Comment – Dead from the desktop up?

A recent job advertisement in this newspaper concluded by imploring: ‘No dead accountants please!’ I wondered why a corpse might be thumbing through the jobs pages – unless of course Glen Hoddle’s reincarnation theory is correct and the soul in question was required to embark on a new life as an accountant, either as a reward or a punishment for its previous actions.

Surely candidates who had passed away would be sifted out early? The statements: ‘Status – Dead’ or ‘Health – Expired’ would be spotted by anyone giving the application the most cursory glance. Even if the problem was missed and the candidate made it to the short list, the rattle of a skeleton as it signed in and clipped a visitor’s pass to its ribs would inevitably arouse suspicions.

I wondered if the advertiser had had problems recruiting in the past, resulting in confrontation as the poor cadaver slumped over a computer while the client repeatedly screamed at the recruitment agent that this accountant was dead, had turned up its toes, gone before, was a dead accountant.

Perhaps the advertiser was not expecting to be taken literally. Maybe ‘dead’ was a comment about personality. Well it doesn’t go down well with us, does it? I was reminded of the film poster which screamed: ‘When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth. Coming to your cinemas soon: Zombies – The Dawn of the Dead.’ Some wit had written underneath: ‘a film about chartered accountants’. Ha, ha. (Mind you it can be very funny indeed if you substitute actuary, banker, tax inspector or indeed anyone else who has made your life tedious lately.)

So for future reference, as well as checking our qualifications, experience and abilities against the job specification, we need to ask our most honest friends if the adjective ‘dead’ could be fairly applied to us. Staff recruitment is becoming very sophisticated. We can only hope that we don’t find a similar statement hanging outside the gates of heaven.

Ann Baldwin FCA is a management trainer and conference speaker.

Related reading