Fed up with the job search, a software engineer created a ridiculous fake resume and got a 90% response rate

Originally published at: Fed up with the job search, a software engineer created a ridiculous fake resume and got a 90% response rate | Boing Boing


Getting a job interview is easy. Just copy and paste the job description into your resume. The AI that evaluates resumes will be blown away by how good of a match you are.


Calling the software that sifts resumes AI really misses the point. That software is so limited it scans for keywords and rejects actual experience. Didn’t the guy who developed C++ get turned down for a coding job because his resume wasn’t extensive enough?
And the people who go through the sifted resumes aren’t much better-resumes with “ethnic” sounding names get rejected much more than ones with “white” sounding names, even when the resume is identical.


Recruiting software and systems are horrible, of course, but they reflect the long-standing dismal state of corporate hiring processes in general.* Any American who’s ever done a job search is familiar with the front-line HR recruiter’s typical lack of professionalism and competence and knowledge of what they’re screening for – the software just automates existing bad practises.

I’m very grateful that I no longer have to send out CVs to buzzword-addled HR drones who can’t even be bothered to acknowledge receipt with an autoresponse e-mail, let alone follow up with a simple rejection.

[* as she notes, FAANG is an exception, since those companies understand that they need to put real effort into the process and have the ability to back it up with funding]


I have to agree on that. Even long ago, with CVs sent by snailmail, it was quite clear that only rarely they were read with attention, or at all. The question “Did you even read my resume, you genius?” has resonated in the head of many a job applicant.
Also, it must be remembered that, with the exception of really large employers, the people reading resumes are all too often doing that on top of their other tasks.
Much patience is needed.


(by A.Clough, who knew stuff).


When I used to work for the DoD the hiring managers were often completely frustrated because the candidates they knew applied and wanted in were not making it through the automated system. It was a case of nepotism versus key words.

I was told to copy the entire job listing in teeny tiny font and make it invisibly white on my resume. It worked.

I now do that for every gov job I apply to.


My solution* with a job posting that was a good fit at a company I liked usually involved doing the extra research and legwork to track down the hiring manager for the position and then sending the CV to them directly. The success and response rates were slightly better but I was often told (with an undertone of frustration) that, as much as they wanted to give me an interview, corporate policy dictated that I had to submit to HR first.

[* this was before the days of what’s laughably called “AI” screening software]


At large companies generally recruiters will do a quick scan of experience and pass it along. The first step very likely isn’t reviewed by anyone with technical skills, so it’s easy to stuff it with fake terms that they wouldn’t recognize. They’re not scanning for stuff they don’t know, so as long as there are familiar terms in there and the experience looks good you might make it to the next step. Not too surprising.


I’ve seen a few iterations of this. The inventor of an entire language being rejected because he didn’t have 10 years of experience in the language he created 7 years ago. I think I’ve see 3 different language designers tell some version of that story.


Well of course they got responses, there is a labour shortage. /s


It goes quite a bit further than that. In my experience buzzword addled HR people aren’t the ones receiving or sifting through resumes for most larger companies. Your resume doesn’t even make it that far till you’ve ticked through multiple levels of, and different steps in automated recruitment websites.

I recently applied with a company where I had to do a full on automated video interview, you talk at a camera answering pre-written questions against a timer. This was followed by a gamified Myers-Briggs. It’s likely my materials are still rounding their way through whatever subsequent check boxes are needed, and a human may see it six months from now.

When a human eventually sees something, it’s more than likely an outside contractor who knows no more about the position than the job posting. I had a series of phone interviews with a company last summer that went that way.

The first person I talked to could not answer any questions about the position, even pay and location. Some of it they clearly weren’t allowed to address, a lot of it they clearly didn’t know. And they didn’t even seem familiar with the industry or even the company. Did not even know the name of the person I’d be talking to in the follow up interview they scheduled.

When I spoke to the second, an actual manager at the company, it was clear it was a completely different sort of position than I had thought. I still can’t figure out why they were calling alcohol sales people rather than grocery workers. They also still wouldn’t tell me the pay, and when I pressed it out of them it was a full $10k less than I was making, and they were mad that I wouldn’t accept it.

The actual job I just landed, at a smaller company. The owner just reads the resumes, and calls people if they look good.

Whenever I have done that. I actually got yelled at, if I got a response at all. Unless it was through a personal contact/referral.


Yes, the hiring managers have so much more important stuff to do than talk to potential employees with the persistence to contact them.


As noted, this was in the antediluvian period before bad software replicated and encoded existed bad professional practises.

I never had any trouble. I just kept it short and professional and to the point. That would at least would get an immediate and cordial response from a human who actually understood what the position entailed.


Carefully researching a potential employer, tailoring applications and information to the specific industry, and directing information to the pertinent person is unprofessional and presumptive.

People these days just don’t want to work!

Might be down to the way things have changed. But this is certainly the way things have been in the 20 or so years I’ve been dealing with big boys jobs. Hell even retail requires this trash.

“Find and contact the hiring manager” is one of those bits of boomer dad advice I’ve been rolling my eyes at practically forever. Having tried it in my 20’s, and got scolded/ghosted. These days there tends not to be a hiring manager in a lot of cases. Where current employees are involved at all, it often seems to be a bit of a round robin. In other cases that information is hidden hard, and you’re not finding that info without a personal connection.

ETA: Job listings today often don’t even include the name of the company! Just a placeholder like “Large Marketing Firm” or the name of the recruiting service. Extra points where it’s a generic placeholder for the recruiting service like “Major Recruiter”.


It’s kind of depressing that stories like this are showing the real rot at the heart of our society in some way, yet most of us are treating it like an amusing joke…


People these days want a fucking living wage and to be treated with common decency and respect… Why is that unreasonable?


Something something believe in our mission.


My fruitless job search requires me to laugh. The alternative would be to sob large tears of despair.


Anthony Anderson Reaction GIF

Um. K. Sure…


maybe they just didn’t click any links but read the bullets and saw what they liked

It feels naive to assume that any human being ever actually read the resume at any point. I mean, the evidence suggests that they didn’t, in this case.

You’re supposed to have passion for the job! Passion that acts as a substitute for a living wage and reasonable working conditions, makes you willing to put up with more abuse…