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How To Get a High-Paying Job (No Skills Required)

by Sep 15, 2000

How many times have you read a posting on the ER Forum that starts, “Does anybody know of a good test site for…?” Well-meaning recruiters are always looking for sites that test applicants. I assume they want to find people who are skilled–that is, applicants whom managers will take the time to consider and who will do a good job when hired. But have you ever thought about what’s happening at the other end of the marketplace? Let’s look at recruiting through the eyes of an applicant… Applicant: “Hmmm. Let’s see. It’s a good thing I bought this new book, ‘How To Get a High Paid Job Even Though You May Not Have Any Skills.’ It has some really great ideas! Those last six jobs were losers. All they wanted me to do was work, work, and work! Insensitive morons! Don’t they realize I have a life, too? Well, my resume is getting a little scattered and I need to do a little work to make it look better. Good thing I interview well and make a good first impression. I never was much for reading. I’ll just skip the heavy stuff and turn to the ‘Eight-and-a-Half Steps to Getting on the Payroll.”

  • Item one: Never tell the recruiter you don’t have experience. Always take a ‘can do’ attitude. Talk about how much you like to work and make up a few stories about past ‘successes’. Recruiters never test hard job skills anyway. “What a great idea! I worked with a lot of people. I’ll just use some of the words I’ve heard them use. That way I’ll sound like I know what I’m talking about.”
  • Item two: There is a trend for recruiters to trust internet test scores and certifications. If you suspect you will be tested, go to one of the internet sites that allows you to take a certification test as many times as you like. When you get to know the test questions, you will be able to get ‘certified’ in almost any area with no sweat. “Good thinking. My supervisors always told me I was inefficient and never annotated my code. What did they know? I’ll go through the practice test again and again until I “earn” that certificate.”
  • Item three: Read the job advertisement. Even if you can’t do the job or don’t have the right experience, use some of the same words in your resume. It will help get that interview. “Hmmm. I was wondering how to get around the fact that I don’t have any experience in that field. Employers are too afraid of law suits to give more than name and salary verification, so no one will ever know.”

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  • Item four: Some interviewers have a list of questions they think are effective, so prepare for questions that ask for your ‘greatest strengths and weaknesses’ or to share your ‘biggest challenge’. Think of an interview as a ‘beauty contest’ where contestants are asked how they would cure world hunger. Nobody really expects a ‘real’ answer, just try to sound convincing. “OK! Let’s see. I’ll say that I probably work too hard and care more about my work than I should. HA! They will never know I mean that I care LESS!”
  • Item five: Once you have your certification, don’t worry about other major skills such as problem solving, planning ability, ability to learn, interpersonal skills, motivations, etc. Few organizations know these areas even exist and seldom, if ever know how to measure them. “That’s true. Passing a certification test is like high school all over again. You just get a score that often has nothing to do with ability. I read somewhere that past test scores only predict future test scores. They’ll never guess I’m only a mediocre programmer who wastes code and takes weeks to finish projects that should only take days.”
  • Item six: You might be asked to take a personality test. Some organizations buy these off the shelf and expect them to predict performance. If so, just check off the items that indicate you care about work, trust the organization, don’t worry, like people, and are a hard worker. It may be all nonsense, but people tend to trust test scores even when they are based on junk science. “Yes. Let’s make a list: dedicated, energetic, hard worker, conscientious, team player, cooperative, competitive, thorough. That’s the good stuff. Too bad my even my mother would disagree. I hope they never find out that I sabotaged my last employer’s database when I left. That’ll teach them not to fool with me!”
  • Item seven: If you have a history of changing jobs try to avoid listing your past employers. Instead list your “accomplishments”. Don’t worry if they are 100% true or not. As we stated, few organizations know how to verify your skills. Just avoid being silly and you’ll be all right. “Good idea. Hmmm. I’ll just list some of my coworkers projects. Now, some of the ones where I attended meetings. Yea, I’ll even list a few I read in some magazines. Damn! If I didn’t know better, I’d hire me!”
  • Item eight: Emphasize your technical skills. Most organizations have no idea how to measure if you get along with co-workers, how quickly you learn, if you will like the job, or whether you can plan a project. Just say yes to anything they ask. You can always learn on the job, or, better yet, claim no one told you it was important.” “Wow! This is one good list! I really get hot when someone tells me they have a different idea. When I’m right, I know it and I don’t mind saying so! (I wonder if that last guy who disagreed with me got his stitches out yet?). Companies don’t measure social skills, problem solving ability, planning ability, attitudes, interests, or motivations. Just techie certifications. “
  • Item eight-and-a-half: If all else fails and some smug recruiter makes you take a homemade test on site, go through the motions. If you pass, no problem. If you fail, then scream, holler, and threaten to go to a labor-law attorney. You see, amateur test developers seldom, if ever, know how to validate their test scores. Skills or no skills, that job is yours! “No sweat! I’m good at making a scene. My next job is in the bag!”

(For a personal copy of “How To Get a High Paid Job Even Though You May Not Have Any Skills” write to Fantasy Press, 1310 Shangri-La Boulevard, In-Your-Dreams, Barbados, 5551212. Be sure to include cash and a note from a grown-up that states you are over 21 and entitled to receive this book. No certified or registered mail will be accepted.)

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.