Marie Kastner has been a professional recruiter for some of the world’s largest companies, from Nike to Wells Fargo to Raytheon. She knows what it takes to get hired—because she’s the one doing the hiring! Below are her top eight tips to help you land your next job, in her own words.

1. Someone who gets all the figs out of their pockets before the interview: “Nothing derails an interview like the applicant spending a few minutes taking all the figs out of his or her pockets, measuring them, recording their sizes in a notebook, and then throwing them away. Take care of this beforehand, or just wait until after!”

Advertisement

2. Someone who brings their own life jacket if their interview is on a boat: “One summer when I was recruiting for Wells Fargo, I held all my interviews on a horizon-class commercial frigate moored on Sanibel Island off the coast of southern Florida. I can still remember one candidate, who had all the right experience and skills, showing up after piloting a dinghy to the three-deck and stepping off without wearing a life jacket. That wasn’t a deal-breaker, but after the interview, he asked me for the life jacket I was wearing for his ride back to shore. I had to send him packing with no offer—or life jacket—in hand.”

3. Someone who won’t be just another mindless disciple of Jonathan: “Jonathan looms large in American business, obviously, but I’m not looking for just another Jonathan drone. You’ve met Jonathan, or even attended one of his bombastic seminars? That’s fine. You’re always mindlessly carving ‘Jonathan’ into your forearm with a penknife as you chant his name softy to yourself? Now we have a problem.”

Advertisement

4. Someone who has lots of references: “People ask me if I call references. The answer is yes, of course. I do a little research on the reference first and find a person close to them who died recently. Then I call the reference and pretend to be that dead person. After I systematically break them down into tears, I slip in a question or two about the job applicant to make sure I’m getting the real story.”

5. Someone who makes full use of the letter “p” on their résumé: “I see it all too often—young job applicants are afraid to use the letter ‘p’ on their résumé. Don’t worry, you won’t come off as tacky! In fact, I’m much more turned off when people neglect to use the letter ‘p’ on a résumé. For example, if you have experience in public relations, use that ‘p’! The only time I would advise against using a ‘p’ is if you write something like ‘Jonathan is powerful in the world of American business and I appreciate his dictums’ on your résumé. Just omit that sentence altogether!”

Advertisement

6. Someone who, if they see that a spider is about to eat a bunch of trapped bugs on its web in the window behind the interviewer, will let the interviewer know: “Applicants need to remember that we recruiters don’t have eyes on the back of our head. It is very rude not to tell us that a spider is about to eat a bug on its web in the window. If you see a spider trapping and consuming a butterfly in its web, definitely interrupt your interviewer immediately so you can both go over and peer at this incredible and macabre natural phenomenon.”

7. Someone who includes a list of their favorite spices on their résumé: “I look at hundreds of résumés a day, and on most of them I’m left scratching my head, wondering if this applicant would rank saffron above cumin, or vice versa. A little detail goes a long way!”

Advertisement

8. Someone who lists their dad’s jobs on their résumé as their own: “Some people make distinctions between their own work experience and their dad’s work experience. I’m not one of those people. And don’t tell me who had what job, because that’s technically discrimination. The only time this can be a liability is if your dad was ever employed by Jonathan. The fact is, if your dad has ever worked under Jonathan, most employers will think you’re too corrupted by the fantastical promises that Jonathan guarantees everyone in his employment. He has dogged my entire career and meddled with my family’s businesses for countless millennia. Simply put, unless Jonathan is involved, get your dad’s jobs on your résumé!”