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Limited Language Recruiting and the Art of Haiku

by May 16, 2014, 9:41 am ET

tpfccdlfdtte pcaccplircdt dklpcfrp?qeiq lhpqlipqeodf gpwafopwprti izxndkiqpkii krirrifcapnc dxkdciqcafmd vkfpcadf.

Need a hint? It’s a Twitter recruiting message.

Another? It’s a simple (they tell me) substitution cipher.

Give up? Don’t care? Clearly you are not NSA material. (That would be the National Security Agency.) The agency may have its problems keeping its secrets secret, but the clever recruiters there sure know how to use Twitter.

NSA tweetThat gibberish at the top of this post was tweeted out May 5. It wasn’t long before the crypto-addicts had figured out the message: “Want to know what it takes to work at NSA? Check back each Monday in May as we explore careers essential to protecting our nation.”

Explained NSA spokeswoman Marci Green Miller,  “NSA is known as the code makers and code breakers.” The tweet is “part of our recruitment efforts to attract the best and the brightest.”

Those of you whose idea of Twitter recruiting is tweeting your open jobs, don’t you feel just a wee bit humbled?

Jobs In Haiku

Speaking of short form, have you considered haiku job ads? Over on RecruitingBlogs, recruiter, consultant, and self-described “Pipeline Populating Magician,” Steve Levy started an outpouring of 3-line creativity by offering up a collection of haiku about job descriptions, ATS, Big Data, LinkedIn, and a few others.

Here’s his job description haiku:

The Title screams –
Yes, a Software Developer
Does code…really?

Jerry Albright, a search firm owner and recruiter, took issue with Levy’s haiku structure (which only offers further evidence of why a liberal arts education is necessary for recruiting). Albright then penned this:

Just made a placement
In my Spiderman PJ’s
Now back to Facebook

Go read the rest for yourself.

Jobs in No Words

For the final chapter today in our limited language recruiting tutorial, I bring you “Employment Agency Sketch,” in which you see how to communicate with and understand a non-verbal job applicant.

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.

  • Keith Halperin

    Thanks, John. I would have expected a better feint from the NSA than pretending that they don’t ALREADY KNOW if someone were interested in working for them.
    I’d think a jollier, more-upbeat approach might work better, perhaps with this jingle:
    “We’re the NSA.
    We see you when you’re sleeping
    We know when you’re awake
    We know if you’ve been bad or good
    So be good for goodness sake.”

    As an alternative: something edgier, with a retro feel:

    Number Six: Where am I?
    Number Two: In the NSA Village.
    Number Six: What do you want?
    Number Two: Information.
    Number Six: Whose side are you on?
    Number Two: That would be telling. We want information… information… information.
    Number Six: You won’t get it.
    Number Two: By hook or by crook, we will.
    Number Six: Who are you?
    Number Two: The new Number Two.
    Number Six: Who is Number One?
    Number Two: You are Number Six.
    Number Six: I am not a number! I am a free man!
    Number Two: [laughs]

    Happy Friday, ‘Cruitaz!


    “They will seek you out. No place to hide”.
    -Kung Fu, 1972

  • John Zappe

    @Keith – You misunderstand the purpose of the agency. It isn’t snooping. It’s merely a government-run backup service for us taxpayers.

  • Steve Levy

    I like “funny John”
    Old ERE Steve will talk
    Engagement – SourceCon

  • Steve Levy

    BTW, had a nice chat with nhvtq.oodmuwde at Universum’s Employer Branding Conference a few weeks back. We talked about ways to improve the NSA’s cryptorecruiting process to improve the results (well, at least I think these ways would)…