I really thought i had heard almost everything on the planet after 35 years in the recruiting profession. I should know better than that, we work with people so there will always be a new wrinkle because each person is unique.
I am working a position in Georgia for a high powered executive assistant to support three Sr. Executives. These guys are some of my favorite clients, they are hands on execs, travel all the time, work like the end of the world has been announced and they have to have everything done before it happens.
I posted a job ad that read something like: "This position supports three on the go executives who are great to work for. They are resepectful, fun and very busy. Top clerical skills are just the tip of the iceberg. You need to enjoy a fast paced environment, you work 8-5, 5 days a week, they work 18/7. Flexibility should describe your personality and the ability to "herd cats" at times without getting flustered will be a plus."
The ad went on a bit to mention the other skills, describe the industry as a wholesale distribution firm with international locations, etc. etc.
I received an interesting resume so sent back an email asking for salary and reasons for change and a time to speak with this candidate.
Here is what i got back:
Thanks so much for your reply; unfortunately, my husband read the ad and saw that there are "cats" involved. He is allergic and doesn't want me bringing cat hair into the home."
Now i realize that we use all kinds of expressions that some people never heard of but..
When i wrote back and told her that there were no cats involved in the job it was just an expression meaning that one would at times have three people asking for something at once and going different directions so might be a little frustrating. The only cats were the ones that sometimes come up on the parking lot that they run off.
She came back and asked, "Would i have to be the one to run them off the parking lot and my other concern is that if i work for three people would i ever be able to take a vacation?"
My response, "I don't really think this is the right fit, the cats and the vacation might be a problem so let's move on."
Let's hear the funniest turndown/questions you ever got from a candidate.
Sandra...WARNING DO NOT OPEN THIS LINK. If you do you will never be able to make hay out of your little quip about how hard it is to herd cats.
Remember, you've been warned.
I predict "cat herding" will be a preferred skill-set going into 2012, particularly for jobs that have a high requirement for patience and persistence, e.g., like working with difficult personalities.