Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Adventures In Recruiting: Crazies And Eccentrics I Have Known

When I started recruiting, it never occurred to me that I was actually dealing with the general public.  But with so many people I have met, that is the truth.  On a bell shaped curve, some fall into the upper 2%, but some fall on the left side of the curve in the bottom 2%.

I thought it would be fun to briefly recount some of the “crazies” and eccentrics I have met.  Suffice to say that I don’t work with any of them.
  • There was the woman who refused to come to my office for an interview, despite me being well known.  She told me, “I don’t go to men’s offices.”
  •  There was the guy who wouldn’t give me his address.  It turns out he was saving money by not paying rent during the summer. He was literally living under a park bench on Long Island.
  •  There was the woman who unbuttoned her blouse in order to try to convince me to send her out on interviews.
  • There was a man who refused to tell me where he currently worked or what he worked on, “For reasons of security”.
  •  There have been several “new business” people who claimed to be able to move an account with them. But when I contacted the ad or marketing manager of the business, they either didn’t know this person or hadn’t been in contact with them or had no intention of changing agencies.
  • There was an account guy who did primal screams in the middle of the day and saw nothing wrong with it. He told me he could not share and office and could not work at an open plan office.  Not surprisingly, he was out of work.
  • There was a guy who sent a résumé under a false name; he even had an email account. When I met him he told me his real name, but did not want me to identify him to my clients until after he received an offer.
  • There was a woman who heard about a job at a company and asked me to change her name on her résumé.  It seems she had worked there before and didn’t want them to know it.
  • In the days of snail mail there was a guy who used a false address on his résumé, “So he didn’t get junk mail.”  He never told me. When his offer letter was returned marked “address unknown” his offer was withdrawn.  He told me he did not expect a letter, just an email.
  • There was a group account director, a notorious screamer, who has been let go many times. He screamed at me for not sending him out.  He then sent me an insulting email rant, which ended with, “If you don’t send me out, I will never use you to recruit for me”.  He never had before.
  • I was about to hire a recruiter.  I called her on a Saturday morning to make her an offer.  She cursed at me (literally) and screamed that I had no business calling her on a weekend and that I was stealing her personal time.  I did not make the offer.
  • I got a call from a client. He had just fired a person I had placed a year prior for making a huge mistake in scheduling; it cost the agency a lot of money.  She told him it was my fault because she did not like being there.  The client and I both had a good laugh.


  1. People are unreal! Highly entertaining though.

  2. What about crazies I have worked with? How do we set up a parallel entry for those! A boss who once told me he was a great lover, his wife just didn't realize it....and so many more...

  3. @Unknown. That is funny. Sitting where I do, I hear so many absurd and outrageous stories about bosses and co-workers. I once worked with a guy who had a girlfriend. Both showed up at the office one afternoon. Each knew about the other, but they had never met before. What followed was really funny to everyone else except the three people involved.

  4. I once (long time ago) interviewed for the management training program at one of the 3 networks. 3 out of 5 interviews took place in offices that were only lit by large TV's with the sound turned down.

    1. Philip: I don't know about the lighting, but at the networks and O&O's, all the executives take great pride in having multiple TV sets turned on with no sound all day. I was an account guy and worked on Channel 7 in New York and they told me that my full account team, including creative, should at least have their station on all day. We all found it to be an annoying distraction. :-). But I guess that is a status thing at the broadcast companies.

  5. The account planner who refused to wear shoes around the office. Or socks.

    The young creative team who lived, literally, under the desk in their shared cube for several weeks.

    The many (many) women having affairs with their bosses and thought that no one knew.

    The executive who had sex in the restroom and thought no one knew.

    The director who shaved his eyebrows and hair, Travis Bickle style, the night before shooting a scene with children. He scared the crap out of them and one had to be coaxed onto the set at all.

    The coworker who came in with the exact same new haircut and color as me, one week later. (And was called Single White Female for weeks.)

    Advertising is fun!

    1. @Mom: Haha. Love your list. But at least they were all employed and not looking for jobs!

    2. Some were looking soon enough. Coincidentally.

  6. On the floor: "I did not make the offer."

  7. The girl who sat and dug around in her ear for a good thirty seconds, the guy who turned up in the tightest pants I have ever seen. The guy who was so unbelievably arrogant that I sent him feedback in an email. The guy who came to his first interview with two women wearing a full suit and tie and came to his second with a shirt open t his navel. The guy who turned up on his first day, called his boss babydoll and answered his phone (what up bro was the greeting in case you were interested) in the first meeting.

    1. Emily, laughing so hard. "What up bro." Genius.

  8. These are great! Keep 'em coming! I had the senior executive who dyed his hair to look younger, but it turned his hair green (and we were all expected not to notice). The copywriter who indulged in liquid lunches, so we knew never to set up meetings with her in the afternoon. The junior AE and junior producer who were in a very volatile relationship - one of them was always storming into the other's office, slamming the door, and indulging in screaming matches (which of course we all gathered in the hallway to eavesdrop on - great entertainment). The senior exec who would get drunk at the holiday party and insist that all the junior women take a turn sitting on his lap. The copywriter who got kicked out of his apartment and moved into his office, hiding all his clothes in his credenza. He'd sleep on the couch in his EVPs office, and then leave the building around 6 am to go shower at his gym. The guy who showed up to an interview with a large (open) bag of Twizzlers and proceeded to offer them to me while munching on them throughout the interview (and no I didn't hire him, even though I kind of like Twizzlers).

  9. The billing clerk who lived in one of the offices - bed folded up in a closet - who would brag about picking up young male prostitutes on 3rd Ave. at night and bringing them back to the office.


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