3. Learn from the big boys and get the candidates to treat your job interview as a pitch!

The “pitch” – Large integrated advertising agencies (those that do everything under one roof) as well as small specialist types that focus on one or a combination of; strategy, creative, sales promotions, or media, compete for the client – usually a company that has a decent marketing budget – for arguments sake $3m+.

The competition is a call from the client to what is essentially a beauty pageant, where the contesting agencies spend hours and thousands of dollars preparing and rehearsing what they are going to say on pitch day.

You can do the same without taxing yourself or the candidates much more than what is already a stressful process of job hunting. In fact the outcome is much fairer for the applicant and more indicative of who can actually do the job!

As much as I cringe at the Donald Trump’s “Apprentice”, in every country, one thing is certain, the job interview process is extensive and based on doing and achieving, not answering template questions from the “Good Interview Guide” circa 1967.

Personally, I don’t give a flying fox about your biggest challenge; I care about how you will overcome my business challenges! And for those reading this and thinking of asking questions most consultants wish they could get a dollar for every time they hear them “have you worked on insert business of choice here, before, please refer to “Point 5: Outsourcing” of this series and remember 2 things:

  • A marketer who has worked on your “type” of business will at best bring about some efficiency
  • A marketer who has not worked on your type of business is more likely to examine the problem with a more “curious mind” and with some luck will break the cycle of “we’ve always done it that way” – some call it innovation.

Finally, yes this is a shameless promotion for those of us rare creatures with a decade or more of experience across many product and service categories, you are very lucky to have our services!

So how do you put it out to pitch? Simple, firstly by writing a realistic and task based job description, selecting a short list and informing them that the interview will be testing their skills in the “selected areas” and then actually testing some of those skills (that will be required) in the 60 minutes that most interviews go for!

If you want to make it really interesting get all of the shortlisted candidates into one room to sit a 40 minute test (no not the Meyer Briggs or any other personality or aptitude psycho babble test that supposedly tests creativity and lateral thinking!) and then give them each 15 minutes to prove that they can do the job. After all, pressure and deadlines are very real!

How do you formulate such a test? Some specialist recruiters may be able to help, but we certainly haven’t seen much “work” done in this area. If anyone reading this knows of such testing please inform the rest of us. In the meantime, you can just call us and for a small fee we’ll develop a test for your specific company needs. Alternatively, and only at your request, we can provide you with our “15 minute, stress lowering, gentle and non-manipulative spiel, on why you should to hire us – and that “persuasion without invasion” is delivered free of charge or obligation and is guaranteed to provide you with at least one cost saving or revenue generating idea for your business; we call it the Reality Check.

PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) partner Greg Will says the growth of consulting in a tight market made sense.
“For IT, HR, strategy operations and marketing, it’s not a full-time role that they need, so when you haven’t got a full- time role or even a significant part-time role – it might only be a day a month – it’s just not worth the administration to try to employ someone and in any case, no one would really take a job for a day a month so they need someone on an ad hoc basis and someone who can charge an hourly rate.”
“Particularly in a downturn, they can manage not only the expectation of how often or how long they’ll use them but also they don’t have this permanent employee on their books that they have to deal with if things didn’t turn out right.”

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Linked In: The Rules Of Engagement for Successfully Building Your Professional Network.

Success on Linked In and in fact in all Social Media channels relies on the principle of leveraging and building your reputation with your existing professional (and personal) connections as well as building new connections that will also hold you in high regard. Yet many Linked In users fail to do this effectively and damage their reputations because they forget the simple rules of engagement when it comes to interacting with their existing and prospective audience online.

This blog entry was prompted by two Linked In invitations in as many weeks, from individuals that indicated they were friends and gave no specific reason as to why they wanted to connect with me and used standard “templated” invites. In fact, having searched my electronic databases as well as my “super computer” called the human brain, I could not remember how or where I MAY have met these two people. These two invites were great examples of what not to do on Linked In. This doesn’t mean that these individuals can’t add value to my network or I to theirs. It does mean that I will wait to accept their invitation until such time that they can illustrate the value in connecting with them. I am confident and hopeful they can do so after reading this.

Below are 5 great articles by Linked In “power users” that discuss the strategies of building your professional network on Linked In as well as the specific do’s and don’ts of Linked In Invitations.

I define Power Users as those that use Linked In to develop and grow their network (and consequently personal brand & business) in a strategic manner – they have objectives, systems and processes. They are thought leaders who have a deep understanding of the medium and the technology and use it to their fullest advantage. This is personal branding.

Here is my long held view and summary of the below articles:

1.     DO NOT write anything that you wouldn’t otherwise say in person, on the telephone or in an email. You wouldn’t call up anyone, regardless of your relationship to him or her and utter the standard Linked In template words “join my network” as your opening remark! Then why do so many people do so in the medium of Linked In?

2.     Remember that everyone listens to radio W.I.I.F.M – What’s In It For Me? Have a compelling reason for connecting / sending an invitation (in marketing terms – your offer and call to action) or use one or multiple principles of persuasion. As you read the below you will see that appealing to one’s ego in the form of flattery works as well!

Prevalent attitude to accepting and refusing Linked In invitations as well as some great tips on social media networking etiquette:

The official Linked In view and procedure on “how and who to connect to” can be found here:

Perception is Reality. Make sure perceptions of who you are positive and profitable!

Gene Stark