Hiring, applying for a job not an exact science
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 4:17 AM
A 32-year veteran of the Republican-Leader, one of the six newspapers in Bluff Country Newspaper Group, retired recently. Kay Brockway had been in the newspaper business in southeastern Minnesota even longer than I have been located in this part of the country.
An open house in Preston on a steamy 90-degree day drew quite a crowd as her longtime presence in our office has created quite a few ties to people in the area. Her experience and wealth of knowledge about the area will be missed. Fresh ideas can always invigorate a company, but there is something to be said for experience, which can be a very valuable commodity.
In the feature story on her, Brockway said she was "blessed" with two "great" bosses. And, yes, I was one of the two.
I was flattered by the compliment, but not sure it was entirely accurate. I don't feel as comfortable managing people as I do writing, photographing, designing or doing other more concrete activities. Besides, it is tough to measure. Good bosses come in all different varieties and it isn't always easy to determine what qualities make them successful.
Brockway was one of the employees I "inherited" when I purchased the Republican-Leader. Since I was taking over that newspaper, I was eager for the continuity she provided and she was eager to have a job she knew and enjoyed, so it worked well for both of us.
It wasn't hard finding her replacement either as many people in the community knew about her impending retirement and a few people contacted the office to inquire about the opening. Things worked out and Janet Brevig, who once worked at the same newspaper many years ago for the other great boss Kay referenced, is now in place.
My hiring history hasn't always been so easy - or conventional. I added the News-Record not long after the Republican-Leader and I remember hiring one person by telephone. She convinced me that she would be a great addition - that there was no need to meet face to face - and she did turn out to be a great addition to our company until health problems forced her to quit. Still, it was a bit unusual to visit the office in Harmony a few weeks later and make the introduction to an employee working for me.
Another time, I hired a woman who was very pregnant. It's unusual that she would apply, as her obvious condition means she will miss a good chunk of time soon after starting a new job, but it is probably even more unusual I would hire her. However, I understood the long-term benefit as she had some excellent qualities and she stayed with us for many years until a completely different type of opportunity came up.
Of course, not all my experiences are unique or turn out well. Although I may not be the greatest boss and have taken some unusual steps to hire people, I don't think anyone would call me impossible or bizarre, traits that some applicants show when they apply for jobs. Although I have had some unusual applications, none would come close to making the list of the most memorable or outrageous applications that 2,298 hiring managers nationwide reported in a recent study.
Readers might be interested in what some applicants across the nation have presented to their potential bosses:
Candidate called himself a genius and invited the hiring manager to interview him at his apartment.
Candidate's cover letter talked about her family being in the mob.
Candidate applying for a management job listed "gator hunting" as a skill.
Candidate's resume included phishing as a hobby.
Candidate specified that her resume was set up to be sung to the tune of "The Brady Bunch."
Candidate highlighted the fact that he was "Homecoming Prom Prince" in 1984.
Candidate claimed to be able to speak "Antartican" when applying for a job to work in Antarctica.
Candidate's resume had a photo of the applicant reclining in a hammock under the headline "Hi, I'm _____ and I'm looking for a job."
Candidate's resume was decorated with pink rabbits.
There is something to be said about being creative and unique, but bosses also look at dependability, common sense and intelligence when making hiring decisions. Just like managing, job-hunting isn't an exact science. Being unconventional can often work out, but being outrageous rarely gives you the result you are seeking.