Monsters Inc.

24 Mar

During the past year I’ve blogged about Frankenstein and werewolves, vampires, zombies and aliens; posted pics of blood-sucking ghouls, skeletons, demons and even Nosferatu.

But this could be the scariest blog post yet.

We lost an Account Manager a few weeks ago and have been looking for a replacement. The ads that we put in market to invite applications were very clear about one thing: this is not a “Hey I’ve always wanted to work in advertising!” job. It’s for experienced agency people.

We got some great responses but it’s a bit terrifying how few applicants actually read the ad. Here is a random sampling of some of the submissions I’ve received.

> “Hey Doug, what’s up. I’ve always wanted to work in advertising…”

> “Long shot I know but does working in a bar qualify as relevant experience?”

> “My current job as a retail sales assistant puts me in touch with demanding people on a daily basis.”

> “If you feel my lack of work experience doesn’t qualify me for this position, perhaps you would consider me for other positions within your company.”

Then there were the ones who cut and pasted and didn’t proof their letters before they went out:

> “Dear Mr. Brown… Artemis PR & Design caught my interest as a possible employer because of the wide array of clients and industries that you work with.”

> “I’ve chosen Hot House Marketing because I like the way your company fits with my previous skills.”

Makes those hairs on the back of your neck stand right up.


8 Responses to “Monsters Inc.”

  1. Felix March 24, 2010 at 10:10 am #


  2. Brian March 24, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    Monsters are on the loose!

    We just concluded an employment selection process and received over 100 applications. There was a remarkable variation in skill–from warehousing to engineering. The advertisement we ran included experience and skill requirements–owning MS Word and Publisher do not qualify one as a graphic designer.

    The employment opportunity was picked up by several web job firms and we received at least 20 applications from India, Dubai, Philipines–none had any idea of qualifications–wanting to emigrate to Canada is not a criteria for graphic design.

    English capability appeared to be limited for many candidates. One even spelled our company name incorrectly. Apparently reading, writing, spelling and grammar are not a requirement of our educational system–it interferes with self-esteem. I wonder how much self-esteem these applicants have while sitting on the couch waiting for the phone to ring!

  3. Amy March 24, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    Hey! As someone married to a high school teacher all I can say is get used to it. It’ll only get worse from here. But at a certain point, when tweets et al become the mode of communication, will it matter?

  4. Andrea March 24, 2010 at 1:30 pm #


    I think you brought up twp very interesting points but as I see you are discussing two very distinct types of applicants.

    Although I cringe at the quotes from the “copy and pasters” and wonder how they themselves ever think they will succeed, I actually think there is something to be said about not resembling precisely the picture perfect candidate painted by a firm but still applying.

    If hiring a new applicant can be compared to a new marriage, the application process is as challenging and intricate as the dating game. By making spelling mistakes or being so inept as to submit an application to you addressed with the name of a local competitor, you dress yourself with a grungy old ripped t-shirt and wear a black eye from the recent fight you were in. You can’t expect to be get a second look, and perhaps rightly so. But, when you create a well written and intriguing application, well kept and dressed to the nines, who’s to say in fact that applicant can’t turn out to be Mr. right.

    I’m not saying that the finesse cultivated from delicately flipping burgers for 3 years will make you a great graphic designer nor that an outstanding cover letter alone should grant you a pass. But, what if you actually have 80% of the skill set required for a position and are shy some year in experience. Does that mean that even though you might be able to perform exceptionally well with your own knowledge and a little help and training from your co-workers that you still shouldn’t apply? That even though she asked for someone 5’8 , dark haired , successful and funny and you are 5’6 and blond you shouldn’t even at least try to buy her a drink?

    Perhaps you have “dated” long enough to rightfully know exactly what you need and what you are willing to invest in a candidate that you are correct, anything but the perfect applicant need not apply. But, I would caution against putting out a blanket statement that you shouldn’t apply for a position you are not 100% picture perfect for. It might be that reach for a position 20% above your level of qualification that propels you up in life while still satisfying the needs of a firm.

    All aside, I do hope you found your Mona Lisa and that all is well in Victoria!!

    – Andrea

  5. dougbrowncreative March 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    > Brian, I am sympathetic to people wanting to make a better life for themselves by moving into our country or our industry. It’s just hard to marry fantasy and reality sometimes isn’t it.

    > Amy, your reply came in at 205 characters including spaces. Any way you could get that down to size?

    > Andrea, while I appreciate the wild card as much as anyone (and I wouldn’t have gotten my start in the business without that appreciation) this is not an entry level job, but requires a minimum of 4 years of experience. The investment from my end is to get the candidate from an Account Manager level to Account Director level, so the fundamentals already have to be in place. So, at least in this case, 5’8″ and brunette is not a request but a requirement. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  6. Brett March 24, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    I’m just glad mine didn’t show up on here. Thanks for saving me the humiliation Doug.

  7. dougbrowncreative March 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

    No way Brett, you wrote a good cover letter – in fact one of the better cover letters I received – and made it clear that you weren’t after that particular job.

  8. Amy March 24, 2010 at 6:11 pm #

    Yes, boss:

    Hubbie zez kidz don’t like spellin’ y’all! LOL! Nu grammar ruuulz.

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