Volume 36, Issue 7, July 2001
Don't Believe Everything You Read
Recently I went back to school to obtain my master’s in business administration. One day while I was eating lunch with a few of my classmates the talk of resumés came up. What do I look for? What will I do with mine? What’s the funniest one you’ve seen? As the guys were talking, I flashed back to some of the classic resumés and applications we’ve had submitted here at the plant and I chuckled aloud.
Last summer we (along with 3,000 other companies), were looking for a truck driver. We placed an ad and received a quick response. One cover letter in particular was impressive as the candidate proclaimed, “My safe driving record is not the only thing I’m proud of. I’m also proud of my continued safe handling of our sensitive cargo. During my tenure, we have had virtually no rejects of products that I’ve hauled.”
I was intrigued to say the least and wondered what the cargo was. It must be light bulbs or maybe some sort of lethal gas. My mind was a flutter: we may be in line to hire a guy who cares about the product so much that it’s a selling point. So many times with glass deliveries, the guys are careful, but only to a point. To have a guy who may do whatever it takes to keep the product from being damaged—now that would be a great start.
I read on and was still impressed when I read that he was “installed as transportation safety manager, with specific duties training a workforce in the proper handling and delivery of our product.”
So I started to wonder why this guy was available. Then I read that his “wife was transferred to your city and despite my feeling about my job, it was a better move for our family for us to follow her. Thus, I am available at any time to talk more.”
I flipped to the second page and looked over his actual resumé. My jaw dropped when I saw that the precious material he was hauling was none other than … FROZEN BAGELS. I didn’t realize bagels were so fragile. I called him if only to make sure that these weren’t bagels filled with propane or decorative glass.
During our call he told me he had another job already and that the number of calls he received amazed him. He confirmed to me that yes, he had hauled bagels, but no one ever took him seriously when he sent out his old resumé so he figured he’d spice it up a little bit. Judging from what the reaction was, I’d say it worked. After all, he got me to call.
Not What He Seems
The other resumé that sticks out is from the opposite end of the spectrum. While “Bagel Man” was legitimate, we’ve received our share of resumés from folks who are not what they say.
The one that comes to mind was from a person who listed his excellent math skills as one of his strong points. He also stated that he had taken advanced college-level calculus classes and that he excelled at all math-related activities. I was impressed because the only math I’m good at is determining sports teams’ win-loss records. We brought him in for an interview, but before we talk with candidates, they fill out a standard application and take a basic math skills test. Basically, this test shows if applicants can read a tape measure and it involves some adding of fractions. (The test even features a picture of a tape measure.)
After this person finished the test we called him in. While he was talking I was looking over his exam—he missed everything. It was amazing; he didn’t even come close. So I asked him about his math skills. He seemed uneasy but stated, “That math you have there is not normal math.” I asked him what normal math was and he said it was “numbers without the lines in them.”
I guess the moral to the story is truly don’t believe everything you read, especially if it’s a resumé.
Max Perilstein is vice president/general manager of PDC Glass of Michigan. His column appears bimonthly.
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