How not to get hired

With over 3000 machines in five different buildings on campus, we rely heavily on student labor to keep everything up and running. Unfortunately, undergrads tend to do things like graduate, which means we’re hiring almost every semester. Recently, we decided to hire six new students, since much of our staff graduates soon.

We received about 12 resumes, and since none of them looked particularly terrible, we brought them all in for half-hour interviews. I present here some lessons on how not to get hired.

  • Show up 20 minutes late — Trust me, we don’t have work we need to be doing. I mean, it’s not like you knew you had a final right before the interview. Being late is so much better than asking in advance for a different interview time.
  • Don’t show up at all — This is even better. If you’ve got a five our drive that includes passing through Chicago, there’s no chance that anything will happen to delay you. An e-mail later that night totally makes things okay. Once again, don’t even think about asking for an interview time that you can actually make it to.
  • Have no knowledge of computer hardware — It’s not like the job description says anything about working with hardware. Don’t be able to reconnect desktop components. Don’t be able to work your way through a troubleshooting exercise. That stuff is pointless.
  • Bullshit me — Watching your brother put together a computer is the same as knowing hardware. Having used a Linux computer in your programming class is the same as knowing Linux. I won’t be able to tell.

In all seriousness, it does strike me how seemingly rare hardware experience is among college students these days. Have computers become so cheap and plentiful that hardware skills aren’t necessary to become a computer nerd? Fortunately, we’ve always been able to find enough quality students. Some of them even go on to get job offers for way more than I make.

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