Everyone thinks recessions are bad, and if you end up unemployed, a
recession is undoubtedly bad for you. But let’s be honest: In many ways,
it rocks for the rest of us, especially CEOs.
still have our jobs, and while it may be a little more difficult
to perform it successfully, at least we face a little less competition
thanks to all you sloths who have been downsized, and all you marginal
companies who went under.
Best of all, when we advertise to fill a position, we get a lot more
people to choose from than we usually get! Now,
as columnist Morry Stettner points out, this is a bit of a mixed
blessing, as it also means you have more work to do sifting through the
would add this caveat as well: A lot of the people who lose their jobs
during a recession got spit out by the economy for a reason. Recessions
are when you can’t afford to keep people around who don’t produce, but
by the same token, you can’t afford not to keep people around who
produce at a high level. Presumably the newly unemployed fit into the
former category and not the latter.
Stettner recommends some steps to weed out the weaker candidates from
among your resume pile – stuff like e-mailing them and asking them to
respond to a specific question in two days, then eliminating anyone who
That all makes sense, but I’d like to recommend some weeding steps of my
own. These will cut down the pile so fast, it will look like a
full-employment-era pool before you know it!
Anyone who lists an
objective on their resume is out. I know what your objective is! To
get a job! That’s why you made a resume. If you thought I needed to
be told that, you would be impossible to have around. Next!
Anyone who lists
their high school under the education section is out. If your
qualifications are so thin that you need to include this to pad the
resume, take your credentials and head over to Taco Bell. Oh, and
while you’re going, do they still have Chalupas? Those were
Anyone who got a
degree in “general studies” is out. I realize there is much we can
learn from our fine, decorated generals, but seriously, don’t you
think you should get a more well-rounded education than just
learning about Patton, MacArthur, Grant, et al?
Anyone who uses
more than one font on the resume is out. If you would expend the
time required to change fonts on your resume – an action that
delivers no value whatsoever – how might you waste time working for
Anyone who lists
their home phone number above their cell phone number is out.
If you still think of your home phone as your primary phone number,
you are going to be harder than I prefer to get ahold of in case of
an emergency, which I define as any time I feel like getting in
touch with you. To my way of thinking, clinging to home phone
service is acceptable only as a last-ditch fallback in case you lose
your signal or something. And even then, why would you give the
number out? I have no idea if you’re home, but I know you have your
cell phone with you. Or you should, speaking of which . . .
This one will
eliminate a lot of people. Call the applicant’s cell phone. If they
don’t answer right away, they’re out! I might be persuaded to grant
amnesty to anyone who calls me back within 10 minutes, tops, but
that’s it. What’s the reason for this one? Have you ever had an
employee who didn’t always carry their cell phone with them, or
didn’t always keep it turned on? What planet are these people living
on? I don’t think I’ve turned my phone off the entire time I’ve had
it. (The time I dropped it in the lake doesn’t count because I
didn’t mean to do that.) Why would you ever turn off
your phone? What? There’s a sign at the library that says you have
to? Then don’t go to the library!
Anyone who writes
“references available upon request” is out. Why are you going to
make me go to the trouble of requesting them? Give me the
references. And while I understand why you don’t list your current
employer, you’d better believe I want all other previous employers.
Oh, and if you list your mother (and you wouldn’t believe how many
times I’ve seen this), you’re out!
describes themselves as “enthusiastic” or “eager to learn” is out.
Because that’s stupid. If you say you “love people,” I’ll let it
slide as long as you make an exception for me.
There. That should make the process a lot easier. And hey! What are you
doing re-reading it? Save yourself the trouble. You don’t have a chance.