Ed Hunter: Tricks Of The Trade

Ladies and Gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I’ve just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story and I need all of you to stop what you’re doing and listen.

Summer’s hit London.

It’s HOTTER than the sun in our office.

And, as much as I love recruitment, on a HOT sunny day, there are a few things I can think of to do other than recruit.

Chances are, tensions are a little fraught in your office? Especially if ‘the man’ – metaphorical you understand, your boss could well be a woman – hasn’t relaxed the ‘ties on by 8am rule’.

So, with people a little bit more tense than normal, fighting over the four shared headsets so they can huddle round the open door of the freezer while calling uninterested candidates, it’s best to be nice to your lovely colleagues.

No one wants someone ruffling their feathers, on days like today.

And, with that in mind, here are the top recruitment (or just general office) pranks you can be playing to help your colleagues remain jovial.

The ‘target’ or ‘mark’ of your prank won’t be happy. But everyone else in the office will. You’ll (probably) be hailed as the office legend and hold sway amongst the top brass for years to come.

Probably.

One thing that will happen, call times will be awesome as people will be spending ages on the phone to IT Support. The gift that keeps on giving.

Prank 1. Shortcut Shutdown

You know when you click on Internet Explorer or Chrome and up pops a window, as usual, so you can search the internet. Pretty standard practice. But, here’s the thing. You can copy that icon and make your target’s computer shut down, instead of performing the normal task.

They, obviously won’t realise why.

Here’s how you do it.

On their desktop, right click and select ‘create a shortcut’.

Type: shutdown -s -f -r -t 0 -c message’.

The ‘message’ can be anything and will be shown as the computer shuts down. To make it topical, go with ‘This computer is too hot. Shutting down.’ Or perhaps ‘You know what Karen, I can’t do this any more’. Or, if you want to be kind, go for ‘Ed Hunter Was Here’ – with your name in place of mine, it’s less cryptic but also kinder as they’ll know it was you.

To finish, change the name to something clickable, like Chrome obviously, and make sure you have an icon to match. To change the icon, click ‘Browse’ and go to C:\Program Files\Chrome and choose chrome.exe.  Choose the appropriate one, hit OK and you’re golden.

If you want to be really mean, you can delete their existing icon. 

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Prank 2. Crazy Mice

This one’s very simple, and very easy to do.

If you’re in a snazzy company that has laptops, you’ll have wireless mice with USB connections. Quite simply, swap a few of those around.

You may want to create a chart of which mouse is controlling which computer, or simply go for the random swap. Though that is much more dangerous and likely to get you into hot water if they find out it’s you. So, just swap yours too.

If you’re rolling with PCs, the old ‘tape over the laser’ is a good make weight for this trick, though doesn’t quite hold the same fervour.

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Prank 3. Self Detonated-Mentos-Kitchen-Volcano

Tools needed: small tack or paperclip, one Mentos, one bottle of coke (ideally someone’s they’ve put expectantly in the fridge for later), one small length of string.

This one’s truly brilliant, when played correctly.

You’ll need to be stealthy in getting the top of the drink without breaking the ring. Hammer a small hole through one of the mints. Thread the string through and balance it on the top of the bottle with keeping the string taught.

Then screw the top back on tight and clip the string so there’s no trace and the mint stays at the top.

Then? Wait.

Once your target has decided this heat is unbearable, and they could do with refreshment, they’ll open their bottle. Only they’ll be much more refreshed than they were hoping for.

Remember to keep your distance. This works especially nicely, if it’s your own bottle of coke, prepared at home, and the target is a regular thief of fridge contents. Cause, really, what are they supposed to say to that?

Shortcut: If you have old school ice trays, you can simply freeze a few Mentos inside the water and hope the recipient doesn’t notice. When the ice thaws, you get the same outcome for far less effort.

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Prank 4. ‘Can We See You in The Boardroom?’

Fairly obviously, email carriers allow you to change your name. Now, obviously if you get married or want a new identity to look cool online, like Ed Hunter for example, this is all above board.

You could however change your name to one that, oh I don’t know, matches your boss’s name.

Cue irrelevant trips to the boardroom, erroneous errands to the shop, ‘agreed’ duvet days. You get the picture.

If you’re really good you can do this on the phone by changing the extensions and mimicking your boss’s voice.

Be warned, this one could go too far and will almost certainly come back to you. Not that I’m giving you ideas, but choosing your colleague’s best client’s name, would be one example of ‘too far’.

“We’re taking all three candidates and have decided to use you exclusively. Please call me when you get this.”

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Prank 5. I’m Horny. Horny. Horny. Horny.

This prank can be done at various levels. You may want to play it safe, simply alter the position of people’s chairs, or just swap them all one evening. Because although simple, that’s extremely annoying.

For a level up, choose someone tall in the office.

Then strap an air horn (one which you push down on to activate) to the main stem of the chair and position the seat at its highest option.

The target will, naturally, be too high when they sit down first thing, and so quickly drop down. This trick comes into its own with someone who’s naturally grumpy in the morning and someone who’s not senior enough to give you the marching orders.

Voilà.

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Prank 6. I’ve Put A Spell On You

Spelling. It’s not everyone’s forte. And some people double check everything they write before they click the send button. This one’s not for them.

This trick is for the annoyingly confident, bordering on showboat characters who think they’re always right.

If you can get hold of their mobile, you can swap words they type so it shows other words. On an iPhone for example, simply go to Settings > General > Keyboards > Choose your swapped words or phrases > Save.

On a computer – which bear in mind could mean they’re sending these to clients or candidates – you’ll want to choose which program you go for. Each one has its own permutations so go for something light-hearted I would. Cause… y’know, Word = CVs. Outlook = clients. It could get messy.

There are demos aplenty online for whichever program you choose.

For maximum effect with little reprehension, maybe swap ‘they’re’ for ‘their’… or ‘where’ for ‘wear’. For any grammar Nazis, it’s simple but very effective.

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Prank 7. Get Cagey

Hands up… Who hates Nicholas Cage?

OK, OK, let’s make this easier… who likes Nicholas Cage?

Thought so.

For this trick, you’ll need about 30 seconds and access to the target’s computer, and make sure they use Chrome.

Click this or copy the link. Then download the Chrome plug-in which swaps every single image on every website on Chrome with a photo of the world’s greatest actor.

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If you have any of your own do send them my way: [email protected]

There’s obviously the old classics too, like asking someone to hold a broom handle to the ceiling, the other end, supporting a bucket of water. That’s arguably so fitting in this heat, they’ll be happy with you.

Or, there’s the old ‘changing the keys on an old school keyboard’ trick. You can make them spell something funny, or simply just swap ones close to each other.

But, we’re better than that. Be original, and remember no self respecting office prankster doesn’t prank themselves to make sure their tracks are covered.

Have fun. That’s what recruitment’s about. Sort of.