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Extreme Job Candidates: Should You Hire Them?

From viral videos to Batman costumes, some people will do just about anything to get noticed. Should you hire them?

Daniel Conway wrestled in gravy, bribed a recruiter with Monopoly money and dressed up like Batman, all in the hopes of landing a job. He's been at it since March and, so far, no serious job offers. Still, he considers this method of job hunting to be a success. Conway documents his stunts at The Extreme Job Hunter.

"I've done 17 stunts and landed 10 interviews because of them. That's a lot higher percentage than I ever got sending out CVs [resumes]." In today's world of black hole internet applications, that is an astonishing success rate, except for the fact that he hasn't quite yet landed a job. Why not? Conway has an explanation for that: "I'm not a great interviewer.  Part of the reason I haven't nailed it is because of the pressure in a half an hour where they ask you questions, and you are trying to find the answers that they want you to say."

Another rather, extreme case is Marina Shifrin. You may know her from her brand new, viral job quitting video. Shifrin, ironically, complains about how her boss was focused only hits and not quality, in a video that has garnered over 10,000,000 hits in 5 days. Apparently, she did a good job with those hits at her last  job.

I contacted Shifrin for her comments, and she promptly and politely responded that she would love to speak with me, but she had signed agreements not to say anything until after a television show segment aired. In other words, the media is descending up on her like crazy. And why not? The video is nicely done, it's gone viral, and it demonstrates her actual skills.

But do you want to hire someone who is willing to quit her job via video or wrestle in gravy? Is this good for your business? You really don't want people that will walk out on you or embarrass your business, although I should note that Shifrin refers to her former company as "awesome," and there is nothing more than generic cubes in the video. Sure, if you worked with her, you'd recognize the office, but then you'd know where she worked to begin with. And, I doubt Conway will bring his gravy to the office. (He told me that while that was his favorite stunt to do, it yielded the worst results.)

The answer to the question of should you hire this type of job seeker/quitter is a resounding maybe. If you are a tight-laced organization that deals with clients that are skittish about anything not traditional, then absolutely not. This type of  behavior is not appropriate for that type of company.

But there are many companies in which people like this would be a great fit. And here's something extra awesome about it--you already know a great deal about their personalities, before you even look at their resumes. And while some people like to argue that culture doesn't matter, I can tell you right now there are companies and departments where Conway and Shifrin would be awesome additions, and other companies and departments where they would be shunned and shunted over to the side. Which kind of company are you?

And that's the important question to consider in hiring. I admit, I'm very much a traditionalist who thinks people should wear suits, or at least jackets to interviews, but I'm also drawn to people who are willing to take risks. After all, there's very little risk involved in hitting send in order to give your resume to a recruiter. There are huge risks in doing what Conway and Shifrin have done. And if your company thrives on people willing to take risks, then yes, extreme job hunters are for you.

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Last updated: Oct 3, 2013

SUZANNE LUCAS | Columnist

Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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