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by By Eileen M. Levitt, SPHR | March 10, 2009


When I wrote the column a few months ago about funny applicant stories, I couldn't imagine the volume of funny applicant and workplace stories that were still out there to be told. So here are some of the better ones!

Please bring three references with you

Have you ever asked an applicant to bring with him/her some references? A colleague shared a funny story when she asked an applicant to bring three references with him, well, he literally did:

"This happened more than 10 years ago. I worked in HR in a Fortune 500 company and we were interviewing for a maintenance position. ... It was simultaneously very funny and touching to see three scared men sitting side-by-side in suits waiting in the lobby (to be a reference) for their friend. ... By the way, he got the job and we made the right choice."

But alligators really are friendly!

A colleague recently shared a story about an employee bringing an alligator to work. Yes, an alligator! The co-workers did not seem to mind and they participated in photo-ops, petting, holding it etc. Shockingly, the organization swiftly implemented a "no pets in the workplace" policy.

We love phone interviews!

On a recent phone screen an HR Team member asked an applicant: What would your ideal supervisor be like? The answer: "Someone who loves challenges."

From resumes

"I am a young, experienced, and hard working science writer with degrees in science and journalism. Recently I learnt of an opening for the position of Communications Associate in your organization and I would like to take this opportunity to apply for the same."

"Position: Front Desk Stuff"

These really happened. Do you have a funny applicant or on the job story? Send it to Eileen - We would love to publish them.

Eileen Levitt, SPHR is our vault recruiting expert and president of The HR Team, Inc. in Columbia, Maryland. She can be reached at (410) 381-9700 or Keep up with human resources trends and issues. Subscribe to The Team Player, The HR Team's free monthly newsletter. Just click the link to send a subscription e-mail:


Filed Under: Workplace Issues