What’s 10 weeks, 13 interviews, 0 applications, and 1 new job? Priceless!
by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran
Meet Ben Paul, a real person with whom I spoke this past month. At that time he had not yet landed his new job. However, I knew he would get a job offer based on his story of how he was conducting his job search. He’s every career coach’s dream. He did everything correctly in his job search. No, Ben Paul isn’t one of these people with a super rare background that every Fortune 500 is racing to hire. In fact, he had been pursuing his Doctorate in psychology, while at the same time working at systems programming and design. What he did was acknowledge his deep passion for technical work, which caused him to hit the stop button on his Doctorate program and launch a job search.
Enough about his background, let’s get down to the facts, figures and process. You want to print this out like a recipe so you can do what he did.
Ben made a list of companies he wanted to work for. He knew some of the values and company culture that were important to him, so this step was vital. He started with about 300 companies that he gleaned from such sources as the list of “The Top 100 Places to Work”. From there he narrowed this list down to 50, of which 25 had posted positions he knew he would want.
Ben went to each target company’s Linked In page to see who was connected to those companies that he already knew. If he was connected to more than 1 person in the company, he tended to pursue the people more closely aligned to the department or position, if possible.
Ben sent a short email to each mutual connection to ask for an introduction. Here is the actual email he sent to a friend at Google, earning him a highly-coveted, all-expense-paid, in-person interview:
I hope all is well.
I saw that you’re connected to Mxxx Rxxxxx on LinkedIn (http://linkedin.com/in/xxxxx).
I’m wondering if you could provide a 2-sentence email introduction to him? I’d love to have a 15-minute phone call with Mxxx to learn about a day in the life of a Google People Analyst.
Quantitative analysis of employee behavior holds a special place for me, having earned a Master’s in quantitative psychology and after running a start-up focused on boosting employee engagement.
It looks like Google People Analysts explore these same topics; so I’d love to get Mxxx’s feedback on whether I could be a good match for the open Analyst positions.
Of the 12 companies in which he didn’t have previous contacts, he figured out ways of making personal contacts. He cooked up 3-4 questions not covered on the job descriptions, like “What’s the culture of the department like?” He found these contact people from Linked In, company websites, blog posts or tweeting. From there he pursued a combination of cold calls inside the company or tweeted the recruiter, if they had one, and in some cases the person doing the job he was interested in. While he didn’t get as much response, he did get some response, which was the goal. He noted that he realized this required aggressiveness, but it worked.
The important lesson from Ben Paul’s experience is that it’s people who hire people. When you can connect with people in your job search and not just send your resume as thousands of people do, you will make yourself stand out. You will jump ahead of that pack and be the one most likely to earn an interview and then the job.
Keep these numbers in mind: 300 companies ->50 targeted companies -> emails, tweets and phone calls to 26 people – >13 interviews ->1 job offer ->1 great job ->10 weeks. If Ben did it, you can too.
My further comments to Ben’s process. My reason for including the statistics is because they are important. I have noticed that the best job search processes almost always produce the same or similar numbers. It’s important to state that the job search process is a sales and marketing process and what Ben did was some good sales techniques. If you are going to make a sale, you have to connect with the decision maker, which can be done a number of different ways. What Ben did is something that you can do as well but sadly most job seekers don’t or won’t. I also want to note that what Ben did is very similar to what most executives do when they are looking for a job – you simply don’t find a VP job posted on a job board so connecting to people is the only way they do their job search.