…and then ordered a round of drinks for the entire population of sub-Saharan Africa. How did you go about this? What did you gain from the experience? What were the positive outcomes?
Seriously though, job applications are steaming mounds of bullshit.
If, like me, you’re ploughing through day after day of meaningless graduate job applications, trying to portray yourself as the second coming of Christ for a job you have little real interest in doing, you’ll get my drift.
At the same time, hats off to the sadistic sods who come up with the questions; maddeningly specific yet achingly vague at the same time, they are a lesson in how to drive people insane. I’ve only managed to do about ten and I’m considering writing the next one in my own blood just to make a point.
Two things make these rituals particularly grotesque. First is the obligation to show absolute commitment to whichever company you apply to. At least one question is always about why the company you’ve applied to is “bigger than Jesus” or “shits all over sliced bread”. And the expectation is to soothe the egos of large corporations like a doting parent to a sensitive child. “There there, Faceless Conglomerate, you’re very special and talented and you’re definitely the best Faceless Conglomerate out of all the Faceless Conglomerates in the world.”
And it’s all utterly meaningless. They know that you know that they’re just another homogeneous entity looking for fresh meat, and they know that the real reason you want to work for them is that they shove a wad of cash in your face every month. “I’ve always wanted to work for Barclays because sitting at a desk for 15 hours a day whilst slowly dying inside really thrills me” is essentially what you’re expected to say, whereas in reality it’s more like “I don’t particularly want to work for Barclays, in fact I imagine it’s dreadfully dull, but it’s better than nothing and the deadline was coming up and quite frankly I’ll whore myself to anyone for £25k a year. Seriously, If you want me to come to interview in nothing but a tutu, singing the Swedish national anthem and riding a miniature horse, I’d do it in a heartbeat. £25k!”
Somebody write that. Please?
Perhaps more soul-destroying than lying about the greatness of every company you apply to is the “personal qualities” section, where you lie about your own greatness. At length.
One question I recently answered was “Describe a time when you’ve when you’ve worked as part of a team to overcome a problem. How did you go about this? What role did you play in the team?” An honest response would be:
“I’m 21. I’ve spent the last 3 years getting a degree, and when I’ve not been getting a degree I’ve been getting drunk. Before I was getting a degree I was at school and have honestly no recollection of anything that happened. I can think of possibly one time a few months ago when we as a group ordered 10 Jagerbombs but only had enough money for eight, so we decided to go and get more cash. My role was to go and get more cash, which shows I am a leader. The positive outcome was that we got more Jagerbombs and I was sick in a hedge later.”
Instead we all go on smoke and mirrors exercises in half-truths and embellishment to the point where the whole thing becomes an exercise in bending the facts, and we all go to bed feeling slightly more disgusted with ourselves.
So I have a solution. Two solutions in fact. One is for us all to be honest and hope that pays off. “I’ve never had a specific interest in investment banking, I just like the prospect of rolling in crisp fifty pound notes.” After all, they always want you to be honest, but ironically you won’t get the job if you are.
My second, more creative solution is to write “See CV” to every question and then send something along the lines of this.
And then I’ll see you in the dole queue. Livin’ the dream guys!
UNRELATED NOTE: In what’s becoming a disturbing trend, here’s another video involving a cat.
And here’s some classic Morecambe and Wise. Because it’s genius.