Thursday, October 27, 2011 myBiz Blog
Bucky's Career Corner: Employer Horror Stories by Kelly Cuene


In the spirit of Halloween, this week's edition of Bucky's Career Corner brings you tales of horror - what not to do during the recruiting process or on the job, based on feedback from actual employers!

Let's dive into the stories...

One Wall Street staffer sent some inappropriate photos and off-color jokes to his friend from his work email account... except he accidentally copied the entire management team from his firm on the message. Oops. This staffer was fired immediately and is now a Wall Street legend. But not in a good way. Moral of the story: Save your work email for work matters only. Be mindful with your email messages and use the copy and blind carbon copy features carefully.

After no-showing for a site interview, a student emailed the employer to explain his absence. The student wrote that he was ill... and then went into extreme detail about his symptoms - vomiting, diarrhea and more. The employer thought the email was a joke and angrily contacted the BCC. The student thought he was doing the right thing by being honest. He thought by being specific and descriptive about his situation the employer would be sympathetic and willing to reschedule. Moral of the story: Even if you're sick, do your best to give advance notice if you are unable to make a scheduled interview. When you follow-up with an employer, you want to be honest and genuine but avoid sharing too many personal details.

During a site interview, a student impressively answered questions in his 1:1 interviews and was friendly and professional during the reception. Everything was going well and the employer thought this student was a perfect fit for their organization. Until... the student started loudly blowing his nose at the dinner table. He did not get the job offer. Moral of the story: Mind your manners, take care of personal business in the restroom (it's okay to ask for a restroom break!) and remember that even the smallest of actions can have a big impact.

A student sits down for her first-round campus interview and asks, "So, what does your company do?" The employer stares, shocked. Moral of the story: Yikes! Conduct research before interviewing and know what the company does, how they do it, their mission and values, the organizational structure, and how the company is performing. It's easy to find basic information online - do your employer research! You can't be genuinely enthusiastic about a position and company you know nothing about.

An entry-level staff member had just finished giving an important presentation on behalf of her employer. Upon seeing her friend in the elevator, she proceeded to complain about one particular senior exec who criticized her during her presentation. Using some colorful language, she described this person angrily... and then turned around and saw that person standing in the back of the elevator. The staff member was fired on the spot. Moral of the story: You never know who is in the hallway, restroom, elevator or behind you in line at the company cafeteria. Never talk negatively about your colleagues, clients or managers. This is also great advice during the recruiting season - you never know who might be walking the halls of Grainger so think twice before you speak negatively about an employer or interview experience!

An interviewer asked a student if they would be willing to work in a particular city. The student made a snide comment about the city, comparing it to a toilet. Unbeknownst to her, that city happened to be the interviewer's hometown... and the only location available for the position for which she was interviewing. Moral of the story: Always be tactful and avoid getting too personal with your opinions. You never know what your interviewer's background may be. A lack of tact looks unprofessional and immature. A simple, "I'd prefer to work in XYZ city... " is sufficient.

A student entered his first-round interview and waited for the interviewer to invite him sit down... and waited, and waited. Since the interviewer never offered, he didn't sit, and the interviewer wondered why they had to conduct the interview standing up the entire time. Moral of the story: It IS polite to wait until you are invited to sit to have a seat, however, it is also okay to ask, "do you mind if I have a seat?" if you have a feeling your interviewer might have forgotten that important etiquette step. While students often feel intimiated by interviewers, remember they are human too! They might make a mistake and it's okay to politely ask a question if it seems like the professional thing to do.

New business students and pre-business students: Want to avoid being the main character in an employer's horror story? Attend the BCC Career Kickoff Session on Wednesday, November 2 to learn the do's and don'ts of career success!

Tune in next week, when we discuss how to evaluate job and internship offers!