The Shoe In
By Mark Bowytz
Once word hit that certain departments within South England Financial were going to be outsourced, employees naturally started to get a bit nervious. Being a contractor — and therefore exempt from any kind of nice severance package — Jon Kipper was determined to find a new job before the axe fell.
After about a month of tossing his resumé out into the world, Jon received a call from a very perky recuriter regarding a position that was almost a dead ringer to what he was doing. Although the position was in London — a good two hours from his flat by train — Jon liked the idea of working in the big city with all the glitz and glare.
"I tweaked your resumé a bit to make it look a little more professional, and the guys at PoshBank were very impressed and are keen to meet you" he joyfully exclaimed. "Just between you and me, I think you're a shoe-in for the job." He went on to explain that the folks at PoshBank had been searching for months for just the right candidate and, of all the applicants submitted, only Jon was considered worthy of an interview. All he really had to do was just show up.
Unable to resist a sure thing, Jon gathered up his best suit, requested a day off at his current job (unpaid, obviously) and booked the extortionate train tickets to London.
When the day of the interview arrived, Jon was pumped up and ready to go. Just to make sure that he was well prepared, Jon took along a manilla envelope containing a copy of the Job Description, a few extra copies of his resumé, and an article about the 20 most-asked interview questions at mega-sized financial institutions. The latter would be perfect for the time sitting on the train to rehearse a few questions and then hopefully win the hearts of the big bad London boys.
Jon arrived in good time and was quickly introduced to the friendly interviewers: the Head of IT. After a few straightforward questions on Active Directory, Jon's nerves were under control and the interviewer moved on to address one of the points on his resumé.
"Lotus Notes..." he began.
This is going to be a walk in the park! Jon thought, After using Outlook for so long, how much different can Notes be for reading email?
"...Tell me. How you would go about configuring the security of a new Domino server and adding it to the current cluster".
"Um, actually, that's not something I can do", he eventually stuttered, "After all, my mail security expertise was with Microsoft Exchange. I've never touched a Domino Server, but I'd be eager though to learn—"
"Then why have you listed '3 years of Lotus Notes Server configuration and administration' as one of your key skills?"
Jon swallowed hard. "Ummm...may I take a look at that?"
Jon leaned over and couldn't believe what he saw. Rather than the resumé he had posted, it was a hideously formatted bastardisation that was looked like the most hideous Word template ever. As if that wasn't bad enough, it included line after line of exaggeration in every single skill listed. Jon figured that to be able to attain the experience listed, he would have needed to start in I.T. sometime after turning 15.
Jon quickly produced the real McCoy from his manilla envelope and placed it next to the offending article.
The Head of IT looked as though he was going to explode.
After a deep breath, and through clenched teeth, he stood up slowly, and thanked Jon for his time. He then swung open the door and headed back to the lobby where he commanded one of the receptionists to "please show Mr. Kipper to the exit".
Jon felt swindled. Not only had he annoyed a potential employer through no fault of his own, but he had lost a day's pay doing so. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the expensive British Rail ticket for the ride home added a nice little insult to his injury.
Maybe the bright lights of London aren't for a simple lad like me, he thought to himself as he walked back to the train station. But just then, the phone rang. He picked it up with his stardard greeting, "Hello this is Jon Kipper speaking."
"Hey Jon! My name is Darren. I found your resumé and I think you'd be perfect for a permanent position at a fantastic financial institution. How soon can you get to London for an interview?"
Maybe things were looking up after all.
"I'm actually in London at the moment. I could do it later this afternoon if that's not too short notice." Jon figured that he might finally be able to justify the overpriced train tickets.
"Fantastic! I'll call the guys back and see if we can set something up for this afternoon. I just need to reformat your resumé and send it over," he paused for a moment and added, "but from what I've told them, they seemed pretty impressed. They're a great outfit called 'PoshBank' right in the heart of the city."
Jon was at a loss for words.
"Between you and me," the recruiter jumped in, filling the moment of silence, "I think you're a shoe-in for the job. They've only interviewed one other guy, and apparently he was a complete loser".