Putting the value of fresh graduates in perspective

While browsing through YouTube, I came across this video from Dentsu, Japan’s largest advertising agency, made during their 2016 fresh graduate recruitment exercise.

This video was called “一次選考は終わっちゃったケド電通ビル37階から通過者ファイルにすべり込もう選考” or “終わケド選考.” What this essentially means is that people who didn’t make it through the first round of interviews can still ‘slip’ into the final round of interviews.

According to what I see from the “終わケド選考” series of videos that remain on YouTube (the website on Dentsu is gone), people who didn’t make it through the first round submit a form on Dentsu’s website entering a sentence on how they feel about failing their first-round interview.

The form is connected to a printer on the 37th floor of the Dentsu building. The printer spits out a piece of paper containing an applicant number and the applicant’s thought. The paper then flutters down 10 meters into a foyer below. On the floor of the foyer is a blue binder propped upright. If the piece of paper slips into the blue binder, the applicant to whom the piece of paper belongs to advanced to the final interview.

The video above shows a digest of what happened. According to the video, 2,791 people decided to do this disgusting activity. 5 people’s pieces of paper actually fell into the binder and they got to advance into the final round.

Some late-night thoughts about owakedo-senkou.

I tried looking up what people said about this at the time. The more polite blogs said that a ‘unique’ way of choosing people (“ユニークな選考”). I agree more with this commentary:

確かに名前が書いてある訳ではなく受験番号ですので、名刺を落とすような失礼には当たらないかもしれません。しかし、事前に選考方法は知らせてあるとはいえ、もしかしたら読んでもらえるかもと必死で「意気込み」を書き記した大学生も多いのではないでしょうか。

電通の発案者は、これを自分がやられたら嫌ではないのでしょうか?どこかに 転職するなりコンペに作品を出すなどして、自分の職務履歴書や企画書が相手方の会社の2階から床に落とされ合否を判断されるとしたら良い気分はしないはずです。

ひとりひとりの大学生の気持ちに、気が回らなくなっている面はないでしょうか?マスのマインドは分かるが、ひとりの気持ちは想像ができない。

First, it’s rude to throw people’s names all over the floor. It’s also disrespectful to know that you were selected (or rejected) not for your skills, talents, or even ability to charm the interviewer, but because of some Dentsu employee’s dumb idea to have a printer shit paper from the 37th floor of their office.

On the other hand, it’s refreshing to know that Dentsu is upfront about how it treats its fresh graduate job applications. I’ve been told numerous times in recruiting events that HR administrators spend 7 seconds scanning a resume that you spent 70 hours to perfect. Not to mention the “resume bots” that companies employ.

Second, life imitates art, which I guess isn’t ironic since advertising is an art. In Bioshock Infinite, in a side commentary on runaway 1920s capitalism, the player gets to see peasant workers bid for jobs in an auction that awards jobs to the worker who can do it in the shortest time possible. The times proposed are so short that the worker who wins the auction won’t get paid anyway because he will fail to complete his job in the auctioned time. The same futility applies here. The applicants probably spent a really long time figuring out what to write on that piece of paper for the slim hope that some Dentsu employee might care enough to make a difference on their application.

Third, a friend in law school once told me that we (students applying for jobs) are flies surrounding piles of shit (the jobs themselves). There’s no better visualization of the metaphor than the owakedo-senkou video.