Don’t tell me about your butt

by Rich DeMatteo on May 3, 2010 · 27 comments

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The Story

OK, so back when I worked as a technical recruiter, I used to interact with some pretty wild job seekers.  And by wild, I mean that some crazies told me way too much about their personal lives.

I’ve had job seekers send me pictures of their newborn babies, their weddings, their vacations, and their pets.  They’ve told me about the people they date, how poor they are, how sick they are, and have even told me gross personal secrets about their hiney.

While all of it is unwanted, this one story sticks out in my mind most clear.

One of our clients had a 3 week deployment project in Minnesota, and they needed 2 or 3 people to work the gig.  I came across a resume that looked perfect for the work, so naturally, I sent an email and left a voicemail.  The day ends, and I get nothing back from the candidate.

The next morning I receive an e-mail that goes something like…

I’m sorry for not getting back to you sooner.  I had to go to the doctors yesterday to get a cyst in my butt lanced.  Ouch!

Yes, the person really did say “Ouch!” , and no, I didn’t send their resume to my client.

The Lesson

Be friendly, and outgoing, and witty, but don’t tell your recruiter or hiring manager about your butt.  In fact, don’t tell them about any body part.  They want to know if you are qualified, and they want to help you get a job.  They do.  They really do.

See them as a business partner, not your best friend.  If you get hired to work for their company or their client, then maybe you can keep in touch and share a few drinks.  At that point, possibly bring up the person you are dating, the babies you have, the vacation you’ve been on, or even a crazy story from a bachelor party.  Just please… please god… don’t ever talk about your butt.

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26 comments
Harrison Tsai
Harrison Tsai

So, what's the average frequency of you recieving ridiculous stories during ur time HRing? ... I only hear about these things once in awhile from my career counselors at my college career center ... but it definitely sounds more commonplace than I expected.

Alex
Alex

What about personal stuff that may impact how your resume is reviewed? Sometimes HR people grill you over things, like periods of not working, which can only be answered with personal details. What is too much? Using myself as an example, a sickness in the family forced me to stop working for a while and stay at home to help. I feel like this is too personal to get in to, but not answering the question or being vague doesn't seem productive either.

Nancy C
Nancy C

If the "ouch" candidate ever finds employment I feel bad for the co-workers in adjacent cubicles.

Perry Block
Perry Block

Rich, did I ever tell you about my most recent proctology exam? Wrote a funny story about it for the Tri-State HR Newsletter last month. Seems the doc was in a silly mood that day .....

Bridget Forney
Bridget Forney

Well why didn't you just sympathize with him? Like you've never had a butt cyst.

Dawn Lennon
Dawn Lennon

Hilarious and pathetic! The upside is that you have a knack for putting people at ease. Truth is that if someone in an interview uses such poor judgment about what's appropriate or professional for a business setting, he/she will probably do the same on the job when those gaffs have a business cost! Love it when you post, Rich. Your voice is a strong one.

Grace Boyle
Grace Boyle

This is an amazing story - so happy you shared it. I laughed out loud! The TMI card is so interesting because some people really just don't get it. Crossing the line can be so detrimental and in this case we laugh at their expense...and obviously, they didn't get the job. Too bad. Keep sharing stories like these, I love it.

Lou
Lou

On balance, we should look at the other side of the equation. I'm 58, just this side of the coffin, yah, i know... but I've been around long enough to have dealt with enough hhs (head hunters) to know that they like to endear themselves to you, the potential. THEY open the door for socializing via phone, at a bar, email... they want YOUR trust and confidence, and for some hhs their best tool is to "act" like your best friend (sorry, dating myself; BFF)... and unsuspecting candidates go hook, line, sinker. So a word of advice to the hhs out there: don's set-up your potentials for their own ass over tea cup stumble and tumble and then blame THEM for not getting the assignment.

Lindsey
Lindsey

haha I can't believe someone actually thought it was appropriate to say something like that to a recruiter!! I truly wonder where people draw the line between their personal and professional lives!

Meg
Meg

I think I remember you telling me about this. No one wants to hear about butt's but lets get serious NO ONE wants to hear about a lanced cyst. Not even the doctor thats doing the lancing. Gross.

pfm
pfm

Heh, he said hiney.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Harrison - Depends on the arena I recruited for. When I was a agency recruiter it was probably once or twice a week we saw something so absurd that it needed to be written down and talked about for a while. When I moved to corporate recruiting it was probably only once a month.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Alex - tread lightly on personal things. While they sometimes ask things that push for personal, you can just say "we had personal family things on at that time, involving a medical situation with a family member". If they push, then sure, you can give a bit more detail. Each situation is different, so feel that one out.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Nancy - Yes... it will be an "ouch" for them...

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Patience my dear friend, patience. Plenty more to come! Thanks MB

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Perry - No, no, you certainly did not, and I think I'm happy about that. Oh boy...

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Bridget - If you feel like guest blogging about butt cyst's then be my guest. Seems like you are the resident expert

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hi Dawn - Thanks for the comment, and encouragement. People need some sort of filter. Some people are coachable, and some aren't. My experience is when folks talk about their butt, they probably aren't coachable, and just don't have a filter.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Gracie! This story brought back memories. I had to share it. I will make sure to include a few more of these from time to time. They are just too perfect to not share. Thanks for the comment!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Lou - Great comment. I agree. Some recruiters go over the top to act like buds. This could be their way of trying to understand how someone reacts when comfortable, or it could be their way to just win over the candidate. Maybe we shouldn't blame the job seeker, but people do need some sort of filter. This was someone that I had never talked to before. I can't imagine what they would have said if we became buddies. Thanks for the comment and showing the opposite view here. It's an important take on this post.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Oh Lindsey - some people are completely ridiculous. Sometimes, I'll try to coach them to make sure they won't say things in the future, but it's unavoidable with some. Thanks for the comment!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Yes. Gross. Gag. If he told me, he'd tell co-workers or even his on-site supervisor. Idiot. Thanks for the comment, Meg

Bridget Forney
Bridget Forney

Before engaging in a 3rd-grade-esque squall, I will just say - this is what you get when you blog about butts. And with that said. I don't have butt cysts YOU have butt cysts. Let the squall begin.