Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Adventures In Recruiting: Great Quotes Over The Years

I thought it would be fun to share some of the more absurd things that both candidates and clients have said to me.

No Words Can Explain
When I told a candidate about a potential job, “Do they have private offices? My lease is up soon and I may have to stay at work for a while.”

Said by an HR director at J. Walter Thompson when giving me a job order to replace a departing account person who was going to Margeotes, Fertitta, Weiss (one of the best and most successful of the small agencies in the 1990’s), “Imagine, leaving here to go to an agency whose name you cannot pronounce.” Unfortunately, she was serious.

Sore Loser
Said by a candidate who did not get a job after four weeks of intensive interviewing and going back too many times to count: “Well, I didn’t like them, anyway.”

Sore Loser, Too
Said by a candidate who did not get a job at Chiat/Day in their earlier days, “I guess it is a good thing.  I don’t look good in jeans.”

The reason given by an account supervisor who wanted to leave Chiat/Day after only a week (I had not placed her there), “I have to do my own Xeroxing.”

She Doesn’t Get It
The entire email sent by a candidate who instead of returning my call to tell her about a potential opportunity wrote, “I no longer require your services.”

An HR Director Who Didn’t Get It
“The trouble with you recruiters is that you want feedback.  I don’t have the time for that s­­%@t---”

A Hiring Manager Who Didn’t Get It
Said after  I sent three really great candidates, “I don’t want to use you any more.  You only send me two or three candidates and I need to interview at least ten or twelve people.” Quantity over quality.

When I first was recruiting in the 80’s, I worked out of my living room.  I was interviewing a woman while my wife was in the bedroom.  I swear this is true: “What can I do to get you to get me a job?” said she as she was unbuttoning her blouse. Well, it was the 80’s.

Get Over It
When I asked a candidate about a potential job, she asked me if a certain gentleman worked there.  When I answered yes, she told me that he was an “ass” and she wouldn’t work at any company that would hire him.  When I asked her why, she said, simply, “I was once engaged to him.”  I guess that is as good a reason as any for passing up an opportunity.

For Real?
The reason I use you is because you know the business.  That saves us the trouble of writing job specs and descriptions. Compliment yes. Direction no.

The Wife As Unseen Client
“I can’t hire her. She is way too pretty.  I will have to travel with her.  If my wife ever met her, she would castrate me.”


  1. Replies
    1. Hey, when I started, I worked in my dad's mail room and handled the mimeograph machine!

    2. "I love the smell of Gestetner in the morning."

  2. Sorry if this posted earlier

    Me: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? (Sorry for that question but it was an unplanned interview for an AAE position at A&P--not the grocery store one)

    SHE: Running an Inn

    ME: Perfect

    1. Love it. Thanks for sharing. Next time I post (Jan 6th), I am going to tell the story of a senior person who did the same thing. People just don't think.

  3. My favorite question ever was still from when I was interviewing for my first copywriting job out of college:

    "Did you go to SVA? No? [pushes portfolio away without having opened it] Then you can't possibly be any good."

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Xeroxing...that's great. It's sort of like saying "Jacuzzi" for a hot-tub, "Kleenex" for facial tissue, or "Chapstick" for lip balm...just to name a few :-).

  6. Paul ... Loved your "OMG!" anecdote. Too bad your wife was home. Which may help explain why I have two ex-wives. LOL and best for the holidays, Bill

  7. Paul, You didn't finish the OMG story. So what happened?? .
    Just kidding.

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