Tips for Job Seekers

IT Culture, Legal, Web 2.0
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Let me first admit that I thank my lucky stars that I am nearly never the hiring manager for any roles at Own Web Now. In order for me to make you an offer, you need to come really highly recommended and report directly to me. I think in the past 2 years I’ve hired the grand total of two of such people, both of whom many of you have talked to. Everyone else gets hired through the proper channels and the purpose of this blog post is to familiarize you with the process that will most likely lead to you getting hired. This post is meant for the job seekers only/

For what it’s worth, what finally cracked the camels back was Karl picking on me while I was putting on about 5 fires on a Monday afternoon, none of which I needed to fight. I am hiring a person to give Karl sh%% on Mondays.

Understand the Employer

First, understand that the very reason you are looking at an ad, instead of getting in on a friends recommendation, is that company could not find a suitable candidate through other social means. It costs a lot less money to search for job roles than to put up an ad, filter for responses and criteria, wait for a week – not to mention double the cost of putting up an ad.

Second, understand that there are generally over 100 people that will apply for any given job, most of whom are completely unqualified. In the first pass the objective is not to find the shining star but to filter out the collection of unemployed people that are on the street for a reason. That may sound harsh but it is something that you control, not the employer. If you color your resume pink, your resume will not be read. If you didn’t include a cover page, your resume will not be read. Remember that the people reviewing your qualification to work are looking to mitigate risk, not introduce it! If you don’t follow proper channels, you don’t get considered. If you don’t follow the proper business etiquette, you don’t get considered. Why? Because you are being hired to work in a business as a professional.

Final and most important factor: This is a sales job. Deal with it. If you want a job in the private sector you need to come to terms that you are asking people for money and you need to focus on answering the question of why I should give you money instead of a few hundred other people. AIDA. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action. In every minute that you are talking to a potential hiring manager you need to be closing. You need to be asking more questions than the person hiring you.

What can I do for you?

Which one of my job responsibilities so far did you find most appealing? Let me tell you how I can implement them to help you!

What is the first task I will be responsible for?

How do I make more money with your company?

There is nothing more awkward than a job interview where the candidate doesn’t have any questions. Ever notice how when people interview you keep on asking open ended questions, ask you about your skills, your responsibilities, your goals? The idea is to get you to start talking so you can immediately showcase yourself as someone that can handle not being micromanaged to death. This tells the employer if you are the kind of a person that is going to seek out problems to fix and be able to handle them, or if you are the person that is going to wait around to be told what to do and when.

Unfortunately for you, if you aren’t an extroverted go getter, you will be working at a fast food joint. The world of business is far too competitive to settle and if your job description can be boiled down to a bullet point / Karl’s Checklist, your job will be done in a third world country.

Who do I want to hire….

pg2_a_vanillaice_300My ideal employee is Vanilla Ice. Why?

“If there was a problem,

yo – I’ll solve it.”

It’s really as simple as that. You know all of those Dilbert terms people tack on at the bottom of a job description?

Self Motivated. Self Starter. Ability to work on multiple tasks. Great communicator a plus.

Those are not empty words meant to fill out a job posting. Those have a real meaning. Your job, regardless of who you are trying to work for, is to reduce the problems and hassle. Not to introduce them. Sell me on the fact that you are not going to be an issue. Tell me that you can handle your life so it doesn’t interfere with your job.

I have a handful of people that I can give a task or a problem and never hear about it. They find the resources, they put together a solution, they contact the client and explain the issue, they get their s@#$ done.

Who do I not want to hire….

Now, some of these may seem obvious. All the more reason to take the stuff I’ve written so far to heart and put yourself as far away from the rest of the unemployed masses. Let’s play a game, shall we? Tell me what’s wrong with this resume:


If you guessed “This moron didn’t even take the time to look at the resume template and put in their name on their resume” you’ve guessed correctly. Congratulations!

This could be just a rookie mistake, however, it shows me that you lack attention to detail. And since your “Functional Role” is that of a Project Manager or IT Manager, you’d lead my company towards a disaster. No, thanks.

Other reasons why you don’t get a followup….

The email address you applied from belongs to your current employer. Not only does this put all kinds of legal questions in my mind, it shows me that you have no loyalty. Why should I bother investing in training and motivating you if you’re already telling me that you’re willing to use company resources for private matters.

The resume did not contain a cover letter. The cover letter is your opportunity to sell me on giving you a call. If you do not have a cover letter I am assuming you don’t actually want this job, you’re just applying for it because it seemed to fit your qualifications and the salary could sustain you. I am going to let you in on a little secret. You are not going to walk off the street into an executive position. You are going to have to put in the time, effort and show true passion for the job and for the company in order for the people whose money is at stake to trust you with the direction. That takes a lot of trust. That takes a lot of effort. That takes a lot of dedication. You showed none, resume deleted.

You decided to call me, fax me, IM me or go through any means other than those specified on the job application. To some this may mean you are driven, dedicated and ambitious. Not to me. This world is full of overambitious jackasses who feel the rules do not apply to them – they do. By being “special” you are identifying yourself as someone that cannot follow the rules.

The resume was pink, red or otherwise lacking proper business sense. I love German Shepherds. Not in a way that only a Bama fan loves a farm animal, but in a sense that I’ve grown up around them and consider them to be a great companion. But when I am putting a business proposal I don’t happen to put a picture of my dog front and center on the proposal. I also don’t paint it blue. Things that work on myspace do not work in the work space.

Finally, and most importantly….. ALWAYS BE CLOSING. ALWAYS:

You are being hired by a growing company in a competitive field that has customers in over 140 countries, over 40 data centers that has a huge global expansion scheduled for 2009 and multiple projects with huge expansion commitment on 3 continents.

You think we got here on the account of sitting back, sipping Mojito’s and relying on the kindness of strangers? If you want to hang here, pardon the expression, you need to be a hustler. I am talking to you for a reason: Do you want the job? 

Just so that we are clear: If I’m talking to you, I am interested. Sell me. Here is someone that did it right:

Dear Mr. Mazek,
Thanks so much for getting back with me so quickly. I am quite familiar with social networking sites. I use Myspace and Facebook daily and have blogged on them before. I just signed up for a Twitter as well. I have a XXXX major and XXXX minor from XXXX University which perfectly correlates with this position.  My communication skills are top notch and my computer skills are quite advanced.  I am interested in hearing more about the position and your organization.  Please let me know if you need anymore information from me.


What is this person doing? C L O S I N G. Here are my features. Here are my skills. Here is my education. I am interested. My number is here. Call me and give me your money!

Could this person have simply answered an innocent follow-up question without stating all the reasons why they fit the role?

Could this person have done so without making it easy for me to contact them?

Could this person have omitted proper business salutation and gotten straight to the point?

It’s the little things that separate professionals from the unemployed. In order to be trusted with business you have to show that you would run it and manage it as if it was your own money on the line.

A little bit of motivation…

Despite what you may feel about corporations and hiring practices, you should understand that in the private sector you are not simply an employee, you are an investment that corporation makes in its staff. Corporation whose goal it is to make money by providing superior service, whose employees are proud of what they deliver and are constantly striving to move that company forward. Those employees understand that the more successful company gets, the more successful they get, and the closer they get to their dream job.

If, on the other hand, you look at this as a game of numbers and a fight to be won or lost, you won’t go far. If you don’t take care of the house, the house won’t take care of you. You’ll just be angry and depressed with each passing day in which you are not getting your way and aren’t doing anything constructive to get to it.

It’s a tough economy in a tight market and only the best are still around and fighting while most are stuck trying to figure out how to meet payroll numbers. If you want to play in this market, as opposed to being the next job to be chopped and sent to India, you need to step your game up and show some leadership.