Friday, September 08, 2006

Overdoing it

OK, so recently I've been looking for a job (God hel^W^W Allah sav^W^W somebody stop me!). This has been scary - it'll be my first job since graduating.

One company I've applied to is an actuarial-type firm, although they seem a bit less straight-laced than most. In particular, they obviously like to feel they're giving their applicants a challenge, an attitude that resulted in me getting this request in my inbox:

In order to progress to the next stage we need to be impressed. In ANY medium of your choice, using no more than 100 words, please convince us why you should be selected for the {company name} Graduate scheme? (Please note that no further guidance will be provided).

This is not a request you make of Lifewish if you value your sanity. I am the master of overkill.

First, the 100 words. Any medium, hmm? How about Haiku? Ten stanzas of haiku, to be precise, detailing all the excellent qualities I have to offer.

Of course, it'll be a few minutes before they figure out it's in Haiku. I locked it with a challenge. The job application process should be as much about the company as the applicant.

And for the challenge? Well, what could be a better continuation of the Japanese theme than a Sudoku problem? Which I generated using code I wrote from scratch. It's got the company initials picked out in numbers in it.

Of course, I couldn't have people peeking at the answer, so I encrypted my 100 words with a Vigenere-style cipher, using the Sudoku board as its key. That'll teach 'em to ask for experience of VBA and Excel.

Some people claim I overreact to challenges. I don't see it, myself.