THE BLOG
13/11/2013 09:05 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:56 GMT

Team Players Need Not Apply

If I read the words 'team player' one more time, I'm going to scream.

We're hiring at work. And everyone who applies is dedicated and conscientious, and strategic, and tactical, and organised... and dull. Nigh on every CV sounds exactly the same (no-one tell us they're a lazy misanthrope who can't multitask, strangely - though I'd be tempted to interview them).

These people (and their pieces of paper) are in a competition, but they don't seem to have realised. Instead they bleat the same business buzzwords as the next corporate sheep. It says to me: you're not the 'leader' you think you are, you're a follower. You're not 'creative', you're devastatingly predictable.

People think this nonsense makes them sound smart, or professional. Nope. At best, it sounds unimaginative, and at worst insecure. It doesn't make me want to invest my time in meeting them. (Terry Smith of Fundsmith says whole businesses do the same thing, and it stops him investing in them.)

It's funny how we often give away our own insecurities and hang-ups in the words we pick. Have a listen back to the gay-marriage debate in the House of Lords, and you might spot that the Lords that were pro-gay marriage tended to use the everyday word 'gay'. The Lords that were anti said 'homosexual'. It's colder, more scientific, and squirming ever so slightly with discomfort.

The answer is to tell it straight. Just write on your CV: 'I can use Photoshop.' Good. 'I've used Photoshop for a year, and I'm really getting the hang of it.' Honester, and even better. Or take a leaf out of the book of the guy who sent me a CV that said, 'Pick me because I can write a sentence that sings. Pick me because my brother is a pig nutritional specialist. Pick me because you're intrigued. Just pick me.'

Can you guess what we did?