Today, I had the good fortune of receiving an email that was not supposed to come to me. The email I received was in regards to a scheduled job interview, and there was apparently some sort of benchmarking requirement as part of the process. Whenever this happens, I can’t resist the opportunity to screw with the sender. In this case, it was a sender and two copied colleagues, which made for even more fun.

The message thread follows. The names have been changed, the headers removed, but the text is the same.


Hope all is well. Just following up on the phone screen earlier this week. As I told you we give an online Lab assignment just to get a sense you skills. The Lab is designed to be finished in roughly an evening – and we give 24 hours recognizing people already have a job.

I can send you the Lab tonight at 5 PM if that works for you. If not let me know what 24 hour period you would like to have between now and Monday.



To which I *of course* responded:

“Hi All,

I’m Steve Skojec, not Robert. While I do live in Northern Virginia, I was not an applicant for this position, special assignment, or deadly mission, whichever it was. Fortunately I’m cool about the whole mad scientist thing, so I won’t tell anyone about your “lair” or whatever it is that you’re concocting in your “lab.” I just hope that whatever it is, it’s extremely explosive. And cold. Not enough explosions are cold. I want an explosion that freezes everything in the blast radius. That would be awesome.

Anyway, you may want to update your email address. Because I’m not the guy you’re looking for. If I was, I’d probably be taking this way more seriously.

Steve Skojec”

To his credit, the interviewer came back with:


I’m happy to inform you that passed our top secret mad scientist, secret mission, cold explosives “Lab”. Honestly we just send that message out randomly hoping for worthy candidates. Its our new recruiting strategy.

We also like designers – for that we give a different test….


Which I naturally replied to with:


I suspected as much, but I didn’t want to tip my hand. When do I get fitted for my tux? Will the bow tie double as a shuriken? Do you have ballpoint pens filled with acid? Is there a shark tank, or some sort of other dangerous animal enclosure? Do I have the option of having my drinks mixed according to my own exacting specifications?

Perhaps most importantly, do you have casual Fridays?



I’m waiting for his reply. I wonder how long we can keep this up.

UPDATE: 3/23/2012 @ 6:26PM

I got another response. This time, from Melanie, one of James’s colleagues copied on the thread:

Yes, we do have casual Fridays, however all employees are required to wear the official company tuxedo t-shirt.

Tuxedo T-Shirt

What I should have done, but didn’t think of until now, was respond with this:

So Much Win!

Perhaps now that I’ve thought of it, I will.

Instead, I wrote:

Dearest Melanie,

I didn’t think anyone else shared my affinity for tuxedo t-shirts. If I weren’t happily married, I’d think we were soulmates. Instead, I’ll have to settle for nominating the three of you for the awesome hall of fame.

Seriously, thanks for being such good sports about this. It always screws with the Russians.


P.S. – I discovered last night that this email was supposed to go to my cousin, Robert, who emailed me yesterday asking me how I like (town redacted) because he has a job interview there. I told him he owes me for vetting the company’s coolness, and I think I’ve extorted a modest quantity of expensive booze in return. Please don’t hold it against him, he didn’t know about it until after I had already deployed my evil “screw with the misdirected email” plan. Now I almost feel bad. Almost. Except it was too much fun so instead of feeling bad I posted it on my blog – with names changed, and no company mentioned, of course. I wouldn’t reveal that info unless you started blackmailing me. So don’t start. Things could get ugly.

So there you have it. The other shoe belongs to my cousin, who has a job interview with this company on Tuesday. I’m assuming I’ve improved his prospects. He can thank me later.

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