EDITORIAL: Foolishness Begone

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I can't wait until this dot-com foolishness is just a distant memory. Though the job market has tightened considerably, apparently some of us are still feeling its side effects. Take my company, which has two open positions. Yes, the quality of resumes has improved, especially in the past few months. However, quite a few flakes still walk among us.

I quote a voice mail from a woman who declined a job offer last week: "I'm a jeans-and-sneakers kind of gal. I just don't think the job I'm looking for merits buying a whole new wardrobe. If you think this is something that we can overcome or if you ever downgrade your dress code, give me a call." This from a Johns Hopkins graduate. (By the way, my company's dress code is business casual five days a week.)

This happened three days after a job candidate asked whether I could come in 45 minutes early one morning to accommodate his work schedule. That was fine, but then he arrived 15 minutes late and had the gall to say, "I'm sorry, but I have to leave in 20 minutes for another interview." Goodbye, already.

Then we have last year's story of a former employee who offered what he called a "reason, not an excuse," for constantly being late to work: "I am slow often and late, and I am an insomniac who finds it hard to wake up in the morning. I will try harder." Needless to say, he didn't try hard enough.

Gone is the employee's world, and gone are the stock options and the signing bonuses. Let's see what work can really be like. My advice to job candidate No. 1: Open your eyes. Last month, 133,713 people were laid off, up 203 percent over November, as the economy continued to slow. The job market hasn't been like this in years. Not that you have to accept the first position offered to you, but grow up and say hello to the real world.

To the jerk who couldn't spare the proper amount of time for an interview, say you have to get back to a meeting. If you were trying to prove how marketable you are, it didn't work. Just be thankful it wasn't my foot hitting your butt on the way out the door.

• Care to share your worst-hire story of the past year or two? Send an e-mail to tad@dmnews.com, and we'll publish a selection of your comments.

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