The economy sucks and there are about 400 candidates in play for every open position. Let's face it, you need to pull out all the stops, because AT BEST the company doing the hiring is only going to phone screen somewhere between 5 and 15 candidates for the open position. That means you have to find a way to cut through the clutter.
Like Public Enemy once said, you need to use ANY MEANS NECESSARY to cut through the clutter. That includes Googling the person you think can help you (recruiter, HR pro, hiring manager), finding online bio information and comparing and contrasting your background and skills to something that matters to the person in charge.
Want an example? Here's how a guy leveraged my sizable digital footprint against me this week, evoking the ghost of Sam Bowie vs. Michael Jordan:
September 15, 2009Dear Mr. Dunn:
Go back 25 years. It's 1984. You have the second overall pick in the NBA draft. Who do you take? Sam Bowie (other candidates) or Michael Jordan (me)? I don't say this to appear arrogant or cocky, but you won't find someone more dedicated to becoming the best trainer for DAXKO anywhere.I have the sheepskin (bachelor's degree in Communications from Florida State), I have the experience (12 years in the media, one year in corporate communications and two years in customer service) and really enjoy speaking in front of groups. I also delight in seeing people's reactions when something I've taught them clicks. The lightbulb coming on puts a smile on my face.
I'm proficient with multiple operating systems (Windows and OSX) as well as other technologies (social media, video and audio editing software.) I'm not satisfied until I know a technology inside and out. I also delight in sharing my knowledge with those who desire to learn. And I know that SaaS is more than just an attitude.
All I want is a chance. A chance to prove that you're smarter than Stu Inman was in 1984.
That's it. I know you're in Ottawa right now, so I'll end this message here. Thank you for reading. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
For those of you who don't know, Sam Bowie was a college basketball star at Kentucky whom the Portland Trailblazers drafted in front of Michael Jordan in the 1984 draft. As it turns out, Bowie never reached the potential everyone thought he had (broken shins have a way of slowing your progress) and Michael Jordan, who was drafted after Bowie - well, he became the best player in the history of the galaxy. Stu Inman was the Blazers executive who made the call. The results have always been in the back of fans' minds in Portland, even the young ones like this HR blogger you might know.
So the candidate researches me, personalizes the message and guess what? Regardless of fit on paper, he's going to get face time for no other reason than he cared enough to be creative. That interests the hell out of me as a fit for my company, and if you're so cynical that you wouldn't interview someone who took the time to research you, then you're a Zombie.
By the way, did anyone see the acceptance speech by Jordan at the Basketball Hall of Fame this week? He was calling out everyone who ever thought he wasn't good enough to play. He actually brought the coach who cut him in 9th grade to the Hall of Fame ceremony, and then took the opportunity to tell him "you were wrong".
That's passion probably worth exploring in another post. For now, learn from the master candidate above.
Personalize the message and get through the clutter.