Meet the One Who Wasn’t the Same

Meet the One Who Wasn’t the Same

by Kerry Scott on 30 October 2009


Once I did a phone interview with a candidate for a travel agent position.  This candidate had a flat Midwestern accent, which is pretty common here in Milwaukee.

The candidate answered all the questions reasonably well, and there were no red flags, and she seemed qualified, so I scheduled her for an in-person interview.

When she came in, she had a very strong Russian accent…because she was not the same person.  She’d had someone else do the phone interview for her.

When confronted, she said she didn’t think we would notice the discrepancy, because HR people are “not that good.”  Then she said she was pretty sure she could learn to be a travel agent on the fly, because she knew how to use Windows and Microsoft Works, and she liked to travel, and (the best part) that she had been to the Mall of America twice and could book people for trips there.

Tales of the Cluefree appear pretty much every Friday. Past stories are here.

Photo by puroticorico

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Steph McDonald October 30, 2009 at 10:33 am

And I could be a surgeon cause I’ve had surgery. Sure.

Melissa October 30, 2009 at 10:52 am

“Then she said she was pretty sure she could learn to be a travel agent on the fly…”

So had she falsified information on her resume, too? I wouldn’t think you would call her for an interview if she hadn’t indicated any experience or schooling on her application.

That change in accent is something else…
.-= Melissa´s last blog ..Being Present in Your Interview =-.

Kerry October 30, 2009 at 11:27 am

The resume was fake (or maybe it was the real resume of the person who’d answered the phone interview questions…who knows). The candidate seemed to think that the in-person interview was the part where we offered her the job, because she seemed surprised that there were more questions. She seemed to think she could come in on her first day of work and just figure out the computer system on her own, in the way you figure out how to type a letter in Word the first time. SABRE doesn’t really work like that.

The real mystery for me was why the phone-interview person agreed to do this for her.

jmkenrick October 30, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Okay, I’ve never been to the Mall of America – but is there ANY reason why visiting it would make you a qualified travel agent? Am I missing something?

Recruiting must make great fodder for dinner party conversations.

Tim G October 30, 2009 at 9:07 pm

I have frequently interviewed candidates who don’t seem like they fit the resume or the screening up to that point. But never something as big as that. More like an education resume that seemed doubtful when you asked a few questions. Questions related to their supposed major. Me: Literature, I see. What was your favorite type to study? Candidate: Oh, you know, books and stuff.
.-= Tim G´s last blog ..6 Contemplations During My Run Today =-.

Evil HR Lady October 31, 2009 at 2:09 am

That’s awesome. Mall of America isnt’ all it’s cracked up to be though. I see why you didn’t hire her.
.-= Evil HR Lady´s last blog ..So, How’s That Working For You? =-.

boggled November 2, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Sounds like this person is more motivated and creative than 90 percent of the travel agents I’ve encountered. I’d say give her a week’s trial and see how she works out. BTW, there are a lot of Russian emigres out there who might appreciate her Russian accent. And I agree with her: “HR people are not that good.”

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