BOSTON – Local business owner Shawn O’Connell was surprised to discover that a majority of the personal references provided by a recent job applicant turned out to be deceased, confirmed sources at the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics.
“You always find crazy on an application when a dude comes in with bad tattoos and a dumb haircut,” said O’Connell, co-owner of 2-Shawn’s Moving & Junk Removal. “Long gaps of unemployment, usually for prison time or going on tour. Sometimes they rebrand drug dealing as ‘freelance sales work.’ But this was the first time I saw two people that I know for a fact are dead listed as someone’s references. They both owned other moving companies, and it’s a small network, you know. What makes it worse is one of them OD’d like 12 years ago! Like, you don’t have anyone else you can use?”
Applicant Bobby “Pox” Herrera defended his decision to list his dead employers on his resume.
“There are only so many jobs you can get when you have a criminal record. It’s pretty much moving companies or kitchen work, and most restaurants won’t hire someone with my skin condition,” said Herrera, draining a large boil on his forehead. “And it’s not my fault those guys died! They were idiots that paid shitty and didn’t even have insurance for their businesses. Super sketchy too. One of them once strapped me to a marble statue they were lowering out of a fourth-story window so I could keep it from hitting the side of the building. The least I could get out of them was a couple of references for a better job.”
Riva Patel, the head of recruitment at Fidelity Investments, says the most important phase of the hiring process is the first impression.
“How we present ourselves on our initial hiring documents is of the utmost importance. Recruiters are looking for any irregularities or mistakes to help pare down the often enormous pool of applicants,” said Patel. “Having dead references is perhaps one of the worst faux pas one could commit, aside from say smearing feces over your cover letter.”
With other options few and far between for a man with Herrera’s credentials, he says he might have to resort to his old job of scrubbing cigarette receptacles at the mall, or worse yet, get a job at Subway.