Certifiably High IQ
Over on CNN.com the other day, there was a mildly interesting article from CareerBuilder on odd-ball things that people put on their résumés.
One of the odd-ball things cited was the fellow who, in applying for an entry level job, put down that he was a "Pig Wrestling Champion." The hiring manager dinged the guy because the experience wasn't directly applicable to the position he was looking for.
Sure, the applicant may have given TMI - weight of the pig? - but I have a slightly different response. I think that this experience speaks to determination, a competitive instinct, and the willingness to get your hands dirty (in this case, quite literally - or at least I assume so).
While I never saw anything as interesting as pig wrestling on a résumé, reading the article did set me off on a bit of a muck-wallow into some of the things I have seen (or not seen) over many years of résumé-reading.
Eons ago, I saw someone who, under the heading "accomplishments", listed 'home-owner, father of two'.
Now, admittedly, both of these are accomplishments of sorts, and it's nice that the fellow was house- and kid-proud. Still, he would have been better off putting 'father of two' under a "personal" heading - do these even exist on résumés any more? - and leaving off the home-ownership. (Although nowadays, hanging on to your home may be an excellent sign of fiscal probity and rectitude.)
In the same raft of applications, there was another fellow who, at the top of his résumé, had written "Certifiably High IQ," later revealed to be 110. (Okay, I just found a site that shows the 110-119 range to be "superior", as in "superior" to "normal." Still, if you're going to brag about your IQ - and you really and truly shouldn't be doing so directly - maybe you should be Marilyn vosSavant or something.)
When I was in B-School, the outgoing second-year students participated in accepting the incoming class - which meant reading a lot of interesting applications.
My favorite was someone who claimed that after his junior year in college, he'd done "strategic planning for GM."
Well, that may explain what happened to GM, but I did have my doubts about whether he'd been the strategic planner he described himself as, or someone who sat around with a TI calculator - this was before Excel, or even Multiplan - and toted up numbers. (I wonder what became of this applicant. I do know that he never made it to the Sloan School.)
Fast forward a number of years, to the time when I interviewed a guy who was applying for the VP of Development at a small software firm I worked at. Under personal attributes, he had written that he was exceedingly adept at conflict resolution. Which would have been fine with me if, during the course of our interview, he hadn't tried to pick a couple of fights with me by insulting our collateral and website, which - it should have been obvious to him - I was responsible for. Maybe he meant that he was good at resolving conflicts that he'd precipitated, but I never did get to find out, as we gave him a pass.
One of the weirdest - in retrospect - résumés I ever saw was that of a young woman applying for an admin position at the same software company.
In truth, I don't remember exactly what was on her résumé, but I guess we weren't very good at vetting candidates.
After she was hired - against my recommendation, I must say* - and was already exhibiting major signs of not working out, she came into my office, revealed that she had an EE degree from a fairly prestigious school, that she had worked as an EE for a fairly well-known technology company, and that - after being left at the altar - had suffered a nervous breakdown.
Which, of course, made me very interested in her work- and personal plightiness, and more than willing to help her with her overbearing and demanding boss.
And which just might explain why a few days later I encountered this young woman, who looked like Alice in Wonderland (prissy Disney version), in the ladies' room cursing out her boss in language that would make Bluto blush. And why a few days after that, when her boss asked her how things were going, she said "Fine" while dragging her fingernails down the full length of his office door.
For a number of reasons that included not only the above, but enough ins-and-outs to fill a couple of telenovelas, we had to let this person go.
For a while there, I was concerned for her safety, not to mention that of her manager, not to mention that of our little company. But she went away quietly.
I haven't looked at mine lately.
All I know is how bummed I was when "combat-boot polisher in a shoe factory" fell off. A lot more credible an entry - at least in the way-back, when we actually made things in the US - than strategic planner for GM.
*I make no claim to being a particularly able hirer. Yes, most of the people I hired (or helped hire) worked out, but I had several bad hires where I clearly ignored signals as loud as the dive klaxon on a submarine. In the case of Alice in Wonderland, however, my reasons for not wanting to hire her had nothing to do with suspecting her instability. I just thought she would be too meek and mild to stand up to her overbearing and demanding boss. So, I was both right and wrong.
We ended up hiring candidate #2, who had been my recommendation to begin with, and she worked out fairly well. (At least she could hold her own with her overbearing and demanding boss.)