weed out races you don't like without asking someone what race they are.

    Which is shitty, but actually beneficial to the people being weeded out.   Instead of wasting their time with an interview only to be weeded out due to their race they can instead focus only on the non-racist employers.  So ironically, not allowing an employer to ask for photos is actually hurting minorities instead of helping.



  • @baeksu said:

    Living and working in Korea, I handle a lot of applications for the few jobs in my company that require English speaking skills. Our work, though not related to software, very much requires people who can read and write in an accurate, proper, and formal style

    [snip]

    I don't know what they teach in American and Australian colleges, but formal English does not seem to be in the curriculum.

     

     

    To be fair you would find roughly the same percentage of Koreans who are unable to write perfect Korean as you have Aussies/Americans/Britons unable to write perfect English.

    Unfortunately Wikipeda doesn't have any answers either way about the literacy rate.

    What it all really comes down to is that native speakers of a language, or long term speakers who have lived with the native speakers, are more comfortable using local jargon which in turn makes their writing style more varied and not as formal as those who learned it as a second language, whose language usage is quite dry. You will find this in any language since spoken language will heavily influence, but is not the only influence, how written language is composed.

    Also, may I inquire about what type of work you do exactly? The trade very much depends on the type of education that someone has had, and thus the type of language they use. I wouldn't expect someone like a truck driver or carpenter to be able to write Shakespeare, although by your description I presume it might be related to some kind of publication. I would love to see some examples of resumes which you think are a WTF.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.