Interview tips from Gunnary Sergeant Hartman....Full Metal Jacket Recruiting

A colleague got me going on this blog idea...and after a little research I love it!. For those of you who don’t know who Gunnery Sergeant Hartman is, he’s one of the main characters in Full Metal Jacket and is pretty much crazy. If you haven’t seen the movie, I’d highly recommend it. Stanley Kubrick is a genius. Anyway, Hartman is the drill sergeant training new troops before the head to Vietnam and has a bunch of good lines...most of them pretty inappropriate. That being said, there are a bunch of funny/good recruiting and job search tips. Here are a few of my favorites:

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: “I'm Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, your senior drill instructor. From now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and the last word out of your filthy sewers will be "Sir". Do you maggots understand that?” 

Just to make sure we are all on the same page here, if you ever have a boss or interview with someone who even remotely sounds like this. Quit, walk out, start over...regardless, not a good place. Ok? Now onto the tips.

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: “What's your name, scumbag?”

Be nice in your interviews. What’s funny is the smallest things can really ruin your candidate experience. Now, hopefully you’d never call your candidate a scumbag but you get the point. Even just showing up late to an interview, talking short or expressing frustration makes your candidates uncomfortable. If you’re having a bad day, take a deep breath and clear your thoughts...then do the interview and do it well.

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: “And my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved Corps.” 

I love this one. Really, it’s good advice for anyone doing interviews. If you are conducting an interview, you’re the front lines of defending your corporate culture and employee brand. You have to your best to make sure that anyone you do recommend for good and fits into the organization. Take this responsibility seriously. 

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: “Do I make you nervous?” 

Another tip about interview etiquette. The goal is to evaluate candidates and hire the good ones. Play nice, make people comfortable and learn as much as you can to determine if they are a great fit for your team.

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: What's your excuse? 
Private Cowboy: Sir, excuse for what, sir? 
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: I'm asking the f#&king questions here private. Do you understand? 

Final piece of interview etiquette. Make sure you leave time for the candidate to ask you questions and do your best to interview them in as much detail as you can. Changing jobs is a life decision for people, the more information you can share on why someone should join...the more likely they are to want to accept your offer.

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Are you quitting on me? Well, are you? Then quit, you slimy f#&king walrus-looking piece of sh#t! 

Last tip and in my opinion one of the most important if you hope to have a long career. People will quit their jobs, people will leave for better opportunities and people will leave for reasons you don’t understand. It happens. No need to get angry about it. Wish them luck and keep in touch with them...remember, networking is your friend and former colleagues are some of the best people in your network.

Ok, that’s it this week. Kind of a different post which was a lot of fun but I hope you enjoyed it. Until next week, good luck out there.
You can find the original copy of this post at

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Comment by Tim Spagnola on September 26, 2011 at 8:42pm
This was a great post Jeff. Weather it is Jessica's Terminator references or Dan's MacGyver references- I am a sucker for the pop culture filled recruiting blogs. Not to mention I am a Full Metal Jacket fan. Funny story- I once heard the actor who played Hartman on the radio and he was as scary in real life being interviewed as the character he played in the movie. Thanks for sharing an entertaining read.
Comment by Noel Cocca on September 26, 2011 at 11:58pm

Loved this one...


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