Monday, December 10, 2012

The Truth About Resume Gap-o-sis

I had a very alarming discussion with a job seeker a few days ago that I wanted to share with you all here.

For all intensive purposes (and even though I can think of about 17 other foul names I'd love to use to identify her) we'll call this gal Desiree.

Desiree had applied to one of the positions I am currently running on a major job board that has some heavy competition as far as applications go. She had some moderately useful skills and experience listed on her 2 page resume, enough at least to pique my interest and want to give her a call to see what she sounds like. 

Yes, you read that right, I call people to see "what they sound like". 
Sometimes after my boss man has looked over a resume, he will even ask me specifically to call people to see what they sound like.
This is common recruiter/hiring manager-speak, because guess what? If you suck on the phone, you're going to suck in person AND you will be useless to us (for most positions I recruit for) if we make the mistake of hiring you.

First off, I should warn you that I was skeptical as to how my conversation with her would go, mainly because she hadn't worked since 2009. It's now the end of 2012... and she hadn't worked since 2009. Desiree has a severe case of what I like to call:
"Resume Gap-o-sis"

This is a sad little affliction that has plagued many a job seeker as of late... and 95% of the time, there's a cure for it. 
For example...
Been a stay-at-home mom or dad?
Been taking care of an elderly relative for awhile? Then LIST IT on your resume so we don't have to wonder if you've been eating bon-bons on the couch for years on end. K? K. 

So without further delay... my conversation with Desiree the Bitch. (Oops, did I say that? Why yes, yes I did.)

Me: Hi, this is Stephanie with _____ Insurance. I’d like to speak to Desiree please.

Desiree: This is her.

Me: Hi Desiree, I’m calling because you responded to my job posting up on I have your resume in front of me and I wanted to chat with you for a moment, is this a good time for you?

Desiree: Yeah, it’s fine.

I’m already not liking her “tone”. It’s about 2:15 in the afternoon and she’s acting as if I’m putting her out, OR like I just woke her up. Which is highly possible given the fact that she hasn't worked in 3 years.

Me: So I read over everything and was intrigued by your previous insurance experience as it would appear to line up with the job criteria I outlined in our job posting. I do have a couple of questions for you though if you don’t mind?

Desiree: No, go ahead.

(Side note- she’s said all of nine words to me, NINE, and I already know I’m not going to be recommending her for this position. This chick’s personality on a scale of 1-10 was about a negative 2, with a tinge of "flat".)

Me- in my head: Since this conversation is essentially futile, I’m going to go ahead and start with the harder hitting questions, what the hell…

Me: So I noticed that your last job entry on your resume ended in 2009. What have you been doing since then?


Me: Have you been doing any contract work? Or taking care of children or an older family member?

Again... crickets.

I just let the silence sit on top of us, like a brick-laden, uncomfortable weight, which I will do once in awhile, just to see how they handle me.

Finally, Desiree speaks up.

Desiree: Well I’ve been looking for a job. You people don’t know how hard it is to find a job nowadays.

“YOU people?” Oh MY. She didn’t just say that to me, did she? 
Why yes, I think she did.

Me (quickly looking her profile up on Facebook so I could get a face associated to the bitch I was talking to): Well Desiree, I see a lot of resumes all day long and I talk to a LOT of people out of work, so even though I’m PERSONALLY currently employed, I think I have a pretty good picture of what it’s like out there right now.

Desiree (getting even testier with me on the phone): Well I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do. I spend hours and hours each day combing the job boards and submitting my resume to hundreds of jobs.

She’s telling me I’m just one out of hundreds she applied to? Stupid move. That certainly doesn't make me feel any better about calling her.

She’s also sporting a cowgirl hat in her Facebook profile picture, has her profile open and public for anyone to see, which allows me to read her unprecedented (and not to mention ethically questionable) activity on Facebook. I think little Miss Bitch has been spending hours and hours each day playing on Facebook, not "combing the job boards" as she says.

The journalist in me decided to play with her a little bit more, you know, for research and all.

Me: Well let me ask you some more questions Desiree, maybe I can help place you somewhere. Would that be alright?

Desiree: Yeah, I’ve got nothing better to do right now.

This just keeps getting better and better. 
Somehow I knew it would. 

At this point I'm thinking I need to keep her on the phone for a LOT longer than I originally anticipated as I think she might just hit on ALL the mistakes a job seeker can make, in one foul swoop.

Me: So let’s say you’ve got an irate customer on the phone with you. They’re ticked off because they were billed an extra $2.15 and you’re in charge of calming them down. It’s obviously not a problem that you’ve directly created for them, yet they are acting as if you are personally responsible for ruining their life. How do you handle that situation?

(I already know the answer to this question, (NOT WELL), but I ask a question of this manner to my *less than stellar* candidates I get on the phone just to pretend like I actually CARE what they’re going to say back to me. I don’t even pose this question to the GOOD candidates because if they’re handling ME well on the phone, I know they’ll handle one of our insured customers well too.)

Desiree: Well the first thing I’d do is tell them to calm down. And if they’re cussing at me, I’ll make it clear that I’ll not take such abuse and if they don’t stop, I’ll be forced to hang up the phone.

Me: Uh huh.

Profound, truly profound.

Still waiting for her to say more, I continue to scroll through her Facebook posts. I’m increasingly alarmed. I decide to Google map where she lived, let’s just see what kind of dump and/or mansion she lives in…

Desiree: Are you still there?

Me: Yes, I’m here. Is that all you’d do with them on the phone?

I drop myself into her street and spin my little guy in circles to get a feel for her neighborhood. She lives in a nice condo in a fairly good neighborhood in the same city I’m in. So somebody’s clearly supporting her annoying ass.

Desiree: Well, I guess I’d spend my time trying to unwind the 2 dollars and whatever you said, although I think that would kind of be a waste for my employer, don’t you think? I think it would be better if my employer just paid it for them instead of paying my hourly wage to try and figure it out. Don’t you think that would be the better route to go?

Me: Well that’s kind of the band-aid approach, plus we don’t make a habit out of paying for our customers insurance policies in general. While I get what you’re saying, the better thing to do is to do your best to keep the customer, starting with reassuring them that you’re going to figure out what happened and present them with the correct facts. Then ask your boss’s opinion about it all if necessary, and take it from there. 

(I know I need to get her off this question and get to her list of “demands” as I’m sure she has them if she’s been unemployed for so long.)

Me: So tell me Desiree, are you looking for part-time or full-time?

Desiree: Oh, definitely full-time. I can’t live on part-time.

Of course not.

Unless she’s not being completely forthcoming with me (which is highly probable) and she’s on disability or something, it’s been too long for her to be on unemployment. I would think that someone desperate for a job would be willing to take a part-time position, but what do I know right?
I’m just a person with a job.

Me: Okay, so I’m making notes on your resume here, you need full-time. What hourly wage do you need?
("Making notes on a resume I’m going to be shredding as soon as I hang up with you", I wanted to add. I'd do it sooner but she'd hear the shredder going.)

Desiree: Well that depends. You know, on where the job is. Where is this position that you called me about again?

Me: Well there are several, but none of them are full-time. They are part-time, up to 30 hours a week. I’m just wanting to get an idea from you so that I can make notes for future reference, in case I get a position that might be a good fit for you.

(Side bar- the smart thing for her to do at this point would have been to figure out that 30 hours isn’t THAT far off from 40 hours, and to ask me if any of the positions have the POSSIBILITY of becoming full-time. Did she though? Of course not.)

Desiree:  Well if it’s here in town where I am, then I need to make $60,000 a year. If it’s 20 miles away or more, then I need to make $65,000 a year.


Now I’ve got a VERY real picture of why this asshat isn’t employed. Her skill set in NO WAY mirrors this income level.

Me: Okay, what else do you want while I’m making notes?
(As long as we’re playing pretend here… may as well make it good!)

Desiree: Well I need medical, and dental. I really could use dental. And I want about 4 weeks off vacation a year as that’s what I had before. I think that’s fair.

Me: Well of course.

Desiree (oblivious to my sarcasm): Yeah, I think that about handles it. And I want to work independently. You know, like to have a boss that doesn’t hover or check in on me to see what I’m doing. That would be ideal.

Me: Yeah, it would, wouldn’t it?

(It’s hard to play on Facebook all day with somebody hovering over you, expecting you to work for that salary they’re paying you.)

Me: Well I think I have everything I need here Desiree. Thanks for talking to me today.

Desiree: So how long do you think before I get a call back? Because I’m tired of looking for a job. It’s getting really ridiculous.

Pffft, ummm... let's see, how about, like... NEVER? And dammit all Desiree, if only you’d handled me differently and tapered down your list of demands, I might have been able to help you..

Do I say this?
Of course not. I want to, but the risk of her stalking me is too strong. 

Me: Well it depends. I never know when our agents are going to be asking for my help with staff placement. Could be tomorrow, could be 6 months from now. It’s really hit and miss.

And when it comes to you, lovely Desiree, we clearly have a swing and a MISS.

Desiree: Oh. Well that’s disappointing.

You bet your bippy it is Sweet Cheeks.

Me (lying): Oh! My other line is ringing Desiree, I’ve got to go. Have a good rest of your day.

Desiree: Okay fine. BYE.
She actually hung up first!


The moral of the story here my little chickadees is this... don't do ANY of the crap Desiree did. K? K.

Peace out!


  1. Wow, she sounds swell. Why on earth wouldn't you have hired her?? I mean, she's got nothing better to do! ;)