12 November 2009

That's not funny

One more thing on hiring that I have learned the hard way: No joke is ever funny to a candidate who does not ultimately get the job.

This is very difficult for me.  I am commonly described as a "wiseass;" I see the humor in just about every situation, and have a hard time not keeping a running commentary on the things that amuse me.  It's very hard for me to hold it in, especially when something about a candidate's CV is interesting or amusing.   Recruits put a lot of personal information on their CV, much of it things that I am not supposed to discuss in an employment setting -- religion, sexual orientation, family status, as well as hobbies and personal interests.  So when I interview the gay mormon from Saudi Arabia, it's so hard not to crack wise about the incongruity.  If I met them in a bar (not that a mormon from Saudi Arabia would be likely to hang out in a bar), it'd totally be fair game, and once they are a partner, it's fair game.  But if they don't get the job, and I made a comment about, say, their unusual hobby of competitive kite-flying, they're going to wonder whether that was why and they going to be pissed.  I don't want that, and it can even get me in trouble, which I definitely don't want.

But it's so hard to hold back.  I have literally had to bite my tongue to keep from cracking wise in interviews.  That sort of restraint is just not in my constitution. 

Why oh why does everything have to have so many buried layers of humor?


  1. I agree, it's not easy being among the few that possess that rare talent of being able to properly pull off a witty remark--even if it goes unappreciated.

    It's a gift...and a curse.

    And although these days I am often on the other side of the table, as interviewee, rather than interviewer, the feeling is very much the same. Do I make a witty remark, or does the situation only call for an austere demeanor? And if I don't get the job, it is true, you wonder why.

    Anyway, we enjoy your humor over here on Movin' Meat; plus, I'm pretty sure laughing is good for you, so as far as I'm concerned keep the sarcasm/witty/sly remarks/humor coming--on the blog.

  2. The thing is that you would never meet a gay Mormon from Saudi Arabia in a bar, not only because Mormons don't drink, but because it would mean that someone actually lived the setup of a walked-into-a-bar joke.

  3. Once, when I sat on an interview panel, we asked a candidate to name an area in which she would like to improve. She asked us to clarify (which should have been a clue), so we said, "what would you say is one of your weaknesses?"

    She said, "pain."

    I was almost shaking waiting for her to leave so I could laugh.

  4. I have the same problem when I think about work-blogging. The funniest things that I see at work are often patient's unfortunate names, which are, of course, a no-no. But come ON. Don't these people have parents who loved them? WHY do these names even exist?? Shouldn't there be some sort of hilarity clause in the HIPAA rules that allow me to post names that fit certain criteria?

  5. not that a mormon from Saudi Arabia would be likely to hang out in a bar

    And I figured there would be at least 2 Saudi Mormon gay bars in your neck of the woods. Maybe even a bar for honest politicians, too.

  6. I had a potential college hire put his personal homepage URL on his resume once. I checked it out and there were a lot of pro-marijuana content and links. I really didn't have any personal qualms about his interest in marijuana, but it didn't seem the most prudent thing to make so easily accessible from his resume.

  7. Recent MSW graduate here...... If there is an opening for a joke in an interview... I take it. I've been on the other side (interviewer) and hated that more.

    So....I really hate the "biggest weakness" question. Of course I have the "weakness" that reflects that I am still a good candidiate...

    Does the interviewer really want to know that I am 5 minutes late for everything?

  8. hahaha well I don't know really but it's funny as you say, it's like an image that I found on internet that a guy that is about to get an interview and when the guy goes in the guy who's gonna interview said arm the chair and sit hahah


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