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Tips for Young People – How to Conduct Yourself in A Job Interview

My personal support worker, Hattie, recently resigned over a digestive biscuit-related dispute. I won’t go into details but it boiled down to me accusing her of repeated theft and her accusing me of being a mean-spirited old bastard. In the end, neither allegation could be proven conclusively so we agreed to part ways.

As a result of Hattie’s departure, I have been forced into the unenviable position of having to interview candidates to fill her job. After a week of frustrating encounters with dimwitted young job seekers, I am now convinced more than ever that young people have no clue how to comport themselves in any situation outside of a damned rave.

And so, I offer up some basic fundamentals to young people on how to be successful in a job interview.

1. Simple Tips

Show up.

It may seem like a small thing but it’s generally considered an important first test of employability.

Dress Appropriately

Put on a decent sweater and some crisp slacks for Christ’s sake. If I had any interest in engaging the services of a woman in hoochie momma shorts, lip gloss and a tube top I’d take $50 and head down to the damned docks.

Bring a Resume

Preferably your own. Obama’s resume is impressive but it doesn’t really tell me much about you or why you’re qualified to make me soup. (my resume writing tips can be found here.)

Make Eye Contact

It’s polite, respectful and gives me a good indication of whether or not you’re high on the drugs. Plus, staring at my goitre just makes us both uncomfortable.

Shake Hands

And I don’t mean one of those fist-pumping, wiggly-fingered street greetings. I mean a good old fashioned handshake. But not too firm and not too long – I bruise easily and don’t want to be touching you any longer than I have to.

Be Prepared

Little things…Commit your name to memory. Know what job you’ve applied for. Brush the McMuffin off your chin before walking through the door. And for the love of God, be prepared to speak. A job interview is not a police interrogation – I shouldn’t need to lean on you in order to get you tell me a little about your prior work history or have to tease the truth out of you.

 2. Additional Considerations

Based on my experience this week I can tell you without question that if you are in a job interview you SHOULD NOT:

  • Take calls on your damned cell phone
  • Pick your teeth, nose or use a finger to explore your ear canal
  • Pause to change your nicotine patch
  • Address the interviewer as “Buddy,” “Pappy” or “Doc”
  • Wear mirrored sunglasses
  • Illustrate a point through the use of shadow puppetry
  • Use the phrase “I was drinking a lot at the time” or “but I was never convicted of it”
  • Ask if there is a casino in the area
  • Identify your short-term goals as ‘taking a dump later”
  • Open with a knock-knock joke
  • Pick a scab
  • Ask to borrow cab fare
  • Plead the 5th Amendment
  • Take off your shoes and rub your feet
  • Suggest that the interviewer pull your finger
  • Begin a sentence with “I’m not a racist but…”
  • Snap gum, eat a sandwich, chew tobacco, slurp a take-out coffee or generally use your mouth for anything other than answering the damned questions you’ve been asked

3. Things to Remember

No one owes you a damned job. Use some common sense for once in your life. If you’re offered a glass of water don’t respond with “Do you have anything stronger?”

And, honestly, it wouldn’t hurt to smile once in a while. Trust me; you’ll have plenty of time to be disgruntled once you see your damned paycheque.

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129 Comments leave one →
  1. 12:03 am

    I’d like to wish my brother, York, a happy 79th Birthday.

    York, if you’re reading this, well…I guess that proves you can teach an old dog new tricks.

    All the best, you damned fool. Try to stay out of trouble and for the love of God let’s avoid a repetition of last year. I don’t need the police banging on my door at 3 a.m. because some drunken old coot became irate when he wasn’t afforded a 15% seniors discount on lap dances.

    It’s unbecoming a man your age and makes the rest of us decent old men look bad.

    Nevertheless, Happy Birthday.

    Fond regards,

    Don

    • 8:08 am

      Happy birthday Mr York from nursie xx

    • Clifton L. Tanager permalink
      11:50 pm

      York -

      I hope this fortutious days sees you finally out of both the lawn and those ridiculous leather pants. It’s time to act your age and reclaim the lawn by using angry words and elliptical threats.

      I didn’t have time to get you anything, but I was able to snag the latest issue of the AARP magazine from my proctologist’s office. I’d wear gloves if I were you.

      C.L. Tanager

    • York Mills permalink
      12:51 am

      Hee hee. Thank you, Don. I just showed up at your house. But the curtains have been pulled and the lights are off. Luckily there were all kinds of squirrels on your lawn to chase. Whoopee!

      PS: Have you seen my pants?

      • York Mills permalink
        12:52 am

        Oh, and thank you, Nurse. Hee hee…

        Mr. C.L. Tanager. I like your pipe! Hee hee…

    • 3:44 pm

      Again… I love reading what you have to say. You would think it would all be common sense.

      • 12:13 am

        Many thanks hanilol,

        You would think so but, sadly, it’s just not the case. Common sense seems to be a very rare commodity nowadays.

        Best regards,

        Don

  2. 12:07 am

    I have been ‘downsized’, while bimbos who sleep around in the office keep a job. The only qualification the bimbos have? They are quite gregarious. They put out.
    Me, while being a bit older, and costing them more in salary/medical…..I hadda be put out.

    • 12:22 am

      That’s a damned shame sekanblogger.

      I’m glad I retired when I did. There was a time when a company felt some loyalty toward their employees and actually cared about what happened to them. I saw that erode pretty steadily over the last 1o years of my working life but I get the impression that the whole notion just doesn’t exist at all anymore.

      A shame. And short-sighted too in my opinion.

      Good luck and all the best,

      Don

  3. 12:13 am

    Happy birthday as well, York. At 79 years young, don’t you think it’s time to give those damn leather pants back to the cow?

    As for punks and their decidedly unprofessional way of how not to go to an interview, I might add it’s not a good idea to have pizza delivered to the interview, then ask the interviewer to pay the tip. Nor is shaving a good idea during an interview, either legs or face. Asking the interviewer out on a date, dutch treat, is bad on too many levels. As is bringing the kids along. Asking the interviewer if he or she has a mirror, then pulling out a bag of white powder rarely works in getting one hired.

    • 12:29 am

      Many thanks Jammer.

      I appreciate you passing on the advice to York. Hopefully he’ll take it – I keep telling him his face is leathery enough; he doesn’t need to add pants to the equation.

      And great tips for potential job candidates. Bringing the kids along is never a good idea. Or asking if the boyfriend can sit in because “he’s the jealous type and prone to freaking out.” And while I also object to the idea of shaving during an interview, it would be nice if they could try to slot it in 1 to 3 days before the interview (either legs, face OR both).

      All the best, Jammer and thanks again for stopping in.

      Don

  4. 12:15 am

    “Blowing up” the interviewer’s personal bathroom is frowned upon too…

    “Hey! Is there a plunger anywhere?” or “Whoa! You may not want to go in there!!!!” Are a couple of things a person might not want to say during their interview.

    • 12:42 am

      Many thanks morethananelectrician,

      I’d try not to disqualify anyone solely on the basis of having the collywobbles or a nervous tummy but, I agree, it’s not the best damned first impression one can make.

      All the best,

      Don

  5. 12:17 am

    See, I had an inkling that job-seekers were going to be as you described, which is why I never opened a spa even though I thought seriously about it. The idea of dealing with people seeking employment was so frightening I decided I would be much better off working solo. So far, so good. I have no desire to have employees. It is bad enough having tenants. Many of your suggestions as to how to comport yourself during a job interview can be applied to the concept of applying to be a tenant.

    • 12:56 am

      Thank you healingmagichands,

      A very wise decision in my estimation. I never had my own business but I’ve always preferred working alone. I don’t like relying on others or having to change my work habits to suit their needs.

      In many ways I think being a landlord would be worse than being an employer though. At least you can fire and employee with relatively little grief. I never had tenants but years and years and years and years ago I worked for a government department that oversaw landlord and tenant complaints. The things I heard were absolutely terrifying damn it. Tenants pouring concrete down the sinks and toilets, stealing baseboards, removing walls…the list goes on and on. And so many landlords were powerless to do anything about it. (To be fair, I heard my fair share of landlord horror stories too.)

      I didn’t learn a Hell of a lot at that job other than I never wanted to be a landlord or tenant again.

      All the best,

      • 4:15 am

        Oh, don’t even get me started. For five years I managed my sister’s apartment complex and at present we have a rental house. . . I could tell you a story that would make you get out the Rye immediately.

  6. 12:20 am

    Mr. Mills sorry to hear about Hattie. I’m sure it was for the best. Hopefully, you’ll find someone who fits your qualifications soon. Nevertheless, hysterical read as always.

    Best of luck with the interviews :)

    • 1:02 am

      Many thanks Sherri,

      I appreciate your concern. I’m going to miss Hattie. She was kind enough to me and a decent companion but after my last warning about the missing rye and socks, I felt I had to draw a line. (Still, I’m getting damned hungry and am running out of canned goods).

      Hopefully I’ll find someone suitable. If you know anyone who’s bright, capable, clean, respectful, honest, not too tall, quiet, open to criticism and who has strong legs and is able to make a decent cockaleekie soup, please feel free to send them my way.

      Best regards,

      Don

  7. 12:21 am

    Dear Don,

    I hope that you recover soon from this horrendous and shocking witness view of humanity. I, also believe that an interviewee should try to communicate in the same language as your potential employer. One syllable grunts do not count. My personal preference is a simple sentence. Volume control is also important. I may be older, but I am not deaf, yet.

    I am shocked that you did not list flatulence, pulling the “wedgie” underwear out from nether regions, stroking ones hair, scratching under the arms, and belching under additional considerations. Sadly, I must admit that I have witnessed this atrocious behavior. I have seen barn animals that have better manners.

    One very important suggestion: take many deep breaths before sitting down for the interview. It truly helps. As always, thank you for the informative post.

    Warmest regards,
    mcnorman

    • 1:11 am

      Thank you Mcnorman. I always enjoy your comments a great deal.

      I don’t think young people have any sense of how they are perceived by others (nor do I suspect they care). Grunting, shrugging and mumbling may be acceptable forms of communication while sparking up doobies in the washroom at high school but in a job interview people expect a little more. A simple sentence or two would certainly go a long way and a little enthusiasm wouldn’t hurt either.

      Those are all excellent additions to the list. To be honest, I likely could have gone on for 20 pages without too much trouble. And then done another 20 on things they should do (clean your damned nails, close your mouth when you’re not speaking, put on a shirt etc.,).

      And thanks too for the very fine advice for anyone going into an interview. Taking a few moments to calm yourself and focus your thoughts will always serve you well.

      All the best,

      Don

    • 8:11 am

      … but not so many deep breaths that you hyperventilate. Not all interviewers have a supply of brown paper bags on hand you know

      • 1:54 pm

        Many thanks Nursemyra,

        I’ll be sure to keep a few tucked away in my side table just in case.

        All the best,

        Don

  8. SEEJ permalink
    12:34 am

    I’m 24 and here are some more tips:

    I always call and introduce myself before I submit an application to ask questions about the job- ie. so the person reviewing knows my name already and having someone know your name can mean more sometimes then the sum of your resume.

    I always dress in at least business casual even though I work in the wildlife field where folks live in carhartt clothes.

    I always being extra resumes to the interview.

    I always follows up with a thank you card the next day or day after that to keep my name fresh in their memory.

    *One thing I have learned- network, network, network and get your name out there. You never know who is going to be able to help you get a job or be your next boss.

    • 1:17 am

      Many thanks Seej,

      Excellent advice, lad, and I appreciate your sharing it with me. I especially like that approach of”you never know who is going to be able to help you get a job or be your next boss.”

      If you happen to know how to make a decent egg salad sandwich and don’t mind folding an old man’s underpants I might be prepared to be that next boss. I’m unpredictable, cantankerous and prone to outbursts but – for the most part – what employer isn’t.

      Give it some thought and let me know. I expect, however, that you are destined for bigger things.

      All the best and thanks for visiting

      Don.

      • SEEJ permalink
        2:33 am

        As an assistant I would be your dreamboat . My grandma was very hard to work for, for pretty much everyone but me. She wanted everything done a specific way and done very meticulously. She lived in a house that is around 150 years old. I’ve scrubbed hard wood floors, cleaned french doors, and I don’t know anyone else that has had to clean lead pane windows, you know the the big windows with 100 diamonds in it? I can’t stand seeing people leave fingerprints on a glass door anymore. I can cook like a champion. However you are too late- I am the 24 year old that emailed you a couple of weeks ago, remember me? I’m an army wife, finishing graduate school, and work more than full time. Unless you live in beautiful Alaska and can pay me more then I already make then unfortunately I think you are out of luck.

        • 1:55 pm

          Thank you SEEJ,

          I certainly do remember you. And I must say that you do indeed sound like the dream employee. My hardwood floors are in a disgraceful state and my windows are so smudged I can barely peer out of them anymore.

          Unfortunately, I don’t think I’d do well in beautiful Alaska (I can’t tolerate the damned cold anymore) and while I believe I pay a decent rate, Hattie was constantly complaining that it was nowhere near a living wage. In fact, she cited my “meager wages” as one of the reasons behind her feeling justified in siphoning off a few ounces of rye now and again.

          Anyway, all the best in your endeavors. And if you know anyone cut from the same cloth, please feel free to send them my way.

          Best regards,

          Don

          • Seej's Dad permalink
            3:33 am

            Don,

            She’s not a lad, and she’s also done all what she has described and so much more. She’s also one of the nicest people you could ever meet and that’s why I sent her to your site.

            I’m sure you would approve.

            All my best,
            Seej’s Dad

            • 6:36 pm

              Thank you Seej’s Dad.

              I don’t know why I seem to insist on assuming everyone is a “lad” when I suppose the odds are somewhere in the 50/50 range that I’m going to be wrong.

              Your daughter sounds like a fine young woman and I’m sure you have every right to be proud of her.

              Thanks for asking her to visit with me and for stopping in yourself.

              All the best,

              Don

  9. 12:34 am

    Valuable advice as always, Mr. Mills.

    I would also suggest that references should consist of more than just a list of their Facebook friends, half of whom are named “Dudester” and “Wazted Noww.”

    As far as Hattie goes, I think it was well past time that you and she parted ways. Clearly, when a woman stoops to stealing your digestive biscuits, identity theft and looting your 401k can’t be far behind.

    Best of luck in your home aide search.

    • 1:30 am

      Many thanks bmj2k,

      I have to admit I was concerned that the digestive biscuits, argyle socks and rye were just a warm up and that before long I’d start to discover that my pot holders, belts and corduroy trousers were disappearing. I had never considered identity theft, however. That’s concerning…she had access to all of my credit cards, personal information and could easily pass herself off as an 80 year old man. (She wasn’t a handsome woman).

      All the best and thanks for stopping in.

      Don

  10. 12:44 am

    I fear this is going to end badly Mr Mills. No one wants to be subjected to the continuing muffled thumping sound coming from the headphones of a youngins ipod! For the love of god, I suggest you ring Hattie ASAP and offer her unlimited digestive biscuits as part of her new bonus. Pride comes before a fall :(

    • 1:35 am

      Many thanks frigginloon,

      You make a very sensible point but I fear it may be too late for that. I suspect we may have said things that can’t be taken back. I know I did. And lots of them. I can’t be sure about Hattie – I can never really hear her that well.

      Anyway, she looked mad. Damned mad. Mad like a woman looks when you say you’re going to stop and bowl a game before you come home on your wedding anniversary.

      I’ll give it some thought, though. Many thanks

      Don

      • The Celtic Queen permalink
        9:31 am

        Don I was thinking exactly the same as Loon. Digestive biscuits are cheap compared to what you’ve lost. Better the devil you know. Pick up that phone and grovel. Fill the pantry with digestive biscuits and keep an eye on those Argyle socks. Tell her you’ve seen the light and let her think you’ve been a stupid old man. Reverse psychology. Life’s too short to bitch and moan with the support workers. Take it from one who knows.
        Go on, you can do it.

        • 12:35 pm

          I think you should heed our words Mr Mills or you may find yourself sucking on a corn dog with the homies :(

          • 1:56 pm

            Thank you Celtic Queen and frigginloon.

            I have to admit I’m beginning to regret my decision already. I can’t seem to locate any of my shopping trousers and am already out of milk. Bran Flakes with apple juice does not make for an enticing breakfast.

            Still, I’m interview a lad this afternoon who shows some promise. His resume only had a half dozen spelling mistakes on it and contained both his first and last name.

            All the best and thanks for the advice. I do appreciate it.

            Don

  11. 1:00 am

    you’re only as young as you think, so happy 17th birthday to york. remember to use the talcum powder before you put the leather shorts on, young man.

    here’s one more tip for youngsters applying for the job of assisting don: take off all the hardware. the 16 pairs of earrings, the nose, nipple, and heaven-knows-where-else rings, the dog collar, etc. should be left on your bedroom dresser. after all, you might have to accompany don to the courthouse or airport one of these days, and don doesn’t want to wait 3 or 4 hours while you try to figure out what’s making the metal detector go off.

    • 1:49 am

      Many thanks Nonnie,

      I’ll be sure to pass your birthday wishes on to York. I know he’ll appreciate it.

      You’re right. Any potential employee of mine will have either tasteful, clip-on pearl earrings or nothing at all.
      I suspect, however, that removing the hardware is good advice for any job interview. I can’t imagine employers taking anyone seriously when they have a bull ring though their nose and chain connecting their lip ring to their damned earring.

      All the best, Nonnie.

      Don

      • 2:00 am

        i almost forgot, don, i know of this guy, i his name is ram something-or-other (i would never even attempt to spell it). while he did a short stint in jail, i think he’s an okay guy at heart. he used to own and run a convenience store but fell on some hard times. he could use a job. should i tell him to drop you a note?

        • 1:56 pm

          Thank you once again, Nonnie.

          I’m all for giving people a second chance. If the lad has moxie, smarts and is prepared to work hard for low pay (which I believe is a prerequisite for work in a convenience store) I’d certainly be happy to give him a try. Please feel free to send him my way.

          All the best,

          Don

      • 8:13 am

        Is it okay for gentlemen applicants to wear pearl clip on earrings too?

        • 1:57 pm

          Thank you nursemyra,

          At this point, I’d be willing to overlook it as long as they were tasteful and understated (that goes for the earrings and the applicant).

          All the best,

          Don

    • York Mills permalink
      1:03 am

      Thank you, nonnie9999. I seem to have misplaced my pants. But I’m sure they will show up soon. I hope so. It’s getting cold outside. Hee hee…

  12. 1:39 am

    A very Happy Birthday to your brother York! Perhaps he’ll heed your advice this time or at least read the fine print about senior discounts in that “Gentlemen’s Club Price Menu”. He could even kill two birds with one stone and conduct “performance interviews” to fill Hatties’ incapable shoes! I can see him now, saying, “That will be all thank-you. We’ll be in touch . . . literally. Next!” Or even, “How do you ever expect to mop a floor moving your hips like THAT? This time try it with FEELING!” It’s really all about multi-tasking.

    Seriously though, we all know that replacing Hattie will be a truly thankless task, but dealing with deadbeats, druggies and drama queens demanding a free lunch and trying to put one over on you will be the raw material for future posts, and anything but boring. Lemonade out of lemons, I guess. Into the bracing winds of change! I can’t wait to hear about the new replacement, and I’m sure this crazy old world will show Hattie what “mean spirited” is really all about. She’ll be missing you, Don! Great post as always!

    • 1:57 pm

      My God Dan,
      You’ve certainly got York’s number. That’s just the type of job interview he’d be happy to conduct. The only problem would be that if I hired someone he selected I’d never get him out of my damned house.

      Thanks for the encouragement too, Dan. Hopefully I’ll find someone suitable soon. I haven’t yelled at anyone for almost three days and its starting to take a toll on me.

      Best regards,

      Don

      • York Mills permalink
        1:04 am

        He really does have my number. Just not enough “hee hee’s”

        Hee hee…

  13. elizabeth3hersh permalink
    2:23 am

    Don,

    I once drove an applicant from point A to point B. On the way to our destination, he seized control of the radio, tuned it to his favorite station and blasted the volume. I was dumbfounded. I have many more stories like this, but none as egregious. Needless to say, he did not get the job.

    Yours,

    Elizabeth

    • 1:57 pm

      Many thanks Elizabeth,

      Egregious is right. It’s astonishing; the nerve that people display. I’d have pulled to the curb and pushed him bodily from the car. Perhaps walking the balance of the trip would give him some time to reflect on his damned stupidity.

      All the best, Elizabeth.

      Don

  14. 2:28 am

    Also using ambigious terms to describe your last job will get nothing but laughter from your interviewer. If you were a Fitting Room Attendant say so. Don’t say you were a Fluffer or people will think you were part of the porn industry.

    • 2:07 pm

      Thank you yellowcat,

      I agree about the ambiguous terms. It gives the appearance you’re trying to hide something. “I’ve been around – doing stuff, taking care of things and keeping my nose clean” isn’t so much an answer as it is a rather poor attempt at an alibi.

      Getting defensive is a red flag too. Responding to a question with “Why do you want know?” or “The past is the past, let’s move on” doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence.

      All the best,

      Don

  15. Evil Editor permalink
    2:29 am

    Several years ago a friend relayed the first time that he’d ever been exposed to on-the-job fist-bumping. A germophobic 50-something Mormon district manager, upon introduction, fist-bumped the entire staff. My friend, who’s in his mid-40s and had never seen nor heard of fist-bumping until then, walked away, muttering if the bizarre introduction now meant that they were Power Rangers.

    • 2:08 pm

      Thank you Evil Editor,

      Fist bumping his fellow employees? The man sounds intolerable. Someone should have fist bumped him across the jaw and smartened him the Hell up. Honestly, what’s wrong with a decent handshake and a simple “nice to meet you?”

      All the best and thanks for the laugh. Your friend sounds like he has a fine sense of humor. Given the circumstances, I suspect he needed it.

      All the best,

      Don

  16. 3:14 am

    While I understand your frustration of digestive-biscuit thievery, they can be tempting (the biscuits, I mean). I suggest you hide such temptations from your next employee.

    • 2:37 pm

      Thank you Tricia,

      Sound advice. I fully intend to keep them under lock and key in future. It’s a shame that things have come to this but, as you say, they are hard to resist and people just don’t have the self-restraint that they used to.

      All the best,

      Don

  17. 3:44 am

    This is where I am lucky. I am a freelance marketing and advertising consultant when I am not running for President of the United States. I am busy enough so that I can keep busy and make a decent living. I am not so busy that I have to hire people.

    Happy Birthday York!

    • 2:38 pm

      Thank you Ahmnodt,

      You’re fortunate indeed. Of course, when you do become President I expect that will have to change. Just remember to do reference checks. I’m not sure when the White House gave up that practice but it’s damned embarrassing for the whole country when we find out that some high ranking official once operated pyramid scams, is a sex addict or never graduated high school.

      Best regards,

      Don

      • 3:34 pm

        I have already begun the vetting process for those I wish to be in my cabinet. Other than Bernie Madoff, there is nothing bad about any of my candidates for cabinet positions.

        • 4:28 pm

          Glad to hear it. Be sure to check their Facebook pages. As Ian in Hamburg pointed out, all sorts of nastiness can pop up there.

    • York Mills permalink
      1:06 am

      Thank you for the birthday wishes Mr. Ahmnodt Heare.

      Don’t shoot me.

      Hee hee…

  18. 3:44 am

    Here’s another tip:

    Don’t commit any crimes in the vicinity of your prospective employer. True story – a guy turns in a job application, then robs somebody in the parking lot. He didn’t get the job, but he did get five years.

    • 2:38 pm

      Thank you kindly myiq2xu,

      Very good advice. I wonder if he had “part-time petty criminal” on his resume under “other interests.”

      Nice of you to stop in. All the best,

      Don

  19. 5:51 am

    Another tip for kids:
    Rehearse an excuse for when the interviewer asks about Myspace/Facebook photo gallery shots featuring the candidate binge drinking/streaking/mooning/robbing banks…

    • 2:57 pm

      Many thanks Ian,

      An excellent point. I expect that this kind of informal reference check is finding increased popularity. As you say, if you’re going to post every asinine photo of you and your friends consuming jello shots and flashing your nasty bits you’ll need to be prepared to answer for it at some point.

      All the best and thanks for visiting.

      Don

  20. vodkabeforenoon permalink
    6:40 am

    But asking for something a little stronger then water, is the only way to calm my nerves during an interview. Since it is frowned upon I make sure to take a few swigs before meeting with potential employers. I AM JOKING!

    I am interviewing for my replacement and the two issues that keep occurring are women showing up in mini skirts. Private parts really should stay private. I am interesting in getting to know your work ethic not if you trim the hedges or not.

    • 2:58 pm

      Vodkabeforenoon,

      How nice to hear from you again, lass. I hope you’re keeping well.

      I’d actually be interested in an applicant that would be willing to trim hedges (my mock orange and burning bush are both quite out of control) but take your point. It sometimes seems that these young women are mistaking a job interview for an audition to be “hooker#3” in a movie of the week.

      Good luck with you interviews. If you find anyone who might be a suitable candidate for me, I’d appreciate a referral.

      Best regards,

      Don

      • YellowRoses610 permalink
        12:31 am

        You might want to know “Trimm ing hedges” Is s refrehnce to weithe ro ntoa lady……shaves her ermmmm whoha.

  21. 7:14 am

    Dear Mr. Mills,

    Sometimes I think it actually may benefit you to first run a background check and take fingerprints prior to an interview. If you could frisk the person before they actually enter your premesis would probably help as well.

    I realize you are an older gentleman, so it may behoove you to hire a security firm to do this for you prior to any face-to-face interviews. Yes, it may cost a little more, but damn it Mr. Mills, you’re worth it.

    Sincerely,

    Carol King

    • 4:17 pm

      Thank you Carol,

      I would have hoped that the placing agency would take care of some of the leg work for me but clearly whoever they’ve hired to screen applicants was a bottom of the barrel candidate as well.

      I like the idea of frisking though. It would set a good tone for the interview and get them used to the notion as well. In future I fully intend to both frisk my employee and search his/her bags at quitting time. Fool me once, shame on you etc.,

      I think I’ll stop short of security however. The idea of interviewing burly dimwits for the role of security chief is entirely too much to contemplate at this point.

      All the best and thanks for visiting.

      Don

  22. 8:37 am

    Now this is advice that has sadly come to late for a young friend of mine that turned up to a job having failed to brush her dreadlocks and then when her phone rang during said interview asked; ‘can I take that call?’ to which the interviewer said ‘sure, its your interview’, so she did, and then her phone remained unsurprisingly silent ever since….

    • 4:17 pm

      Thank you RubyTwoShoes.

      Remarkable. It certainly gives a potential employer a sense of your priorities. Hopefully your young friend learned something from the experience.

      All the best,

      Don

  23. 11:29 am

    This was one of your funniest and most informative posts to date Don. It’s too bad about Hattie though; those damn digestive biscuits have a tendency to break up happy homes.

    You’ve offered a fine and comprehensive list of what not to do on an interview. But since I’ve had the (unenviable) pleasure of having to fill positions in a criminal organization I do have a few to add from that unique perspective.

    Don’t ever….
    Tell me that my wife is hot in that photo and you’d love to bang her.
    Ask how much is too much to steal.
    Consult your tattoos for reference information.
    Ask me if I want to hit the joint you just lit without my permission.
    Ask me if I want to see your gun.
    Ask me to look at what you have in your trunk.
    Give your parole officer as a reference.
    Tell me that you gained valuable insight as a confidential informant.
    Tell me that you aren’t allowed within 300 ft of a school.

    By the way Don, not that it’s any of my business but….50 bucks is way too much for those dock girls.

    • 4:26 pm

      Many thanks Scott,

      I’m afraid you’re right about digestive biscuits. My brother York and I have almost come to blows over them in the past.

      I appreciate the additional tips for interviewees and the perspective. It’s strangely comforting to know that even organized crime has its HR problems.

      And not that I’m likely to be frequenting the docks anytime soon but I will keep your comment in mind. I’m nothing if not a fierce haggler.

      All the best,

      Don

  24. 12:23 pm

    Obviously there is a need for you to reenter the workforce. Those HR punks are letting anyone make my sandwich at McDonalds these days. They all sound like you are still talking to them on the drive through speaker.

    We need you back in corporate HR.

    • 4:27 pm

      Thank you Bearman,

      You’re damned right they all sound like they are still talking through some sort of fuzz box. I can’t understand a damned word those young people say. I blame the tongue piercings and lips rings.

      I don’t think I’d last more than an hour in any “modern” human resources department. I dislike mollycoddling stupid employees and understand that calling someone a “feckless nitwit” is now considered harassment and not constructive criticism.

      Good to hear from you lad.

      Don

  25. 8:51 pm

    Oh crap! I was gonna apply for the job, seeing as you are such a sweet spirited guy, but your final set of “do not”s ruled me out.
    I pick my nose… hey, IT’S NOT MY FAULT! I have a very productive nose. Left unattended, it can get pretty ugly pretty quickly. I employ a nose-hoe and an old Altoids box to keep it quick and as unobtrusive as possible, but usually people still notice.
    So it is with great sadness that I do not submit my resume, which includes alligator wrestling, pig wrangling, parade elephant follower, and professional armpit sniffer.
    Good luck finding a satisfactory serf. Cratch

    • 12:30 am

      Thank you Cratch,

      A damned shame too. Pig wrangling is a largely transferrable skill and one that tends to be undervalued by potential employers. Still, I can’t tolerate a nose picker so I appreciate your being upfront about it and pulling out before things became awkward.

      And I’m really more in the market for a minion than a serf. Serfs are sloppy and don’t tend to put much pride in their appearance.

      All the best and thanks for visiting.

      Don

  26. 8:54 pm

    Don;

    There are so many damned ways to blow job a job interview.

    God forbid, having a spelling mistake on your resume…you wont’ even get called.

    Or not shaking the person’s had firmly enough. Or shaking it TOO firmly.

    Or showing up too early. Or being over-qualified. Or not ordering the right thing when they take you out to lunch…

    And that’s for us mature, experienced 40 year-olds, who show up in our best suits and ties.

    Imagine if it’s that bad for us…what chances does a 20-year old ass-clown have?

    No wonder they live in their Mom’s basements!

    • 12:43 am

      Many thanks Friar,

      Indeed you’re right. It’s a competitive and fickle market out there. A friend recently told me that his neighborhood pub advertised for part-time counter help and received over 600 applications in the first week alone. (It’s a decent pub but not that damned great).

      I think though that if you are able to get an interview all you can do is try to conduct yourself in the best possible way while being true to yourself. If they are looking to silly reasons to discount people, you probably don’t want to work there anyway.

      All the best Friar and thanks for visiting. Always good to hear from you.

      Don

  27. robinaltman permalink
    10:13 pm

    So sorry about Hattie! I don’t even know her, and I’ll miss her name.

    I was recently visiting my mom in Boston, and I dragged her into a makeup store. As we were getting instructions from our salesgirl, a young girl walked into the store. She was dressed in ripped jeans and a t shirt. She interrupted our salesgirl and shoved a stained resume at her. Our salesgirl offered to give her the manager’s number and e mail, to contact her about job opportunities. The girl said she didn’t want the information, and left.

    After we left the store, I looked frantically around for the girl, so I could tell her everything she did wrong. “She’ll just think you’re insane,” advised my mom. “You can’t save everyone.”

    Ah, well. We never saw her, and my mom was relieved. I was bummed. That girl will never ever land a job in a million years.

    • 1:05 am

      Many thanks Robin,

      I sometimes forget that you make it your business to poke around inside the heads of those young people. It must be fascinating (if messy) in there.

      Your little friend is a perfect example of why young people drive me damned crazy. Why is it that a young person would go to the trouble of printing off a resume, cramming into their purse, spilling latte on it and then taking into a store but NOT be prepared to actually make sure it found its way to the right person?

      Is it because they aren’t prepared to wait for an answer? Because they wanted the job right now? Because they don’t want to have to go to all of the “extra hassle?” For the life of me I can’t figure it out. It just doesn’t make sense.

      Thanks for visiting, Robin. Always a pleasure to have you visit.

      Don

  28. Clifton L. Tanager permalink
    12:09 am

    Don -

    I’m glad you’ve made this point and hope that this time it actually sinks in with the job seekers of today. The quality and quantity of young go-getters has dropped precipitously over the last several decades and without young bodies and limbs to risk in our factories, we shan’t remain a world superpower for long.

    I remember when I was first allowed to do the hiring at Templeton Box and Glove Manufacturers back in the day. It took 14 long years of redundant effort and degrading work before I was given the hiring/firing reins.

    The firing reins were rescinded less than 48 hours later after I cut our mailroom staff by nearly 50%. I was under the impression that we were there to work and suffer, not dilly dally and visit with the typing pool. I only asked that they do three things:

    1. Work.
    2. Work faster.
    3. Shut up.

    Apparently this was more than most of them could handle and between my firing and some regular old attrition, the mailroom became a ghost town and I was downgraded to “Firing Recommendations.” Needless to say, I recommended the hell out of nearly everybody, from Bob in Accounting, who always stepped out early to pick up his kids, to Martha in the typing pool, who was always lamenting her sore wrists and the lack of clean restrooms.

    When I finally was allowed to hire, I turned back many more potential hirees than I ever let in. Most were unaware of how to approach an interview with a bitter, resentful man and usually answered monosyllabically or joined Martha in the typing pool for a good cry.

    There was some discussion among upper management that I was being to harsh on the fair college grads, with their shiny new degrees and insouciant haircuts. I assured them that I was interested in only the best men for the job and would work tirelessly to meet this goal. I was informed shortly thereafter that we were also interested in hiring women, thanks to a nascent Equal Opportunity Employment act.

    There were complaints that I was dismissive and that the questions I asked were intrusive. I reminded them that the needed to be hired first before they could complain, but they paid no heed and went over my head like a Dennis Miller reference.

    I pointed out that it was in the company’s best interests to find out if these fresh-faced boys (and apparently, girls) had ever been convicted of a felony, or laughed out loud at an off-color joke. We needed to be sure that we hired no one that had ever signed a petition without reading it or carried someone else’s bags through customs.

    Under no circumstances could we be caught “with our pants down” by hiring those prone to taking their pants down. We also needed to be wary of those with thoughts of “making the world a better place” or “looking to find their niche in life.”

    The world was fine the way it was and no amount of mail sorting was ever going to make it better. And their niche in life was identical to ours: interchangeable pieces in a faceless whole.

    Well, many a tear was shed. Many more, in fact, than there were incoming employees. With the mailroom in disarray, the bosses stepped in and hired everyone with same last names that they had. Once fully stocked with unfireable employees, I was remanded to the company’s Dead Letter Office to look for anything resembling a check.

    Nowadays, anyone can waltz through the door with a half-assed work ethic and a lawsuit on their shoulder and force their way into a job. And once they’re there, they can’t be fired for fear of expensive recrimination.

    They’re practically expected to field personal phone calls, update their Facebook stati and recommend horrible music on their blogs, all while being paid to do so.

    It makes me glad I was forced into retirement, where I can safely while away the long hours, free from youthful shows of emotion and patently ridiculous slang. “Redonkulous,” indeed.

    Take care of yourself, Don. The world needs more people with their heads screwed on straight. To those with wobbly necks, grab your life by its bootstraps. Don’t look to us to tighten up your head. Use some elbow grease and screw yourselves.

    Sincerely,

    C.L. Tanager

    • 2:22 am

      Clifton,

      You’ve left many fine comments here on this blog but I’d have to say that this one is my personal favorite. It’s damned brilliant, really. As the young people would say, it’s “off the damned hook.”

      I’m going to have to think on this one a while before I even attempt to respond but for now I’ll just offer my sincere thanks.

      Best regards,

      Don

  29. YellowRoses610 permalink
    12:19 am

    Dear Don,
    My only quilifacations are the ability to mix drinks, warm up food, get good old movies, and talk about the World Wars and the depression. I how ever do have reflective sunglasses, but they were the only ones on the shelf that were less than twenty dollars.

    But other than that?

    • 2:43 am

      Many thanks Rose,

      All excellent qualifications. I prefer my drinks well mixed, my food reasonably warm, my movies old and conversation about things long past.

      But don’t sell yourself short – your qualifications don’t end there. In addition to smarts, a good sense of humor and a scrappy attitude I seem to remember some mention of sword play, witchcraft and the ability to handle yourself in a fight. And I’m sure that’s just scratching the surface.

      All the best Rose. Warm regards,

      Don

      • YellowRoses610 permalink
        1:18 am

        Wow, you are keeping a list there. I only listed things I figured would help with the interview. I can also make good sugar free apple sauce, and make Hard cider. Both are good if heated lightly and help make the cord parts of the year more barible.

        I’m nott too tall (Standing a modest five one) Who ever I do have periced ears. Two holes in eahc ear, but I wear tastefull earings, nto that cirqus freak crap.

  30. 1:05 am

    A Big Trailerpark Happy Birthday to York!

    One more little tip…..do NOT use someone else’s resume. From a site called Resume Bloopers….
    “Woman who sent her résumé and cover letter without deleting someone else’s editing, including such comments as “I don’t think you want to say this about yourself here””

    and from Career Builders website…..more big NO NO NO things to do……
    •Candidate included a letter from his mother.
    •Candidate stated the ability to persuade people sexually using her words.
    •Candidate wrote résumé as a play – Act 1, Act 2, etc.
    •Candidate included naked picture of himself.

    Good luck replacing Hattie, Don.

    Your faithful reader and constant stalker
    TPBarbie

    • York Mills permalink
      1:09 am

      Hee hee…

      Thank you, young lady. I like your make-up.

    • 12:20 pm

      Many thanks TPBarbie,

      Disturbing additions to the list.

      I actually can’t decide which is more unsettling – attaching a naked photo of yourself or writing your resume in the form of a play. While I’m no fan of indiscriminate nudity there is something about writing your resume in Acts that suggests a rare and unusual form of mental instability. You’d almost want to interview the person just to confirm that they’re a raving lunatic.

      Almost…

      All the best, TPBarbie. Always a pleasure to hear from you.

      Best regards,

      Don

  31. 1:32 am

    Thank you, York. I was taught how to apply make-up by the late/great Tammy Faye Baker R.I.P.

    I was, also, wondering if Don bought you a nice present?

  32. 1:36 am

    Oh my! Your compliment got me flustered, York! I meant to say, “Did Don buy YOU a nice present?”

    Flattery makes me flustered!

    • York Mills permalink
      2:47 am

      Me too. Spicy food also.

      Don sent me a birthday card. In it, he wrote that he wished me all the best. And then he demanded that I repay him the “goddamned 12 dollars” I borrowed last year.

      The card had a picture of a squirrel on its cover!

      Hee hee…

  33. 8:49 am

    I suppose asking for a digestive biscuit with the glass of water would be pushing it?

    • 12:25 pm

      Many thanks Julie,

      Absolutely. If I want to share a digestive biscuit with someone I’ll be making the first move. Plus, given recent history I think it’s unwise to allow potential employees to develop a taste for them. It leads to all manner of problems further down the road.

      Best regards,

      Don

  34. DJ Mills permalink
    1:59 pm

    At least you get to choose who works for you. Intern season is starting up right now. I can’t wait to see what I get this year. After last summer, the only productive piece of work I had from my intern was a stunningly elaborate and professional spreadsheet of every happy hour within two hours of D.C. That’s not a joke either, that really happened. So this year I opted to avoid the embarrassment and did not request an intern. However, I am getting “assigned” not one, but two interns. Hooray. This wouldn’t be so bad if I was afforded the opportunity to screen and choose the young minds lucky enough to receive my guidance and slightly older wisdom. But whatever slacked jackass happens to show up in my office, is the one I have to pay to baby sit for four months.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t internships used to be about making connections, getting real world exposure and experience, and the possibility of landing an awesome job after you complete your degree? Also, correct me if I’m wrong again, you used to not get paid for being an intern. As stated above, it was an opportunity to further yourself professionally. It was a way in to an otherwise shut door. The interns we have couldn’t give a care less about any of this. They don’t care about making impressions, showing hard work, proving why they are better than everyone else or convincing me I should hire them full time. All they care about is the paycheck, their lunch break and the speed of the clock. Plus they take up all the parking spaces. Has the concept of internship been confused with a summer job in most places, or is that just where I work?

    (I always mean to keep these comments short but I seem to find myself going off on a tangent)

    • 1:42 am

      Many thanks D.J.

      I’ve never heard of interns drawing a paycheque. As you say, I thought they were there just to get experience and to be worked to within an inch of their lives. Times certainly have changed. We sent interns to get our coffee, type our memos, wash our cars and to lie to our wives when they called looking for us.

      They sure as Hell didn’t slack, talk back or spend the summer drawing up lists of places to get drunk. I feel for you lad. I had to babysit a few former employers kids as they came in to “learn the ropes” and know first hand what a pain in the ass it is to keep someone busy doing nothing and out of your hair for a few months.

      Good luck. I hope whoever you get doesn’t cause you too much grief.

      All the best

      Don

  35. 8:05 pm

    Have you given any thought to looking up Alpo? He might be in need of job.

    • 1:19 am

      Hah! Good one, Jill.

    • 1:27 am

      Thank you Jill.

      Alpo? Isn’t that the name of a dog food? Seniors on fixed incomes and dog food form an uneasy marriage. Plus, I heard he packs up and leaves at the first sign of conflict.

      I’ll keep looking for someone a little more reliable.

      All the best,

      Don

  36. Ravikant Rai permalink
    12:58 am

    LOL great article as usual sir. The last two parts especially, the additional considerations and things to remember are hilarious. But that is right because most people do behave as if the employer owes them the job. Well, I wouldn’t know much of an interview but when I go for it, I am surely going to check out your tips sir :D

    • 1:43 am

      Many thanks Ravikant.

      I’m sure you’ll have no trouble landing a job when the time comes, lad. All the best and happy birthday! I hope you find some time to enjoy yourself with your family and friends.

      Best regards,

      Don

  37. ferxist permalink
    3:04 pm

    Hello, sir.

    Actually, these work with any job interviewer. Unless, of course, they’re that kind of hooligan who “understands” your situation because he was in it too, and that’s just creepy.

    Or kind of uplifting, seeing as he got himself out of the hellhole that he put himself in.

    Jonathan Ferxist

    PS. Can’t use this advice right now, and I have plans not to, since I want to be sought. Yes, I know, egotistical of me. I apologize.

    • 12:11 am

      Young Mr. Ferxist,

      Always nice to hear from you. In my view there is nothing wrong with wanting to being sought after as long as you’re prepared to put in the work required to get you in that position. If you are, I consider it more ambition and intelligence than ego. (Still, you’ll want to be careful not to get too cocky. Life has a way of throwing some damned unexpected curve balls).

      Many thanks for stopping in, lad. It’s always a pleasure.

      Best regards,

      Don

  38. 4:08 pm

    Don,

    Sorry for the delay in commenting, On Monday I was standing at the crosswalk outside my condo when a little old lady asked if I would mind helping her across the street.

    I just got back last night.

    Not to be racist, Don, but I have to say that this is a very helpful and informative post. I only pray that kids these days take heed of it.

    Although shadow puppetry is entertaining as hell (is it a bird? a plane? monster claw-hands?), there’s a time and a place for it, and anyone with any sense whatsoever, knows that time is not when your prospective employer asks questions like “What are your hobbies?” or “What makes you think you’d be good for this role?”

    Distinguished post as always, Don.

    Your non-5th amendment pleading friend,

    Bschooled

    Ps. Happy Belated birthday, York!

    • 12:39 am

      Many thanks Bschooled,

      Good on you for helping a senior lady cross the street. It sounds like a long journey but I’m sure she appreciated your help and your sticktoitiveness.

      I’ll be sure to pass your birthday wishes on to brother York.

      Your friend,

      Don

  39. 12:00 pm

    Mr Don, Sir! Sorry to have been AWOL for some time, busy at HC getting ready for holidays and just 11 medical appointments in 4 weeks FFS!

    This briefing needs to be given to all school-leavers, inscribed on stone and hung around their necks for quick reference!

    • 12:43 am

      No need to apologize, Dave. Just nice to hear from you.

      11 medical appointments is 4 weeks! You’ve lapped me and I have my own chair in the waiting room at my Doctor’s office. I do hope you’re not unwell, Dave, and that this is just the usual runaround for a battery of tests.

      All the best,

      Don

  40. Cecilia permalink
    1:34 pm

    Who is so miserably silly to start a conversation with a knock-knock joke? One must be so primitive to enjoy jokes like that, and worst of all, suppose other people might like that crap.

    I never understood why those things are funny, anyway.

    Your list is great, Don. I have more two points: they should never wear basketball, football or soccer teams T-shirts. Neither pick a rock ‘n’ roll band T-shirt as well. It shows such a bad taste… the sports shirts show the deepest vulgarity that is possible in a human being, and rockers consider themselves too serious, because they often think that kind of music is the best possible and other people outside their “tribes” are stupid or not cool. When heading somewhere passing by a rock show spot, it is quite depressing to see those legions of long-haired teens in black wearing Metallica or other stuff on their chests/backs. And there are those imitations of nerds who think they are intellectuals because their favorite band is technically superior, like Dream Theater (who are really good musicians, but there is no proof that liking them makes you smarter or shows higher cognitive abilities) or so.

    Well, it is always great to read your points, Don.
    Grande abraço!

    Cecilia

    • 12:51 am

      Many thanks Cecilia,

      Very nice to hear from you as always.

      I fully agree – sports jerseys and damned rock’n’roll t-shirts have absolutely no place in a job interview. Beyond being moronic looking they’re entirely unprofessional. I don’t need to know that you saw “Bon Jovi” in Deluth – I need to know that you’re capable of handling the job you’re interviewing for. A decent dress shirt will never go amiss.

      Tenha um fim de semana maravilhoso.

      Don

      • Cecilia permalink
        4:23 pm

        Obrigada, Don. Ótimo fim de semana para você também.

        Cecilia

  41. Lynn permalink
    2:38 pm

    lynn was here and she was damn impressed and entertained, as always. “High on the drugs” that’s funny!

  42. Shafali permalink
    12:31 am

    Hi Mr. Mills,

    Wonderful post – set me thinking. I was busy this entire week – doing what you usually do…wondering about the problem with young people today:-(
    (They don’t keep their promises, they don’t turn up for appointments…I am sure you’ve got everything covered.)

    About the interview tips:
    1. Don’t wear slippers to interviews.
    2. Even if you have to because you have a sore-toe, don’t wiggle your toes in the interviewer’s face…

    Phew!

    Thanks again for taking up this cause.

    Warm Regards,
    Shafali

    • 6:31 pm

      Many thanks Shafali,

      I agree that slippers would be a poor choice of footwear but they may be preferrable to showing up in bare feet or with in open toed sandals. I have no interest in seeing anyone’s toes but my own.

      All the best,

      Don

      • The Celtic Queen permalink
        11:24 am

        I suppose other body parts are out too then lol?

  43. 5:14 pm

    No shadow puppetry? Seriously? Oh, man!

    • 6:33 pm

      Thank you kyknord,

      I’m afraid not. It’s inappropriate and rather disturbing as well. Plus, it’s not usually an effective way of answering the question “What qualifications do you possess that make you a good candidate for this job?”

      Time to look for plan B, son.

      All the best,

      Don

  44. 1:41 pm

    Dear Don,
    It seems that this writer is on the same wavelength.

    http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/career-articles-9_ways_to_ensure_you_don_t_get_the_job-1236

    Imagine that?
    Kindest regards,
    mcnorman

    • 3:06 pm

      Many thanks for the link, McNorman.

      I’ve noticed a few articles lately that have a similiar feel. Apparently the word is spreading. Not before damned time.

      All the best,

      Don

  45. 4:23 am

    Dear Mr Mills, I have been wracking my brain to try to come up with a useful suggestion for you, and it just hit me: why not ask that nice young man Bob Trusty if he could come and work for you? I know you’re already acquainted with him and hopefully his name is a good indication of his inner nature. Just a thought, sincerely, Miss. Eyeball.

    • 3:05 pm

      Thank you Miss Eyeball,

      I fully agree that wee Mr. Trusty would be an excellent candidate. The boy has a solid background in parental respect, hard work and common decency. Quite uncommon in someone who wishes to be an actor.

      Still, his mother needs him more than I.

      All the best and thanks for stopping in.

      Don

  46. lianamerlo permalink
    1:29 pm

    This was hilarious. Too bad you couldn’t have videotaped them and posted clips for our enjoyment. I almost hope you’re not exaggerating about their juvenile antics; it gives me more of a chance at getting a job in the future!

  47. kristie431 permalink
    9:30 pm

    You should always dress to stand out and look great in front of the whole company because you never know who is looking at you. The company could run a tenant screen on you and look at your background just by the way you appear. :) So make sure you always look as you would want to in front of your grand parents.

  48. 10:16 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!
    !

  49. 10:16 pm

    sosimabit late

  50. Anonymous permalink
    8:36 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I will pass them along to the young people you speak of…

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