Which article is never advertised as how

Job search“Could be more punctual”: Why not apply brutally and honestly?

Some people have never been as insincere as they were in their cover letter. It is flattered and lied that the beams bend. Probably everyone involved is to blame somehow: Applicants who - driven by fear of the future - want to give every potential employer the feeling that they have hit the bull's eye; HR professionals who first scan applications for key words (resilient, team player, market leader) and ultimately reward meaningless thrashing of phrases. But it can also work differently. This was demonstrated by a New York advertising specialist with a brutally honest application.

Reveal weaknesses in the application

Jeff Scardino caused a sensation a few years ago with an experiment. According to his own account, he applied to the same ten companies under two different names: once with a conventional résumé and once with a résumé that listed the candidate's strengths and weaknesses without being asked. Most of it was rather amusing and hardly relevant for the current position. For example, the applicant flirted with the book project that had been unfinished for years or the failed career as a radio DJ.

In his “relevant curriculum vitae”, as he called the project, the creative director also admitted real weaknesses. “Could be more punctual,” he said under the heading “Inadequate Skills” and admitted that he often prefers to scribble rather than take notes in meetings. In order to underpin the whole thing, Scardino also listed three “bad references” in which interested parties could allegedly have the applicant's negative characteristics confirmed.

Honest application leads to success

According to the New Yorker, the social experiment was a complete success. He received only one response to his regular application, while eight of the ten companies responded to the brutally honest one, as he described in an article on "Medium.com". Scardino found it particularly significant that the HR managers had, of course, seen through the joke, but wanted to get to know it anyway - or precisely because of it. Because curiosity about the unconventional candidate was aroused. “This enabled me to start a dialogue and explain what I am doing,” he wrote.

Such an approach is of course more successful in the creative industry than in more conservative branches of the economy. But it doesn't have to be so extreme. According to experts, honesty and individuality are fundamentally a good means of standing out from the crowd of “teamwork rounds off my profile” applications. Jens Petersen, partner at the Ebner Stolz consultancy, says he has been rolling his eyes "inwardly" after a few hundred job interviews with phrases. He especially bothered "general blah, superficiality and inauthentic behavior in conversation," he said in an online guide for the Staufenbiel Institute job platform.


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