Can You Believe They Said This?

Laughing man - stockimages - freeI thought it would be fun to share some of the more absurd things that both candidates and clients have said to me.

No Words Can Explain

When I told a candidate about a potential job:

Do they have private offices? My lease is up soon and I may have to stay at work for a while.


Said by an HR director at J. Walter Thompson when giving me a job order to replace a departing account person who was going to Margeotes, Fertitta, Weiss (one of the best and most successful of the small agencies in the 1990’s):

Imagine, leaving here to go to an agency whose name you cannot pronounce.

Unfortunately, she was serious.

Sore Loser

Said by a candidate who did not get a job after four weeks of intensive interviewing and going back too many times to count:

Well, I didn’t like them, anyway.

Sore Loser, Too

Said by a candidate who did not get a job at Chiat/Day in their earlier days:

I guess it is a good thing.  I don’t look good in jeans.


The reason given by an account supervisor who wanted to leave Chiat/Day after only a week (I had not placed her there):

I have to do my own Xeroxing.

She Doesn’t Get It

The entire email sent by a candidate who instead of returning my call to tell her about a potential opportunity wrote:

I no longer require your services.

An HR Director Who Didn’t Get It

The trouble with you recruiters is that you want feedback. I don’t have the time for that s­­%@t—

A Hiring Manager Who Didn’t Get It

Said after  I sent three really great candidates:

Article Continues Below

I don’t want to use you any more.  You only send me two or three candidates and I need to interview at least 10 or 12 people.

Quantity over quality.


When I first was recruiting in the 80s, I worked out of my living room. I was interviewing a woman while my wife was in the bedroom. I swear this is true.

What can I do to get you to get me a job? said she, as she was unbuttoning her blouse.

Well, it was the 80’s.

Get Over It

When I asked a candidate about a potential job, she asked me if a certain gentleman worked there. When I answered yes, she told me that he was an “ass” and she wouldn’t work at any company that would hire him. When I asked her why, she said, simply, “I was once engaged to him.”

I guess that is as good a reason as any for passing up an opportunity.

For Real?

The reason I use you is because you know the business. That saves us the trouble of writing job specs and descriptions.

Compliment yes. Direction no.

The Wife As Unseen Client

I can’t hire her. She is way too pretty.  I will have to travel with her.  If my wife ever met her, she would castrate me.

Paul Gumbinner spent 20 years in advertising. He is one of the few recruiters who has run an advertising agency. His advertising credentials include experience in virtually every category of products and services – package goods, cosmetics, broadcasting, financial services, publishing, retail, travel and leisure, fast food and business-to-business.

Paul has written about advertising and advertising related personnel matters and has
been published in the key advertising industry trade publications – Advertising Age and AdWeek. Paul has been quoted in many general publications as well – Forbes, Fortune, Newsweek, to name a few.

Paul’s blog about advertising, View from Madison Avenue is read by hundreds of advertising executives each week. This popular commentary and common sense advice is sought after by candidates and clients alike. He also loves to tell funny stories.

Paul is one of the only advertising recruiters to be listed in Who’s Who in Advertising,
Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in Media and

As a member of the American Advertising Federation’s Speakers Bureau, Paul is a
popular guest lecturer and speaks about advertising and recruiting throughout the
United States.

His search firm,The Gumbinner Companyrecruits advertising executives for advertising agencies and corporations
The firm handles general advertising, direct, digital / interactive, event and promotion and recruits at all levels of the business:
• Agency Management
• Account Management
• Account Planners
• Strategic Planners
• Senior Media Executives
• Agency Financial Executives
• Corporate Advertising Executives
The firm prides itself on the tenure of its placements. All candidates are met in person. "We are partners in our clients and our candidates. We know advertising."