5 Strange Hiring Facts that Provide Great Lessons

There are some weird hiring facts and stories you hear about job searching and recruiting. Some of them may seem like something funny you might tweet and then forget about, but there’s a lot to be learned from those headlines that make you do a double-take.


1. Applying From the Toilet:

When Johnston Press spoke to over 2000 UK job seekers, they found that 6% of them admitted to applying for jobs while on the toilet.

Yep. And a total of 25% applied from other “unlikely locations”. Hmm.

You might find it funny, or gross, or a sign of What The World Today Is Coming To, but it goes to show that job seekers don’t limit their search to just their desktops. They’ll browse, search, and apply for jobs whenever they find them and wherever they happen to be, even if that’s sitting on the toilet.

If your job board, careers page, or ATS intake is not mobile-friendly, and doesn’t let candidates apply by mobile, you might miss out on them. That doesn’t mean you’re catering to the applying-from-the-toilet demographic, but to the growing numbers of candidates who take advantage of mobile Internet to make job searching more convenient.


2. A Dog’s Breakfast:

CrawfordThomas Recruiters reports that 80% of applicants for a job with the title “Dog Food Tester” were not able to glean what such a job entailed. (The ones who understood already had experience.)

It’s hard to say without having the full context of the job advertisement in question, but surely there must be ways to circumvent such confusion. A well-constructed job post can help weed out unqualified applicants as well as attract appropriate ones.

Maybe “Dog Food Taster” might have been a better job title, if such a high percentage of applicants were unclear. Or perhaps a subtitle— “Dog Food Tester – Tested on Humans, Not Animals”. It’s okay to have a little fun with it, especially if (as I expect is the case with this gig) having a sense of humour helps on the job.


3. Famous Last Words

As reported by AOL Jobs, an OfficeTeam survey found some unusual reasons for people quitting their jobs. Such reasons included:

  • “A person quit because he hated the carpet.”
  • “One worker did not like the colors of the walls.”
  • “The employee quit because the office building was unattractive.”
  • “Someone felt the lobby area was too small.”
  • “She hated the lighting in the building.

Almost sounds like Oscar Wilde’s famous last words: “Either the wallpaper goes, or I do.” It may seem superficial, but the environment one works in can affect morale, motivation, and productivity. The ideas behind building of company culture and measuring employee engagement aren’t just fluff. If your physical work space is costing you your talent or repelling candidates, it might be worth the investment to move or redecorate.


4. What Manhole Covers Say About You

There are lots of oddball questions people get asked in interviews, but this one seems to come up a lot: “Why are manhole covers round?”

A friend of mine was asked this question once and was stumped. She didn’t know a thing about manhole covers, sewers, or construction. According to CareerFAQs.com.au, hiring managers usually ask this question to gauge a person’s creative thinking or problem-solving abilities. But it seems many people assume it’s trivia question, akin to asking them to name the capital city of Iceland.

If your aim is solely to evaluate a candidate’s problem-solving abilities, a re-phrasing of the question to, “Why do you think manhole covers are round?” might elicit a creative answer. On the other hand, if your hope is that your new hire’s ability to interpret and communicate means they’ll figure out why you’re asking the question in the first place—well then, have at it!

Oh, and the answer to why manhole covers are round? It’s because a round manhole cover can’t fall into the opening, unlike a square-shaped hole and cover.


5. Recruiting From the Restroom:

I’m sorry, I really didn’t set out for this to be a theme—but here we are!

In the year 2000, Ikea put ads on the walls of their store restrooms and received thousands of job applications as a result. The campaign didn’t cost them much and produced great results.

The lesson here is to be creative. Ikea knew that some of their customers were the sort of employees they were looking for and/or could help spread the word. My guess is that the kind of customer Ikea likes to hire is the kind that really likes Ikea—the kind that spends half the day there, exploring the store, grabbing lunch, and eventually needs to use the restroom. Hence the job ads in the restroom.

If you want to reach a particular kind of candidate, figure out where they are or where you cross paths with them the most and reach out to them there—wherever that may be! The same applies online as much as it does in a bricks-and-mortar context. That’s why sharing job posts on social media can be an important part of recruiting, and why niche job boards can often produce higher value candidates.

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