Rejection Letter: 'Quite Frankly, You Scare Us'

If you ever wanted to tell an applicant the truth, and the whole truth, about why you rejected him or her for a job, maybe you will find satisfaction in living vicariously through the BBC.

The "HR monkeys and hiring managers" over at, a website devoted to laugh-inducing cover letters and résumés, have a rejection letter that the BBC allegedly (we use allegedly here because we are unable to verify the authenticity of the letter) sent to a candidate for a Web producer position.

After you read the letter, you'll have at least some clue about why the BBC went with another candidate. The first two paragraphs start out normally enough, however:

Thank you for submitting your application for the Web Producer role located in Gloucester .

I am now writing, with regret, to inform you that your name has not been placed on the shortlist of candidates to be invited for interview. I am sorry if this is disappointing for you.

Sources: and the Globe and Mail's Office Blog

In the next two paragraphs, the brutal honesty takes center stage:

We heard about your previous Internet projects, and, quite frankly, you scare us.

You may also like to note that calling our head of human resources a "skank ho" does not gain you any plus points when being shortlisted for a position.

Yours sincerely,

The letter has earned a spot in's Best of the Worst.

The Way to Employees' Hearts Is Through Their Stomachs!

You may soon be getting your workplace tips from Paula Deen, Bobby Flay, and Rachel Ray, according to a new book, Food 2.0--Secrets from the Chef Who Fed Google (DK Publishing, 2008). In it, super chef Charlie Ayers touts serving "brainfood" onsite to make employees content--and productive. And now other companies are executing this idea in a très gourmet way.

In Ayers' book, he describes how he used raw, organic, and fermented (!) "brainfoods" to make delicious "kick-start breakfasts," power lunches, and light dinners for employees at Google's corporate center, which boasts 18 food venues at its Mountain View, California campus. At Google's Café 150, according to an article in Every Day with Rachel Ray, no ingredient comes from farther than 150 miles away!

Ayers also calculated which foods were served at different times of the workday to coincide with workers' nutritional needs for varying biorhythms to boost their productivity--and creativity!

In Win the Recruiting War! from BLR, you'll learn how to find and hire great employees.

And according to the magazine article, other organizations are following suit in serving up gourmet grub. At the company-run Gap Café in its San Francisco headquarters, workers can lunch on free-range chicken paillard while watching flamenco dancers commemorate Latin American Heritage Month. At Best Buy's headquarters in Minneapolis , employees have 11 food stations from which to choose their meals, including a "comfort food depot," and menus change daily ! And while the buffet lunch at the United Nations' delegate's dining room at its New York City headquarters is pricey at $25, employees select delicacies from various ethnic cuisines or munch on soft-shelled crabs.

Seems like there wouldn't be much turnover with these lunches to look forward to at work. Now, what's in your company's vending machine? Do your epicurean employees approve?

Source: Every Day with Rachel Ray (May 2008 page 36)

Once More unto the Mailbox

As promised, we are bringing you more of our reader-supplied stories. This week's tales are a mixture of the strange, the amusing, and, frankly, the disturbing. We thank you again for your thoughtfulness and industriousness, and most of all, for doing our work for us.

Honesty Is Not Always the Best Policy

"I fired an employee who had been working for our small university for two weeks. She had informed her supervisor that she would need to take time off from work because she was still interviewing."

Or this one:

"We have a tiered interview process that involves HR, management, and our employees. During a management interview, our manager asked a job candidate how she would handle the following situation: You lent money to a friend and he/she is refusing to pay you back (we are in the collection business). The candidate responded that she would call the b@#$% and tell her that if she didn't pay her back she would kick her a!@. Needless to say, the candidate was not hired."

An ATM Card with a Different Kind of Interest

"One of my most unusual terminations came when I worked at a bank about 15 years ago. As part of the exit interview, I had to collect all bank property (keys, etc.) However, because all employees had 'employee checking accounts,' I also had to collect their ATM cards. I was doing one exit interview on a Friday afternoon (the employee's last day). When I explained to this lovely young female employee that I had to collect her ATM card, she got very upset. She said she was going out celebrating that evening and how would she get cash for the evening? I again requested the card. She took it out of her wallet, leaned forward and ran her tongue up the side of the card, kissed it, and asked if I was sure that she had to give it to me. Was there anything else she could give me instead? I asked her to place the card on my desk, explained that she could open a new account on Monday, get a temporary card, and maybe her friends would treat her to drinks that night. Some people get very attached to their ATM cards!"

BLR's Audio Click 'n Train: Interviewing Skills for Supervisors will help train supervisors and managers on how to conduct successful and effective interviews.

Employees Who Should Be Paid by Reality Check

"We had hired a young man who had recently graduated from college. While he was a great guy, he was a not-so-great employee. He kept trying to do every job but his own, and because he was falling down in a number of areas, we had several performance counseling sessions leading to a written warning. After a serious coaching session with him putting him on a 30-day probation and final warning, he asked if he could discuss another matter with me. I told him of course. He proceeded to tell me his compensation was not sufficient, and he asked for a raise. It was all I could do to maintain my composure as I explained that salary increases were rewards for good performance. It won't surprise you to know that he was gone within a couple of weeks..."

And this one:

"I was interviewing candidates for an administrative assistant position. I had narrowed the field down to three applicants, one of whom was a referral from a good friend. She was the first to come in for an interview, and it was apparent that her only other interview experience was for the job she was currently holding. Or, should I say, held. At the end of the interview, she announced that she assumed she would be starting the next day, as she had already given her notice at her other job and been walked out. I asked her why she had given notice, and she said it was because she would be starting this job. I told her that I still had other applicants to interview and that I had not yet made a decision. She said she thought that because she had been referred she would automatically get the job, and this interview was 'just a formality.'"

Have you got a strange but true workplace tale to share?

Source: Our faithful readers

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