Writing for Business

Jul 13 2012   12:33PM GMT

Is that mortician unkept or unkempt?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
The interviews were not going well: One _______ search virgin, one mortician. So far, no purple squirrel.
a. unkempt
b. unkept

Answer: a.

“Unkempt” means ungroomed. “Unkept,” on the other hand, might mean that the job candidate was not a kept man or a kept woman — that they were lacking a sugar mama or a sugar daddy. Which, of course, is unfortunate but none of the interviewer’s business. A lack of grooming, however, could be relevant.

What’s a search virgin? A mortician? A purple squirrel? Those are categories recruiters use to describe job candidates.

Learn job search secrets from Google recruiter and author of “Purple Squirrel,” Michael Junge.

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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