Quick Qualifiers and Following Directions

26 Aug

employers to applicants: bring it

It’s called a “quick qualifier.” A device that screens out job applicants that don’t follow a certain criteria that forces job applicants to read closely, follow directions. This WSJ article describes how it’s done:

For years I’ve used a special filtering technique to avoid this problem. My secret? In the ad (about three-quarters of the way down) I tell the applicants, “To prove that you’re a meticulous reader, you have to include the following sentence when you send your résumé: ‘It is with my utmost respect I hereto surrender my curriculum vitae for your consideration.'”

I am all for ’em! Quick qualifiers are like the odd letters you have a punch in when you register online for something — they keep out the spam. We, as applicants, shouldn’t be firing off tons of resumes and covers without any thought. And yet the humor is that even if we meticulously apply, most of the time our applications aren’t even read. Worse yet — I hate employers that suggest this, as the article above gives as a reason to try quick qualifiers:

Most important, business owners want employees who will do as they’re told. If they’ve used the sentence, it shows they’re more inclined to explicitly follow directions and do what you expect of them.

We are not cogs in the system. This is why I have talked to dozens of liberal artists that have (independently) called their jobs as “soul-crushing.” So, I’m not against quick qualifiers but the purpose of them should never be to train employees to follow directions.

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One Response to “Quick Qualifiers and Following Directions”

  1. Sarah August 26, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    Nope, I hate ’em. I’ve long been told that in order to make my resume and cover letter “stand out,” I, like my competition, have to pepper it with these “quick qualifers.” My application will then get scanned into some sort of system, and if there’s enough of qualifiers present, you’ll be called for an interview. It does, as you mentioned, suck the soul out of the process. And what’s interesting is that this method doesn’t leave much room for individuality, an issue that runs counter to your typical liberal artist. We want to be recognized and hired for our specialties, not for the ability to repeat phrases off a job description.

    Here’s a thought: perhaps my next app should include some quick qualifiers inserted in random, nonsensical places. That way, my app would register in the scanners, while maintaining some sense of creativity and integrity, even if I am wrapping it in a thick woolly blanket of manipulation.

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