‘Worst job posting’ ever draws flood of applicants

Tell interns what you really expect of them—such as not repeating a mistake or surfing the Internet during work hours—and, apparently, they respond well.


Some companies expect a lot from their interns.

They want go-getters eager to do anything for a full-time job offer. Young bucks who won’t take personal phone calls during work hours, or ignore work calls during personal hours. Budding professionals who won’t gossip, surf the Internet at work, or make mistakes.

Is that too much to ask?

John O’Brien, American director of Dalkey Archive Press in England, certainly didn’t think so when he posted a job opening for an intern. The opening was dubbed the “worst job posting ever” by Salon.com. Here’s why—the post reads:

“Any of the following will be grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period: coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company policies. DO NOT APPLY if you have a work history containing any of the above.”

While the stringent rules may make some of us cringe, O’Brien has a perfectly good explanation, which he offered to the Irish Times: satire.

O’Brien told the publication:

“So, the tongue-in-cheek advertisement was a call to apply for the internships (and the two possible positions) if you’re going to be serious and are ready; if not, then let’s not waste each other’s time. Usually this is couched in the sanitised language of ‘must be deadline-oriented, well-organised, ambitious’, etc. But as I think we’ve known for a long time, the age of irony is dead, and I’m a fossil.”

Fossil or not, the post seems to have worked. O’Brien says he’s “swamped” with job applicants.

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