Smile Politely

Simple Mistakes Applicants Make

Technology is very convenient in the workplace. It speeds up communication, cuts down on the use of paper and allows information to be analyzed more efficiently, thus enabling companies to run more smoothly. I work in a very fast-paced environment, so the use of technology is critical to our survival. Whenever I hire someone, I am able to send out all of our new hire paperwork to the new hire via his or her email. I find this to be very helpful to us, because we are able to circumnavigate the postal service. The new hire usually likes this too, because within hours after the offer is made, they have all the information they need, prior to their physical.

Even though technology does pay off most of the time, there are times when it can be disastrous. I have found that some applicants don’t think about how their technological choices might be viewed by potential employers.

I can’t tell you how many applications I have received that have blatantly drug related or sexual email addresses. I would never place anyone’s personal email in my articles, but I have seen some email addresses that insinuate fellatio, marijuana, and pimping. It is absolutely amazing. Whenever I see these, I ask myself, “Now why can’t these people just set up dummy email addresses for this purpose?”

Seriously, if you are going to apply for a professional job, then act professional. Don’t put [email protected] as your email address, unless your name really is Harry Pearoftestes. No one ever used that email address, but I wouldn’t put it past someone to try. Man, I really wish I could put some email addresses that I have actually seen in this article. You would be absolutely astonished.

Another thing that I find hilarious is a person’s ringback tone. I love these things, because how often do you get a chance to hear some of the most overplayed music in the history of this earth on a daily basis, just by calling someone? If I have to hear Chingy one more time, I’m going to slit my wrists. Not all ringbacks are bad. Hell, some ringbacks can be interesting and enjoyable. I once called a candidate who actually had a local band’s hit as their ringback, which shocked me. I had to compliment her on it; she was surprised I even knew them.

Some of my friends are good about managing their ringbacks; they change them up every week. On the other hand, I also have friends who have had the same ringback since 2006. I think the only ringback that I wouldn’t mind hearing over and over again is Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”.

I once thought about getting a ringback tone, but then I sobered up and thought to myself, “Do I really want Paula Abdul to define who I am?” Hell no I don’t. Well, maybe. Wait, hell no I don’t.

Therefore, if you are applying for a job, please think about the ringback tone that you have. If it’s a Christian rock group’s song, it might offend a Jewish person. If it’s a song that starts off with a line like “Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks,”, it might offend a woman. If it is a song by Kid Rock, hell, it might make the caller’s ears bleed. But, if it’s a John Cougar Mellancamp song, then all of America will worship the ground you walk on. They might even take a bullet for you.

Another thing that applicants usually never think about is their voicemail message and how it can be perceived by a potential employer. Granted, some voicemails can be funny, if you know the person you are calling and if you understand their humor. But, if you don’t know them, their messages can seem awkward and frightening.

Take, for instance, my brother’s voicemail message. He usually has a new one each week, so generally I will call him just to have a quick laugh. Even though they are funny to me, if I didn’t know my brother and if I called him to schedule an interview, only to hear, “Thank you for calling T.J. Gould’s Interior Design. If all else fails, choose the bigger one,” I don’t know what I would think. Maybe I would think, “Perhaps I should choose the bigger chaise lounge,” but I might also assume, “Maybe I should choose the bigger penis.” Since I know my brother, I can assume that he’s not referencing the chaise.

I remember a time when I called this guy to request an interview for a managerial position. His voicemail picked up and this is the message that he had, “Hi, you’ve reached _, a.k.a. Sexual Chocolate. I’m not in right now, because I’m out busy serving the ladies. If you’ve got something important to say, say it, otherwise, I don’t have time for you.”

Needless to say, I didn’t leave a message and he didn’t get the job. Thanks to caller ID though, he did call right back and wanted to know who called. When I explained who I was and why I was calling, he straightened up right away. I told him that I thought his voicemail message was inappropriate and that I wasn’t interested in interviewing him for the job. He told me that he knew it was unprofessional. I suggested that he change it, if he planned to get a job interview and then I hung up.

I’m not sure if he did change it, but I’m assuming he did.

Email addresses, ringback tones and voicemail messages define who we are. They can be clever, humorous, sadistic and repugnant. When applying for a job, it is important to really think about how an employer might perceive the technological choices you make. All that I’m suggesting is that before you apply for a job, just use a standard email address and a standard voicemail message. Also, if you have a ringback tone, change it to something by Tom Jones. Everyone loves a Tom Jones song.

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