Twelve Wild and Crazy Ways to Find a Job in a Tough Economy

They’re Not ‘Your Mother’s Resume’ and Sometimes They Even Succeed

Stroke their vanity. Advertising executive Alec Brownstein bought six ads on Google saying “Hey …,” followed by the name of a top creative director. When those people did vanity searches of their own name, above the results was Brownstein’s ad: a direct pitch for work, with a link to his site. Result: 4 interviews; 2 offers. He’s now working at Y & R.

Turn the tables. Young programmer Andrew Horner asked employers to apply to have him work for them. “I will favor those job offers which fulfill my listed preferences,” he wrote, “but you shouldn’t worry too much if you don’t meet all of them; just be sure to let me know exactly what it is that you feel your company has to offer me.” His site went viral. Result: 44 offers, and a job at a mortgage financing site.

Network in new places. Journalism student Agneeta Thacker was hired as an intern at a cultural-guide website after her mother, a biotech patent agent who was tired of working at home, used the Loosecubes office-sharing service to book a desk for herself at Flavorpill, a participating company that produces an online culture guide. Once there, Mrs. Thacker told the site’s talent recruiter how perfect her daughter would be as a summer intern. She hired Agneeta after seeing that the daughter was just as bright as her mother said she was.

Advertise on Facebook. Ian Greenleigh targeted marketing managers and executives in Austin, Texas, with Facebook ads that linked to his Hire Me page. The result: multiple offers.

Get promoted by a generous blogger. Sarah Evans posted an open call on social networks, looking for job hunters to profile on her popular blog. She got more than 50 applicants and chose three. One, Mark Edwards, landed a job with TeshMedia.

Give them free advice.Sandip Singh, CEO of GoGetFunding, says he hired a programmer after the man had “spotted an error on our site and told us what code we needed to change in order to fix it.

Make a cold call.With dreams of working at a digital agency, Juda Borrayo bought a one-way ticket to from Florida New York. There, in an elevator, he met an executive creative director who tweeted about him: “Met someone in the elevator who flew here from FL, in the hopes of getting a meeting @carrotcreative Wow. That’s a cold call.” Borrayo says he did get some encouraging words and tips from the Carrot Creative CEO. Result? A few more interviews, but no offer.

Demonstrate your prowess with their product. Jeanne Hwang is a Harvard Business School graduate who wants to work at Pinterest. So she created a Pinterest CV. “Hey Pinterest!” she says, “This ain’t your mama’s resume!” So far, no response from Pinterest, but she did get a job offer as VP of Marketing from Francisco Guerrero, founder of Pinterest analytics site, Pintics.

Self-promote on your blog. I wrote a post entitled, “The Top 7 Reasons Twitter Should Hire B.L. Ochman” It has yet to get me an interview, but a Google executive did reach out and encourage me to apply for a job there.

Write a search code.Bill Irvine, CEO of Stremor Corp., in Scottsdale, Ariz., says his chief technology officer found the company after writing code that could search every job board for companies doing “natural language analysis.” It also measured the writing level of the job description — anything under 12th grade didn’t qualify. When his cover letter arrived, Irvine said, “I flew him to Phoenix within five days . . . hired him that night.

Send a clever design. Eric Gandhi created a resumethat looked like a Google search-results page, which he says helped him get a job as a designer at the Weather Channel.

Make them laugh. Mike Freeman got his job at Shopify after creating a website with an About Mepage that begins, “I’m Mike Freeman and I want to work at Shopify” and a home page that reads, “So I’ve noticed that Mike Freeman doesn’t work for you guys yet. Let’s fix that.”Companies still want a solid resume, but off-the-wall tactics can distinguish an applicant and help land an interview or referral. Brittany Cooper, director of talent management at New Media Strategies in Washington, D.C., says job candidates have tried everything to get her attention, from targeted Facebook ads to sending her a Starbucks gift card “so that we could grab coffee, to someone showing up at my gym so we could get face time (that one was a little creepy). At the end of the day, the outreach should be creative in a smart way that will resonate with our business, not just crazy for crazy’s sake, though that will certainly get you noticed.”


B.L. Ochman, president of, is an internet marketing strategist and blogger who can be found Twittering, at or with her newest venture,

Reposted from AdAge Digital 7/25/2012

How to Prepare for the Second Interview

In order to prepare for the second interview, job seekers should consider the strategy behind the questions instead of getting caught up in sample questions themselves.

By Irene Marshal

Many people preparing for an interview will ask, “Can you give me a list of questions I can expect?” That’s tricky question: You can’t really anticipate what you will be asked because every interviewer has a different approach.

The solution is to focus on the goal of the interview — especially when it comes to knowing the basic difference between screening and hiring interviews.

There are no real, good lists of questions.

One time I spent three hours of coaching with someone who really wanted a specific job in London. We thought she was as prepared as possible. When she called afterwards, she said they asked her “Why are manhole covers round?” We both laughed! There is no way I would have thought to tell her to Google that question and find the Web site that gives some answers. The question was a way to determine how well she could think on her feet. (She got the job.)

There are real, distinct approaches.

Instead of trying to predict the unpredictable, a better approach is to understand why specific questions are asked in specific interviews. That way, you can prepare for the situation instead of rehearsing for questions you probably won’t be asked anyway.

There are two types of interview criteria. There is a big difference between an interview intended to determine if you can do the job and one designed to identify whether you are the best person to do the job.

  1. Screening interviews are an assessment of your ability.
  2. Hiring interviews are an assessment of your fit.

The screening interview

Objective facts include things like education, certifications, years of industry experience and technical skills. These are written into job postings and represent one way to assess your background. Don’t screen yourself out unnecessarily. If the posting says “MBA required,” a computer probably will screen you out, but a person might not. It is a real reason why it is important to bypass screening criteria through personal contacts and move to the next step.

You will be screened by both a computer and a human.

Information may be gathered by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), software used to manage a high volume of incoming resumes. Keywords are extremely important for your resume and will definitely be included by your resume writer. The software can only consider yes/no questions. You either do or don’t meet these criteria by computer screening. For example:

  • Do you have an MBA?
  • Do you have 10+ years experience?
  • Do you have experience with Peoplesoft or Oracle?

An internal recruiter will take it a step further. Questions might include:

  • You have managed up to 20 people. Tell me about who they were, where they were based and what you had to do. This is a question to determine the scope of your responsibility. Onsite? In a territory? Within a global, matrix team?
  • You say you are bilingual in Spanish. Tell me the most complicated project you worked on that required both bilingual and bicultural skills. This is to understand if you can do business in both English and Spanish. Just saying you are bilingual does not give a full picture, even if a computer can find the keyword.
  • You have had four jobs in 10 years. Why? The computer will look at the dates, but only a person can understand your reasons.

The hiring interview

As you move to second or third interviews, hiring criteria will inspire most questions. After all, when a pool of candidates has been reduced to a small number, the decision becomes, “Who is the best person to hire?”

Thus, the questions will now focus increasingly on the human element. What will you add to the executive team? Will you have credibility with clients? Will you understand and support the corporate culture? Questions might include:

  • You were responsible for an ERP conversion. Tell me about it. This is screening for technical and management proficiency as an executive and business leader. You will be assessed both on what you say and how you say it.
  • What were your responsibilities for a smooth transition as your company acquired your biggest competitor? If you just describe your responsibilities, the answer will not have as much impact. You want to convey the real results of your work and how it enhanced your company’s bottom line.
  • You say you were instrumental in the turnaround of your business unit. How did you assess what needed to be done? What type of strategic plan did you put together? What did and didn’t work? This will assess your ability to address significant problems. It may also assess your discretion in talking about your previous employer.

The differences between these two types of interviews mean you need a distinct approach to each. You don’t want to prove your fit in the screening interview and tout your capability in the hiring interview. (You now know to do the opposite.) After all, if you make it past the first interview, relax a bit! They have already determined that you can do the job.

You don’t have to “sell yourself” on your ability to meet the job requirements. This is particularly true if you go to meet an interview panel or sequential interviews throughout a day. They will not take on the real expense of involving multiple people just to determine your basic qualifications.

Your goal for each interview is just to move yourself along the hiring process until the company or you decide it is not a good fit. The process will move from the more objective information to a more subjective inquiry. So, when you are preparing, you must remember the purpose of that particular interview.

Then you can be prepared for a wide range of questions, because you understand the dynamics of what the interviewer is looking for. Take each line on your resume. What is an objective answer? What is more subjective?

An interview is a two-way conversation. Pay attention to where you are in the interview process. You must prepare to answer if you are the best person to do the job, not just whether you can do it.

Irene Marshall, MBA, PhD, is president of Tools for Transition. She has helped people get jobs for nine years, starting as a recruiter with Robert Half. She is a frequent public speaker in the San Francisco area on job search and career issues. She has more than 40 years of broad business experience. Her industry credentials include certifications as a professional resume writer, interview coach and career coach.

Why Do Companies Hire Recruiters?

Written by Laura Laser, President and Executive Recruiter, Laser Talent Group

Sometimes finding talent for your company becomes the lowest priority even though it is the highest priority. There are not enough hours in the day.

Of course, you could post an advertisement somewhere like LinkedIn or Craigslist but the results would be dismal.  You will be flooded with candidates who have (maybe) 1/10 of the qualifications you are looking for. I have tried posting these ads myself. It does not work. Your company would waste an inordinate amount of time screening candidates who are not the right fit. Especially if what you are looking for is very specific and quite exceptional in the talent pool today.

The candidates that my clients seek are not actively looking for a job. They are the top tier talented professionals who are busy producing award-winning work. They don’t have time to read through job postings and more likely than not, they are not actively looking for a job. And if the person you want IS looking for a job, he or she wants to be represented in confidence because this is a tight job market.  That being said, this person may be open to other opportunities. And who best knows this? Someone like myself who is a highly specialized recruiter in a very specific industry.

It is my job to not only present an opportunity, but also to entice potential talent by advocating on behalf of my client. I am a third party/outsider who knows what is going on in the industry and why a position might help a potential candidate advance in his or her career. I build relationships and make recommendations to both candidates and clients. And they trust me. I will not recommend a role that is a wrong fit for either party. My reputation is on the line and I take this responsibility very seriously.  I listen and help you find a match that makes the most sense. In the end, everyone has to be happy.

If you needed heart surgery, would you do it yourself? I’m not a heart surgeon but I am a professional and I have a proven process to find the exact talent that a company is looking for.

Here is a simplified overview of this process:

1)     DISCOVERY – the needs analysis phase in which we define and redefine the job description. This includes interviewing hiring authorities and anyone else we can talk to at the company. This often nets an understanding of the role that is much deeper than what you see in the written job description. Cultural nuances are as important as the roles and responsibilities of the position.

2)     PROSPECTING – the “hunting” phase. Includes extensive research and networking to come up with a “short list” of candidates to interview and assess. Candidates are interviewed and a summary of qualifications for each candidate is written.

3)     PRESENTATION – only the best candidates are presented to my clients. Sometimes, ONE candidate is presented if she or he is the exact fit, but typically a client sees 1-5 candidates for a given role. If the job is not fully defined, we redefine the opportunity based on what the market tells us.

4)     INTERVIEWING – we help to coordinate and arrange interviews between the candidate and the company. This includes checking schedules and confirming logistics.

5)     OFFER – once a candidate is selected, we act as “middle man” during any salary negotiations and assist in checking references. As a third party intermediary, we are able to eliminate any awkwardness on both sides.

Imagine that at the end of this process, every single candidate you have met has been effectively sold on why to come to work for your company. You will then be in a position to pick from all the candidates who interviewed and select the one you perceive to be the best qualified fit for the job, instead of the candidate you felt was most likely to accept the job.  Which position would you like to be in when it’s time to extend an offer?

Yes, hiring a recruiter costs money. However, the right talent helps you win business and make your clients happy. This is the most important investment you can make as an employer.
what i look like on a bad day