Job Postings Don’t Have To Be “Cool”.

As part of the brand’s visionary evolution in meeting changing customer portfolio, they are seeking an influential change catalyst for this role, who will be empowered to lead the architecture of a refreshing strategy and implementations aligned to the expanding business aspirations.

This was the opening paragraph of a job posting I saw recently. I read it twice, and what went through my mind was this:


I’ve seen a recent trend of “innovative” job descriptions as companies try to make themselves stand out, and it annoys me to no end. A job description should do just that – describe the job. Throwing together a mishmash of big buzzwords does nothing to further that objective. The above ad tells me that (i) the poster wants to hire a psychic who can mysteriously understand what he wants; and (ii) the jobseekers who respond are likely only people who randomly apply to every job under the sun.

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The “Non-Confidential” HR Intern.


Interns are boon and bane. At best, they bring fresh ideas and don’t mind picking up boring routine work (it’s new to them!) no one else wants to do. At worst, they think they are God’s gift to the world, and that the company owes it to them to provide a meaningful internship experience. Except sometimes, they are so dumb you start to wonder if the next generation is genetically defective.

I had a real dud once who did not seem to understand the concept of confidentiality. And he was attached to, of all departments, HR.

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Should I Apply For a Job That Requires More Experience Than I Have?


“I saw my dream job with a great company on a job forum. However, they are looking for people with at least 15 years of relevant experience. I have less than that. Will the hiring manager even bother to consider me?”

Ah…the tenure threshold. Viewing length of experience as having a linear correlation to work proficiency is one of the biggest misconceptions recruiters can have. But when you’re inundated by dozens of resumes, it’s one of the quickest ways to reduce that to a manageable number, especially for the poor time-pressed person who’s sifting through them.

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Counting Pennies – The Corporate Way.

Office Stationery

Sometimes I don’t know whether to sigh at or applaud the “innovative” ways that companies come up with to cut costs. Instead of focusing on major expenditure items – like business class travel or copious quantities of alcohol for client entertainment – some of them take the saying “every penny counts” a little too literally. Here’s a compilation of  the most ridiculous ideas I’ve heard when it comes to penny pinching. I’ll bet none of these decisions actually shifted a single digit on the company cost sheet.

  • Not providing office stationery
    “My company was so stingy they refused to indent any office stationery. During the new employee orientation, we were told to bring our own from home, and even ‘encouraged’ to take the pens and notepads from hotels when we travelled.”
  • Stocking the office pantry with food employees don’t like
    “It had been weeks since a certain popular biscuit had been restocked, so I asked the pantry lady why. She had apparently been told by management that she could only order snacks people didn’t like, so as to cut down on pantry expenses.”
  • Storing all the copy paper in the CFO’s room
    “If we wanted to photocopy or print anything, we’d have to go to the CFO and request for a ream of copy paper. Yes, CFO approval was required for $5 worth of paper in a multi-million dollar revenue company.”
  • Rationing paper towels in the toilet
    “Our office toilets didn’t have hand dryers, but paper towel dispensers instead. One particular week, we realised that we were running out of paper towels by midday. It turned out that the facilities manager was ‘rationing’ paper towels to cut costs so only a certain number were put out each day. I guess we should be glad they didn’t decide to ration toilet paper!”
  • Booking a too small venue for the annual office party
    “My company booked a cheaper venue that clearly could not accommodate the entire office, and removed all the seating to make more room. No one was allowed to leave early so everybody was forced to stand around in the tight space for 3 whole hours. I’m sure we violated some building safety code.”

Cutting costs? More like cutting employee engagement.

Hating On Behavioural Interviews.


Past experience is evidence of future behaviour. Heard that phrase before? It’s the basis of behavioural interviewing, which has been become the default technique for many companies in recent years.

Behavioural interviewing when the interviewer focuses on getting the candidate to describe how he behaved, like “Explain how you took the lead on a project” or “Tell me when you had to deal with a tough stakeholder”. This structured method is to see if the answers align with how he wants the candidate to handle similar situations if you get the job. But there are three issues with them.

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The Clueless Recruiter.

Vegetable Farmer

There are days when you want to bash your head against the wall when someone in the office does something particularly stupid. If you’re having one of those days, read this. I promise it’s guaranteed to make you feel better because whoever you are facing cannot be as clueless this recruiter.

This one-of-a-kind recruiter who used to work for an unknown boutique recruitment agency (maybe that should have tipped us off) screened a bunch of resumes and sent one to the hiring manager who was looking for a Marketing Executive. In a technology company. It read:

“Work experience – Planting and harvesting different vegetables”
“Top achievement – Overcoming my fear of insects”

I’m not sure why he thought a technology company would need someone whose experience is more relevant to a vegetable market to do their corporate marketing. Did he also think that Apple sells apples? Yes, there are idiots out there worse than the one you’re dealing with. Feel better now?

The Obsession With Last Drawn Salary.


“Please provide your last drawn salary and latest payslip for verification.” In certain states in the US, and nearer home in Australia, such a request would be unlawful. Yes, that’s right. It’s against the law to ask for any kind of pay history in these places, but unfortunately in Asia, the practice is far too prevalent.

So why exactly does a company ask for your last drawn salary before offering?

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Should I Accept a Counter-Offer?

Counter Offer

“I submitted my resignation as I’ve found a better paying job, but my boss wants me to reconsider. He has indicated he is happy to give me a salary raise to match what the new job offer. Should I accept and stay?” 

You need to assess if salary is the only thing you are dissatisfied with at your current job. 9.5/10 times, that’s just not the case. And if it’s not, don’t hold out hope that things are going to change if you accept. Sure, in the short run, your boss may treat you a little better, but once you’ve thrown in the towel, you get the words “flight risk” added to the end of your name. Your commitment will be questioned, so you’re likely to be first on the chopping board when cutbacks happen, and last in line for promotions.

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