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A Rant on Job Applicants

And how you can benefit from their failures.


Dr. Dre came out of a long absence and dropped an album last night … so naturally I decided to come out of my blog hibernation. Since my last post, I made the jump from demo guy to sales rep, finished #1 among my US colleagues in my only full quarter carrying a bag, then moved into a leadership role with a rocketship of a startup.


Over the last few weeks, as I’ve stood up a team consisting primarily of relatively inexperienced young professionals, I found myself pouring over post after post bemoaning the process of hiring “millennials.”

By definition, a millennial is anyone who thinks Ja Rule and Ashanti qualify as “old school hip hop.”

Back in the lean years of the recession…it seemed like folks coming out of school had to scrape and claw for even the most entriest of entry level roles. Terms like “Salary negotiation” drew laughs and “interview thank you notes” were actually common practice.

Fast forward to 2015. At the risk of becoming Seth Rogan in “Neighbors”…let’s just say I had my share of run ins with Zac Efron over the last week:

Incident 1 – Candidate #1 has a great first interview. Verbally, electronically, and calendar invite accepts interview #2. 10 minutes into interview #2, doesn’t show. Answers the phone when I call, “Oh hey, how’s it going?” Promptly hangs up. Doesn’t respond to my inquisitive voice mail…or email. Finally, when I bounce her from contention, she’s kind enough to wish ME luck.

Incident 2 – Candidate #2’s resume is so sparse, I had to ensure the second page wasn’t floating somewhere in the PDF ether. Decent first interview (not as strong as Candidate #1). Refuses my suggestion to complete the “field assignment” we assign to test candidate’s skill set until we talk about comp. Hops on the phone to talk comp, proceeds to outline why she is worth X, not worth Y, and how even if she did decide to come on board, she’d probably require reviews every 6 months for the more senior role on our team.

She didn’t give me the chance to tell her we do those evaluations roughly every 6 hours with our team of A+ people…

Incident 3 – Candidate requests an interview slot several days outside the block I had been offering everyone else. I oblige. An hour before the interview, I get a declined meeting notification. No email. No call. Then this:

Great, thanks…..

This is a post for job seekers (I’ll do a follow up for hiring managers) and the crux is this:

It is INCREDIBLY easy to land your DREAM role.

Seriously. Find a role within striking distance of your dream. PROVE why this is the absolute perfect role for you. PROVE that you will absolutely crush it. Do the little things like actually creating a personal statement for that role, do bi-directional discovery (asking questions) that help you and the employer determine if marriage is a good fit, and follow up with a thank you note (yeah, we still look for them).

If I ran a pizza shop, and got 101 resumes…100 from experienced pizza makers, and yours…but yours included a voice mail about why you loved my pizza, how you see the company growing, how you could help, and “oh I know I'm not the most experienced pizza maker so I actually went on my own time and shadowed a master pizza chef, and started making my own, here’s a video of the one I made today.”...that overcomes any "resume" shortcomings you might have.

At the very least, you will rise above the people in your relative experience set. You’ll be in the conversation with people who based on resume (which your competitors spent hours perfecting while you were doing the things I mentioned in the last paragraph) you’d otherwise have no business competing with.

And I kid you not, you're probably getting the job. I can teach a skill, I can't teach heart.

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