the Job Hunt|
by Fern Reiss, CEO, PublishingGame.com
I had fifty applicants and only one job to offer.
Who would win it—and why?
This month I hired a part-time assistant. To find
the perfect candidate, I posted the following note
on a local entrepreneurial list I frequent:
“Does anyone have a suggestion for an administrative
/ secretarial / virtual assistant? I'm looking
for someone who:
- Will work from his/her own home
- Is interested in working for the next few years
(i.e., not students or other 'temporary'
trained someone I'd like to keep them for
- Is meticulous about details and double-checking
The businesses are http://www.Expertizing.com and
http://www.PublishingGame.com, and we do
everything from books and workshops (on publishing,
book promotion, and getting media attention)
to consulting, audio kits and gift baskets
products and projects appearing on a near-daily
Because of the current job climate, the flexible hours,
and the high salary, I was overwhelmed with applicants.
Here’s how I decided whom to hire:
- Several of the candidates didn't write to me directly.
(I received resumes and recommendations from colleagues,
former employers, and husbands.) The people who wrote
to me directly and also were recommended by others
got extra points; those who never wrote to me themselves
I eliminated. (The job requires enough proactivity
that I felt anyone who wasn't enthusiastic enough
to pop me a brief email probably wouldn't do well
- Several candidates sent me a two-line email expressing
interest in the job, but without conveying any sense
of who they were. (They suggested I call or email
them for more information.) Had I received fewer
this might have been ok, but in an applicant pool
of over 50, this just meant I eliminated them because
they hadn't supplied enough info and I had enough
people from whom to choose.
- Several candidates sent me their multi-paged life
stories. While these were fascinating to read (and
I did follow up with at least two of these, because
they were so interesting) it's probably not a good
strategy in job hunting. Also, mentioning your paranoid
schizophrenia, your bipolar disorder, your chronic
anxiety, your extensive time from work for disabilities,
and your chronic disorganization might not be such
a good idea in a first inquiry.
- Many candidates who wrote to me made spelling and
grammatical mistakes in their correspondence. Since
this was billed as a writing job with meticulous
attention to detail as a chief requirement, I eliminated
- There were three candidates who might have gotten
as far as an interview but their cover letters contained
something along the lines of: “I'm the best possible
candidate for this job and you'd have to be a jerk
not to hire me.” You may be the best possible
candidate for a job—but the employer needs to
figure that out on his own.
- There were several people who sounded ok, but they
clearly had not bothered to look at my websites and
figure out what it is that I do.
- There were a few who clearly stated that they were
taking a break and needed something to do in the
interim. (I was looking for someone who would be
a while—and I said so in the job description.)
- There were a few people (and this I feel very badly
about) who were seriously, incredibly overqualified.
This was a scut-work, assistant position, and some
of the applicants were MBAs, CEOs of large companies
or non-profits, etc. I hated to turn people away
because they were too qualified, but ultimately,
used to running his own 200-person company is not
going to be happy doing fact-checking for me.
That still left many more strong candidates than I
needed. But it was an easy way to cut down the numbers
I needed to interview—and something to think
about the next time you apply for your next position.
Fern Reiss is CEO of PublishingGame.com (www.PublishingGame.com) and Expertizing.com (www.Expertizing.com) and the author of the books, The Publishing Game: Find an Agent in 30 Days, The Publishing Game: Bestseller in 30 Days, and The Publishing Game: Publish a Book in 30 Days as well as several other award-winning books. She is also the Director of the International Association of Writers (www.AssociationofWriters.com) providing publicity vehicles to writers worldwide. She also runs The Expertizing® Publicity Forum where you can pitch your book or business directly to journalists; more information at www.Expertizing.com/forum.htm. Sign up for her complimentary newsletter at www.PublishingGame.com/signup.htm.
Copyright © 2011 Fern Reiss