Dave McElhinny: Job application honesty is paramount - PineCreek Journal

Dave McElhinny: Job application honesty is paramount

Trib logo Dave McElhinny

Wednesday, August 7, 2019 | 12:01 AM

Before we begin, I want to go on record that I’m not proud of this, but I was desperate.

You see, my parents heard that a company was hiring laborers and wanted me to get a summer job there. But I was 16, and I wanted to get a cushy, very part-time job with my friends at a local pool instead.

However, my folks instructed me to drive there, ask for an application for the laborer job and fill it out. Being the obedient kid I was, I did exactly as I was told. But alas, they never called me for the job.

While I don’t recall all of the questions, I do remember many of them. I’d like to share my answers with you. Perhaps you can figure out why they didn’t hire me.

QUESTION: Are you a legal U.S. Citizen?


QUESTION: Education


QUESTION: Why should we hire you?

ANSWER: I am a prefectionist with grate attention to detales.

QUESTION: Do you have any special skills?

ANSWER: I have a great memory, I’m tall, and I have an excellent memory.

QUESTION: What sets you apart from other potential candidates?

ANSWER: I don’t know. I never met them.

QUESTION: What is your dream job?

ANSWER: Night security at Dream Waterbed.

QUESTION: Are you a leader?

ANSWER: If that’s what you want me to be.

QUESTION: How are you at working under pressure?

ANSWER: Oh man. What kind of pressure?

QUESTION: What are your hobbies?

ANSWER: I like to go to the baseball park, sit behind a guy with a hooded sweatshirt on and then eat sunflower seeds and see how many shells I can get in his hood before the game ends.

QUESTION: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

ANSWER: Age 21. Age 26.

QUESTION: Can you lift at least 40 pounds?

ANSWER: It depends on what it is.

There are videos, books, pamphlets, resume writing seminars and about a billion other tools to help people learn how to land just the right job. But what about if you don’t want a job? Well then you are left to your own imagination. But as it turned out, I was a natural.

I was pretty slick. I had beaten the “my folks said get a job system.” Pretty genius, right?


You know what’s worse than being on a landscaping crew with a 22-year-old boss who, as it turned out, was really laid back, bought hoagies for the crew every day for lunch and was fun to work with? Getting to go to work with your father, who likes to get to arrive at 6 a.m. and who poured concrete every day and was always in need of some young buck to use a wheelbarrow to cart concrete around the work site.

You see, parents aren’t as dumb as kids think. They knew I purposely bombed that interview and used it as an instructional tool.

I learned my lesson.

From that day forth, I chose to be serious and honest on all job applications. In fact, 22 years ago I sat down and filled out an application to work at the newspaper. From the first question to the last, I was honest and forthcoming. I even remember the final question on the application and how I answered it, even though I found it to be an odd question at the very bottom the application.

Sign: Taurus.