We would always advise you to be creative when submitting your application materials. You may be up against candidates sending express delivery packages or hiding resumes in doughnut boxes. But in May 2017, a dutch job applicant went so far, he almost got arrested. We spoke with Victor van Doorn, one of the founders of the company that decided to work with this candidate after all.
Sherlocked is a Dutch company that designs immersive and realistic escape room experiences in Amsterdam. In 2014, well before escape rooms were all the rage in the Netherlands, they scored a few hits with mystery experiences that go well beyond anything you would expect from an escape room. Real historic locations are central to the games they develop. To break into an old bank, for example, players have to use rational, sensory and physical abilities to open real vaults. Things were going well for Sherlocked, so they posted a job opening, inviting candidates to apply in a creative way.
It’s the end of April and Amsterdam is under the spell of King’s Day. This annual birthday celebration of the Dutch monarch mobilises over a million visitors and most businesses are closed for the day. A lot of offices get broken into over the the hectic weekend, and the founders of Sherlocked were relieved to have had no incidents. But a few days later, Victor gets a call from the office manager. Someone had broken into their headquarters.
“There was strange music playing in the background.”
Upon his arrival, Victor finds glass scattered on the floor and their flat screen television is missing from the wall. On a desk he sees a package that is addressed to all the founders of Sherlocked. There is strange music playing in the background and that’s when he realises that this is not a regular break-in. He calls the other founders into the office.
In the package they find a beautiful wooden box with a key underneath. Inside the box there’s a note that says, “Allow me to introduce myself.”. With a pin they manage to open the bottom part of the same box, and more clues come to light. They end up using black light to decipher all kinds of codes and eventually they find a USB-stick holding a resume and a cover letter. The founders had been exposed to an immersive mystery experience in their own office. Victor had almost called the police, but the founders ended up deciding to work with the applicant instead.
Two years later, this candidate is working with Sherlocked on several projects. The context and the type of company were rather specific and the outcome was positive in this case. Afterwards, it turned out that the job applicant had been scheming with the office manager. The glass damage had been staged to make it look like a real robbery. You should always be creative when submitting your application materials. But don’t take it too far, and by all means, never really break into an office to submit your resume.