Today, I had the pleasure of participating in the following conversation with a prospective new associate (hereafter referred to as Mary Jane) at the final stages of a very lengthy and costly application process.
Mary Jane: “I just got a call from the doctor’s office about my drug test results.”
Me, to myself: “And here we go…”
Mary Jane: “The doctor told me I tested positive for Marijuana?”
Me, to myself: “Why the statement in the form of a question? Were you expecting to have tested positive for something else?”
Mary Jane: “I am totally freaking out.”
Me, to myself: “You’re 45 years old, you should really put down the bong and stop using the sentiment, “totally freaking out.”
Mary Jane: “At first, I told her it must be some mistake. Then, I remembered I was hanging out with some old friends a few months ago and one of them had a joint we passed around.”
Me to myself: “Totally makes sense….that you would forget something so wildly out of character….”
Mary Jane: “It was the one and only time I have EVER smoked anything.”
Me, to myself: “If I had a dime bag for every time I heard that, I’d be a dealer.”
Here’s the thing….personally, I have no issues with Marijuana, or people who chose to smoke it. It’s the wasting of hundreds of dollars in resources and, quite frankly, my time, that I have a problem with.
I approach each interested applicant with the same goal in mind….to be as open and clear with regards to the process as possible. The intent is to give people the chance to drop out on their own, if necessary and with no questions asked.
Why? So that I can avoid the tears and pleas that often accompany these conversations. There are no loopholes. No amount of begging or tales of woe will sway the end result.
Drug Test Fail Excuses Hall of Shame….Inductees to Date:
“I promise I don’t smoke pot, but everyone in my family does and I can’t avoid them during the holiday’s. I always get a contact high.”
“Well, I recently had a hernia surgery and surgeries leave traces of cocaine.”
“I smoked it in a state where it’s legal.”
“There were mushrooms in the pasta a friend made me for dinner.”
“I was Ruffied…didn’t I mention it?”
To be continued…..I’m sure….
When I entered the professional workforce in 2002, the term, “digital age” didn’t mean much to me. Though the digital evolution had apparently been in full swing since the advent of the digital watch in the 1970’s, I was generally oblivious to any major technological advances beyond my television, VCR and the giant desktop computers in my college computer lab.
I knew a few people with cell phones, but it was a rarity to see anyone absorbed by one….they didn’t really do anything all that interesting and sending a text cost somewhere between one-hundred and one-million dollars. I didn’t see the point regardless, since you could easily pick up a landline telephone and make a call, or wait and just talk in person.
Social media didn’t exist, unless you count chat rooms….We didn’t communicate with hashtags and the only things that went viral were communicable diseases. I used the internet, but sparingly. If I wanted to learn about something, I read a book or asked someone I thought might know. “Google it” was not a part of my vocabulary.
I had an email address, but I rarely received or sent mail electronically. I still preferred to hand write most of my correspondence to family and friends on personal stationary, cards or colorful notebook paper and my desk had a substantial supply of envelopes and stamps at the ready.
So, upon my college graduation when it came time to job search, I headed to the local 7-Eleven, picked up the newspaper and commenced scouring the “Help Wanted” ads. Once I had identified all the opportunities I was interested in pursuing, I would spend hours agonizing over creating the perfect, job specific, cover letter for each opportunity, hoping my efforts would attract the attention of the hiring manager and set me apart from other interested applicants.
Once my cover letter and resume were polished to perfection, off I would go to the library where I would spend ten-cents a page to fax my documents to the hiring manager. Then, I would swing by my local post office where I would also mail a copy of my cover letter and resume so that the hiring manager would receive a fresh, pretty copy that had been printed on fancy resume/cover letter paper.
Next step, wait a few days and then call the hiring manager to confirm receipt of my resume, reiterate my interest in the opportunity and inquire as to when I might be able to come in and discuss my qualifications in person.
Fast forward only twelve years later and I may as well have been chiseling my resume in stone and sending it via passenger pigeon to prospective employers….things have clearly changed. Most companies will only accept resumes and applications submitted through the company website via their employment link or by applying through the big three; Monster, Career Builder and Indeed.com.
It’s rare to see the name and contact information of a hiring manager included in job postings and often, the ads will include a warning of sorts not to call or stop by uninvited to inquire about the status of an application. One simply answers a series of loaded questions, uploads a resume, clicks “submit” and waits for an electronic response that may or may not come.
Yes…hiring managers are no longer readily accessible, but it doesn’t mean it’s any less important to make a good first impression….you just do it electronically.
Similar to a lot of organizations, my company utilizes an HR software program to track, communicate and ultimately disposition applicants. Our system allows me to send batch emails to dozens of applicants at once for a variety of openings throughout the company. Though the messages are essentially generic in content, I make sure to always include a greeting and a thank- you to the applicant(s) for their interest and resumes. I end with an offer to participate in a preliminary interview on a pre-determined date and sign off with my actual first and last name and direct email for responding to firm up an interview time and meeting location. It’s about as personal as I can make it given the tools and parameters I have to work with.
More often than not, I get a response similar to this:
“Yeah OK 2” from email address Boobylicious25.
Hmmmm….what does one do with this? No greeting, no identifiable information to narrow down the applicant by actual name, or the job opening and location for which she (I assume) is responding. What I would like to do, is respond as follows:
Since you are either too lazy or too stupid to formulate an actual sentence, I have decided you are either too lazy or too stupid for further consideration.
But, I don’t. I respond respectfully, but somewhat tersely and then move on to the next gem awaiting me in my email box….which brings me to the advice piece of this blog post….in case anyone reading this stumbled across my blog while looking for job hunting tips….choose your email address wisely…..if “Boobylicious25” is how you are identifiable to family and friends and perhaps the adult entertainment industry, then maybe it’s an appropriate moniker, but if you would like to be taken seriously as another type of professional, Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc., all offer the ability to create a more HR friendly email address free of charge and these days….your email address is part of your overall first impression.
Job Seeker Email Address Hall of Shame…Inductees to Date:
hotlips42@I sincerely hope you had to select the number 42 because 41 other stupid people selected this email address and not because you are actually 42 years old, because really, that’s sad.org
freshnfancy@This sounds like you are a feminine hygiene product.com
puffpuffgive1@We do pre-employment drug testing, so this probably isn’t going to work out.net
thedude@Jeff Bridges is that you.com
slugginthrough@Not a good indicator of your overall ambition.com
hotmommy@I highly doubt it.org
themeds@It depends on what kind of meds.com
gotta-get-the-jobey@You probably aren’t going to get this job’y.net
To be continued….