Clint Smalfurie was so mediocre we thought no company would want him. With a degree in accounting from Arizona State University and an unimpressive 2.95 grade point average, he seemed to be the perfect candidate for a quick rejection letter.
But First Interstate Bank called anyway -- only to find that Clint didn't exist. The bank's personnel manager was was embarrassed to admit that Clint fit the profile of a management trainee candidate. Our ne'er-do-well creation came closer to getting a job with the bank than did one of the authors of this article. And Clint's re'sume' was not nearly as good.
Clint's background, concieved after a few beers one Friday night, was hardly the quality most businesses seek in an entry-level accountant. His job experience included dolphin training at Sea World, where he "managed and directed three dolphins and two thresher sharks" and earned Sea World's Employee of the Month award in July 1983. (We were tempted to say Clint had "gained valuable experience in interpersonal and intermammalian communication" but didn't for fear it would stimulate interest.)
Clint also listed three years' work as assistant manager for dairy products at a small grocery store in Phoenix, where, under his supervision, the "dairy division exceeded nearly all sales objectives for three years."
His college activities were equally unremarkable: rush chairman of a business fraternity, a member of an outdoor club, and the social chairman for the College Republicans.
We tried not to miss a cliche': his interests included "backpacking, tennis, working out and people." References, of course, were "available upon request."
His re'sume''s cover letter was every bit as uninspiring: "Could your firm use an entry-level accountant with a strong academic background who is eager to come to work for your firm? If so, please consider my qualifications below."
We chose an accounting position because we figured it to be the most universal of entry-level job opportunities. And we took care in selecting details for his background. Even the original spelling of his last name -- Smallfury -- was changed for fear that employers would think he was Indian and invite him for an interview under Affirmative Action.