If you’re heading into the new year looking for a new job, this episode is for you. Our VP trio and guest, Christy Leake (Speak’s Director of HR), give some encouragement for your search and all the tips and tricks you could ask for. Join us for an off topic conversation about what not to do when applying for a job and the silly interview stories we’ve collected over time.
Jumpstart Your Job Search | A Little Off Topic By Speak Creative
David: Hello everyone and thank you for joining us. Once again, you are listening to A Little Off Topic, one agency’s water cooler chat on digital marketing, business, and all the things that get in the way presented by Speak Creative. This week, we are welcoming another special guest to talk about a topic that’s likely on the minds of a lot of folks in the current job market. Christy Leake, Speak’s Director of HR is with us on our panel today to share some tips for your next job search, from the perspective of someone who is heavily involved in the hiring process on a regular basis. My name is David Caffey. I’m Speak’s Digital Marketing Manager and the host of A Little Off Topic. Joining me this week and every week is Speaks’ VP leadership team. Kindra Svendsen is VP of Client Partnerships. In addition, we have our duo of Matts. First is Matt Roberts, VP of Marketing and Sales, and last but not least, we have Matt Ervin, VP of Creative Services. We start today’s conversation with some guidance from Christy and the VP panel on what they look for in a candidate. From there, we’ll dive into some pre-pandemic job search advice that we still think holds up today. Finally, we’ll share some funny and memorable experiences from interviews we’ve been a part of over the years. So it’s a great chat today. I think you guys will enjoy it, as always. We thank you for taking the time to listen to our show today, and I hope you enjoy today’s episode of A Little Off Topic.
David: We’re merely days away from the new year and maybe in the coming year, you’re going to be in the job market and if so, we have a great episode for you today. The VP panel is joined by our special guest today, Christy Leake, who is Speak’s HR Director. So Christy, thank you for joining us. Today’s discussion is all about hiring, and I guess maybe firing, but mostly hiring. So let’s get started. So guys, obviously the job market right now is not what it’s been like in the last few years. It’s an unprecedented time, as we’ve said many times. So let’s kick it off with a word of encouragement for some of our listeners who may be looking for a new job in 2021.
Ervin: I think probably one of the more encouraging things is as we’ve seen a shift in how people work and how employers are willing to let people work, you have much less of a geographic boundary than you’ve had in the past, which means that there are a lot more opportunities open to you. It also means that you’re going to have to do a lot more digging and looking. But there’s more out there.
Kindra: That’s a good thought. I hadn’t really put into words yet, but I think that you’re right. There’s a lot more that you can do. I assume that people listening to this podcast or somewhere in the digital space, and there’s just a lot more opportunity now because I think so many have gone to a digital place if they hadn’t originally been there and so there are a lot more opportunities rather than just the little box, I guess, that we get ourselves into when we’re doing the job search. I think that there’s just a lot more opportunity to be a leader if you’re in the digital space and use your expertise for companies that maybe don’t have that expertise right now.
Roberts: I think this is goes with what you guys have both been saying, which is that because there’s less of a geographic consideration to the job that you might be looking for, there’s also an opportunity for you to be looking for a job that feels more like a “best fit” for you where you are with your skillset right now. A lot of times on a job search, it can feel a little bit like you’re trying to wedge yourself into positions that are open for companies that you’re looking at locally. But obviously if your net is much broader geographically, then you can really find that “best fit” that feels like you can sit in the seat and start to see success and help your company see success and give yourself an opportunity to grow in that way. So I think there’s certainly a lot of negatives around the job market right now, but I certainly think that there are opportunities as well.
Kindra: Yeah and just to say it, we’ve been so fortunate that we’ve been able to pivot and keep our company afloat and not have any layoffs, but it’s certainly impacted us in different ways. My family has gone through it and so we’re thinking of everyone that’s going through it. It’s not easy, for sure. But I’m excited to see the recovery and for the new opportunities that do come up in a new year.
Christy: Shoot for your dream job, of course, but don’t be afraid to do something that’s a little different. Sometimes you just need to get back in and get a job. Bring your best to the company that you can work with and take it from there. Sometimes it’s not about the title. Sometimes it’s not about even the prestige or the glamour effect of a company, but getting in there and being able to contribute and to feel productive is something that we all need. That may be in the form of a freelance job or a temporary project. Filling in for companies that have positions that are in-between. There are a lot of those positions that are out there. Matt Ervin mentioned that there is a lot of geographic range for us now, that you can look out for jobs all over the country, really all over the world. Because of that, in the last several months, a lot of new job boards have sprung up and different ways of connecting have been out there. So digging in and finding some places and let people tell you no. Keep trying until you find the right place. I know it can get discouraging to hear no, but it’s about trying. But I also think don’t be afraid to start your own thing. Be your own boss, start your own whatever. There’s a lot of room for doing your thing, even in the digital marketing field. Go create your own thing. I think we have room for lots of new stuff out there too.
Roberts: If you do create your own thing, call me and I’ll sell you a website.
Christy: The only thing we don’t need more of though is life coaches. Don’t become a life coach. We have enough of those.
Kindra: One of the influencers that I love and follow very regularly is now a friendship coach. I didn’t know that was a thing.
Christy: That’s the perfect example, go out there and create your own thing. If it can make you money, of course, go out there and create your own thing.
David: So giving traditional job search advice right now is a little different, but pre pandemic, what’s some advice that you guys have been given about job searching and still sticks with you and is that advice still relevant in today’s job market?
Kindra: I think some of the job advice I was given is just so outdated at this point. When I graduated college, we had paper copies of our portfolio and the idea now that you wouldn’t send it digitally or having your own website is a little crazy. But I think that one thing that does ring true is how I got this job is just to not get so caught up in the traditional ways of finding a job. Like if it’s not on monster, it must not exist. That’s just not true. I found this job on Twitter. So I think that there are lots of ways to go about finding a job. It doesn’t just have to be through search engines online. It doesn’t just have to be through, gosh I think there were still newspaper job listings when I entered the job force professionally. But there’s lots of ways to find it. Typically, I think the best ways are through socials or searches directly on websites.
Ervin: Another good one is through somebody you know.
Roberts: Yeah. That’s right.
Ervin: I can tell you advice that I got right out of college when everything was paper. I don’t even know if you could look online for jobs at that point, but my dad said “you gotta be persistent and if you really want the job, you got to bug them until they either tell you to go away or they hire you” and I was like, “well okay” and it worked.
Kindra: And I’ve done both. I’ve told people, “Hey, that’s really enough” and I’ve also only looked at the resume because they followed up.
Roberts: I would certainly advocate for that advice of being persistent in a classy way, because it’s going to get you an answer. If they say, no, it’s not because you were persistent in your follow-up, it’s because they didn’t feel like you were the right fit. It’s better to get that response and move on than it is to have this “well, I’ve put all my lines in the water and I’m just waiting to hear back” type of attitude. Certainly letting the people around you know that you’re looking is useful. You just never know the connections that somebody might be able to make for you and that’s hard sometimes, especially for somebody like like me or Ervin, I don’t want to speak for you, but I will, who are more introverted and it’s not in our nature to just want to divulge details about our life with those around us. It feels like we’re putting something on them. But you have to get comfortable just saying, “Hey, I’m looking for a job” and be as willing to talk about it as you feel comfortable and it’s never inappropriate to ask somebody “Hey do you know anybody who’s hiring right now?” Just getting comfortable with those interpersonal conversations can sometimes get you a lot further down the road faster than just trying to do a web search and blasting out your resume to 20 different folks who are suddenly going on a stack with dozens of other folks.
Kindra: Yeah and if you don’t know people, boy, do I have the friendship trio!
Ervin: Nice callback, well done.
Kindra: I think that there’s also merit to professional organizations. So I’ve been a part of a professional organization for women in digital. Pretty specific to my industry and my work, but that has been just a really great way to find leads for people. We’ve hired people to do jobs that I have no experience in, just because they’re in digital, have found really great resources that way, but I find that those communities are really good about sharing opportunities. So then it’s not just asking, but you’re getting more opportunities presented to you. So professional organizations for job hunts are I think a really, really great resource.
Ervin: There are recruiters too and if you’ve got a good one then that can help.
Roberts: Well, going back to the professional organization thing, that’s a really great recommendation because it also gives you the opportunity to be in a setting of professionals who are in potentially a field that you either have expertise in or would like to be in, and beyond just having conversations about jobs that are available, you get to participate in discussions and let people get to know you a little bit and be able to show the skill set that you have in a deep pressurized setting. So that when somebody does have a job, they might say, “Oh, you know what, there’s this person in my group who I’ve talked to before, and I think she might be a good fit, or he might be a good fit for this” That’s a really good point. Sorry for losing my train of thought halfway through there. David apparently changed broadcast locations.
David: Yeah. Somebody started up a leaf blower right behind me. It’s like they’re following me around. I don’t know what’s going on.
Kindra: You’ve got a target on your back, David.
David: Yeah, I’m the leaf blower assassin.
Ervin: You’ve got a leaf on your back.
Roberts: That was impressive though.
Ervin: So this may be a little off topic…I’m sorry that was bad,
Roberts: By the way, if you say “A Little Off Topic” you’re required to do the clicking noise afterwards.
Ervin: Right. Maybe A Little Off Topic, but when you’re talking about good advice for getting a job, there’s a term that people seem to use pretty often. They say “try to find your passion” and I think that can be a very confusing thing because you don’t necessarily have to do what your passion is to enjoy your job. Nobody hires really terrible guitar players and that’s why I have this job because I couldn’t get a job doing that. But I think the best advice when you’re considering that is what is it that you want to do? What kind of an organization could help or could be a good option for somebody who has either an undefined or unmarketable passion, the things that they love to do. I think my advice there would be to go and seek out the type of organization where you can get in and make a difference. Where you can contribute. Where you can take on some ownership, even if it’s not actually fiscal ownership. If you watch Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, which is an old TV show, but you can learn a lot from it. There were people doing jobs that are absolutely either mind-blowingly disgusting or very dull or you name it, but they enjoyed their work and there’s a reason that they enjoyed their work, other than what they were doing. So that reason could be different for a lot of people. It could be that it had a schedule that I liked. It could be that I couldn’t do anything else, but I got in here and like the people I work with, so I became passionate about my job. But if you limit yourself to just things that you’re passionate about, you’re going to be stuck. It is a much better tactic to look for an organization or a business that is the kind of place you want to work where you can plug in and make a difference.
Kindra: Yeah. I would also challenge the idea and say, what happens when you’re burnt out? Because then it’s no longer your passion. You’re burnt out. You have nowhere to turn. So I think that it’s really good to keep your passions sacred in that. That is a topic change, but it’s certainly good to keep your passions sacred so that it is where you go when you’re sick of work.
Roberts: Yeah. I don’t know that I necessarily have a different point of view. But I do think it’s maybe worth saying in the long run, the way that I would look at it would be that you certainly don’t have to have a perfect match for what you’re passionate about to get in and do a job and do well and enjoy what you do. But I do think that enjoying what you do matters a lot. Being miserable at work sucks. You meet people who are miserable at work and they’re no fun to be around. They’re no fun to work with. They’re miserable, they’re collecting a paycheck. I don’t think we’re advocating for that, but I do want to maybe strike a balance that says you don’t have to wait for the perfect opportunity that matches your passions. But I do think it’s worth looking at the place where you might work and the people that are there and how they operate and ensuring that it’s a place where you feel like you can sit and enjoy what you do, to some degree, that you can take some satisfaction out of what you do. If it’s a place where you feel like, well, this is just kind of a bridge until I can find something that’s better. If you have the opportunity to make a decision that says, well, let me wait to find something that feels like a better fit. I would always advocate for that if you have that opportunity. Certainly I understand that sometimes you just have to take a job. But even if it’s that case, I would certainly look for opportunities to find enjoyment and satisfaction of what you do. Like what Matt was saying. You can get in and make a difference and sometimes that creates a passion of its own.
Ervin: Maybe to clarify just a little bit, I wasn’t saying go out and look for jobs that you would hate. That’s definitely not good advice. But I guess my point is there are people that work on automobile assembly lines that sit and turn the same 24 screws, two dozen screws, all day long that like their job. I guarantee you, it’s not the turning of the screws that they enjoy. It’s something else about it. So try to identify what that thing is that you would enjoy about a job, where the work doesn’t necessarily have to be what it is that you’re producing you may not care about as much. Being a part of the team or making a contribution or whatever it is that would make you enjoy most any kind of job is a good thing to look for.
Christy: There are three components at work in finding the right fit in a company or job and that’s you, you’re one of the components, one of the components is the job or the role itself, and then the other is the company that you’re going to work for and its culture and its values, and the work that it produces. When you can line those three things up, it doesn’t really matter the exact title of your job. It doesn’t really matter so much if you’re working on the assembly line or you’re pushing your brain, or you’re the Vice President of Sales and Marketing, what matters is the connection between those three things. So finding how those three things can mesh is the magic and sometimes you don’t know that until you’re in the job itself. But what you can do and some of the advice I would give people in searching for a job, either pre pandemic or even now, is knowing the company that you’re applying to work for. Knowing who they are, what they stand for, their place in the community, in the world, and what they’re doing. But also understanding yourself, of being honest about what your skills are, what your hopes and your dreams are, what you really need for right now, those things are very important and you have to apply for things that you think you’re going to get turned down for. So don’t second guess. Apply for a job, let them tell you no, and then understand also that fine line between being persistent and being a pest.
Ervin: Absolutely. I would say how we interview people, at least for the jobs I hire for, how you follow up is as important as anything else. Are you professional? Are you courteous? Are you doing it in a way that is completely tone deaf? That shows a lot about your professional demeanor.
Kindra: In that vein, I would say that please approach your job search with humility.
Roberts: I think it’s certainly different for everybody. I mean frankly if I’m hiring for a sales position, the first thing I’m looking for is somebody to follow up with me and for that to be a somewhat persistent process, because that’s what they’re going to have to do. So, if you can’t sell yourself, that to me is something that is a mark against you. Understand what it is that you’re applying for and how to do it in a classy way.
David: So let’s talk more about what Speak looks for in candidates specifically. I know we’ve already hinted at it, but all you guys are involved in the hiring process pretty directly in some form or fashion. So what makes candidates stand out to you when you’re going through resumes and that sort of thing?
Christy: I think some of the things that stand out to me is, and it’s hard to see this always in a cover letter or a resume, but it does come through, and that’s your character, your emotional intelligence, proving yourself to be creative and a problem solver, and humility. Kindra mentioned this before in being humble in your job search, but it comes across in how you write, how you present yourself, how you follow through, and how you come to the interview. Those things really stand out in a field when everybody may have the exact same skill set. Being someone who can bring those things to the table is going to be a good fit at Speak, because sometimes we need to change roles. Sometimes the client demand and the workload makes us take on things that are slightly different than maybe what we signed up for. Sometimes you want to grow with the company and that means you evolve and you grow too. So some of those more intrinsic values really stand out to me and people that I think are going to jump in, be a good part of the team, and stay for the long haul. I would say that there’s some roles where we are hiring for expertise. There are other roles where we are hiring for growth capabilities, but in both of those, what I look for is someone who’s willing to learn what they don’t know and be honest about what they don’t know. I think 9 times out of 10, if someone says, “Hey, I don’t know exactly how to do that, but here’s what I do know” and just shows a willingness to accept and learn goes really, really far for me. Because especially in digital marketing, what might not be relevant next year. So you have to be able to adapt and learn and grow and showing that you’re willing to do that and able to do that is the number one quality I look for.
Roberts: Yeah, one of the things that strikes me as illustrated by that example is the ability to kind of think critically, for somebody to be able to say, “Hey, no, I don’t know how to do that, but here’s how I would approach it” or “here’s how I would want to approach learning it” and have somebody deconstruct exactly how they might put together a plan. That’s the kind of conversation that’s really useful. So I mean, in an interview, I’m not necessarily looking for somebody to check every box of every skill set that I would love to have for a position. It’s more just be honest with me about what your skill set is. We’ve talked about it before in multiple podcasts. A big part of what we want to do here is adapt to the market. Just like Christy and Kindra have both said, there are new things that you’re going to have to take on next year that we didn’t plan for your role. So it’s way more important to get an understanding of who you are and what your skill set is and what your desire is to keep growing than it is to just make sure that we can check a bunch of boxes. I think yall have both said it, but the humility thing is a big deal for us. I mean, for folks on our teams, one of the things that I feel like we do a pretty good job of overall is weeding out candidates who maybe could get the job done, but wouldn’t be a good cultural fit for us. Some of that goes back to maybe they aren’t as humble as they could be or they don’t have a super teachable attitude or could be any number of things. But I think that one of the things that we tend to be pretty good about is taking our time hiring our positions, even when we feel like we’ve got a big area of need and I know that sometimes that can feel frustrating because we just want to fill the seats and get movement. But I feel like we’re pretty diligent to take our time and make sure that we feel really good about the people that we actually do bring into the process. One of the things that can get shown through a process that takes a little bit of time is character. Does somebody get impatient? Does somebody start to try to make demands through a process? Not that we’re trying to put somebody through a ringer, but it does give us more opportunities to evaluate who somebody is and that’s a really valuable thing. We say that our culture is really important to us and so it would be really disingenuine if we didn’t take that into consideration when we’re adding to the team.
Roberts: For sure.
Ervin: Yep. That’s what I was going to say too. If you look at the kinds of positions that are on my team, we have professional services, designers and developers, who have a skillset that they want us to hire them to use. Then we also have people who are a little bit more general on their skill sets, like a project manager. There are certainly professional services level project managers too, but when we’re looking for a developer or a project manager I would say the most important thing we’re looking for is do they fit? Are they going to be culturally a good fit? And then we’ll say, okay, this person feels like they would be a good fit. Let’s talk about their skillset and we were looking for a senior level person and this person is definitely a junior. But we liked him so much and we think they’re going to be such a good fit. We could change the job requirements to hire that person. To me, that does definitely put our money where our mouth is as far as talking about the culture of the company being important. But the main thing that we want to know is, are you going to jump in? Are you going to be a good team player? Are you going to mesh well with the rest of us? And then how good are you at your skill? Because if it’s a skill that you have the basic abilities to do, you can always get better. We actually love to invest in people and love to help you get better. I wouldn’t say culture is the number one requirement when I’m looking, but it’s pretty high up there.
David: So is there anything that we can agree on in the hiring process that would you put on the “never do this” list for a candidate?
Christy: Do not bring your mom to the interview.
Ervin: Did that happen?
David: What if she drove you? What if she’s your ride?
Christy: I don’t care.
Roberts: She’s just going to sit in the lobby and drink a coffee. It’s fine.
Christy: I do think that we had a mom come one time. I would have to ask somebody else on that one, but yeah. Just come on your own. Don’t come on your employer’s time either. I think Matt Roberts had that scenario not too long ago, that in the middle of an interview, the guy had to take a job call.
Kindra: I would say it’s 2020, we’re going to Google you and so be aware of what’s out there. I don’t mind at all when social media profiles are locked down, but I like to see that they exist, especially if your job is for social media strategist. Being of some kind of digital presence is important.
Ervin: I would say one of the big ones on the “don’t do this” list for me is when you’re filling out the resume. First of all, we ask a couple of questions that require a paragraph or more for an answer. Provide a good answer, be concise, write well. All those things are important and standard, but it’s the perspective from which you write that is an immediate turnoff for me when I’m looking at a job candidate. The perspective that is the most problematic is when you have somebody say, “I really think Speak is a place where I could grow and I could get better at what I do and you guys could really help me” so right there, right or wrong, I’m already saying you’re coming at this with the wrong attitude. This job is all about you. This job isn’t about being on our team and working with us. Your application goes no further. That is the first question I look at before I look at a name or anything else. I look at that and say, “if this person is saying, I want to work for you because I want you to make me better” we’re done. We get so many resumes that there’s gotta be an easy way to lop off a big number of them and that one lops off a lot, a high percentage.
Roberts: There’s a theme in a lot of what we’re saying and it’s not unique to us, but I do think it’s worth pointing out. The end of what you just said, which is for any job that’s that gets posted on the internet. You can just guarantee that somebody, whoever it is that’s in charge of looking at those resumes and applications, they’re getting enough of them that they’re gonna build in their mind at the very least, some type of rubric to quickly identify how can I get rid of half of these candidates? It doesn’t matter how great your experience is if you come at it the wrong way or if you can’t get through that process and it’s impossible to know exactly what somebody is thinking when they’re looking at a stack of applicants, so certainly just do your best to put your best foot forward. But think about the type of person that would fit into a team and evaluate. Am I that type of person? If I am, let me say that in a way that would hopefully be appealing to the person who’s on the other end of this evaluating these applications. So what that means is you have to slow down your application process. It means that you can’t just do “quick apply” for the 17 jobs that matched your criteria today. Take your time. Find a place where you really feel like you can be at home and then some of this other stuff works out, because you’re going to answer in a way that communicates well to the folks that are actually reviewing these applications and resumes and everything else. Write a cover letter. I know that’s not on the “don’t do” list, but certainly should be on the “do do list”.
Ervin: You mean don’t not write a cover letter?
Roberts: Yes. Don’t not write a cover letter. That’s exactly right.
Christy: Follow the instructions. Sometimes it’s in the job description. You want the candidate to do something very specific. One time we were hiring for designers a few years ago, and we put the phrase in there “reply in your answers using the phrase unicorn” and it was just in there and the point was to make sure that people were reading through the requirements of what we wanted, so it was an easy way for us to go back into those applications and see who caught it and who didn’t. It became a fun thing in the interviews as well. If somebody continued to bring it up. It was an interesting little test. I don’t know that it proved anything more than it shows that people are actually reading and taking their time to apply for the job. But it’s also in the process of how does the company say that they’re gonna follow up with you? What are the next steps in the process? And so for me, we have a very clear process to apply through our website and click on this link and you apply for that. So to apply otherwise gets into the, we talked about it, that difference between persistence and pest. For me, that moves people into the pest field, especially if it’s a Facebook direct message or a LinkedIn message or some kind of other reach out because my title is in HR. People feel like they can become friends with me and get a job. So sometimes it’s knowing that people are following the instructions is an important thing to see too.
David: Let’s end on a funny note today, as we usually do. These might involve some examples of the don’t do this list, but is there a memorable, funny moment in an interview or that you either interviewing or you were the interviewee that stands out and you’d like to share with the group today?
Christy: They came in and they were in a full suit. We don’t wear suits everyday to the office. They were in a full suit, had their briefcase and as they came, pulled the door open, came in, made a big presence and their shoes hit our concrete right there in the front lobby and they kind of slid, but they were able to kind of correct themselves and they landed, is the best word, landed in one of our little side chairs there, but they landed in such a way that the back went over the arm and arms flew, dropped his briefcase legs were over the other side of the arm of the chair. Nearly knocked over a vase that was sitting there. So I just watch it all happen and then I don’t think I said anything else other than “who are you?”
Kindra: Matt Roberts was that you?
Christy: Matt was hired before me, so it wasn’t Matt Roberts.
Roberts: It could have been me.
Christy: I don’t think he meant for his entrance to be quite that grand, but it was certainly memorable and really did set the stage for his character through the years.
Kindra: Speaking of suits, mine would be hiring our MC, David Caffey. That will be my favorite story forever.
David: I didn’t wear a suit. I didn’t have a jacket on, I had dress pants on a white button with a tie. It’s a very reasonable thing to wear to an interview.
Kindra: Right. That I thought was going to be via zoom. So I had not prepared for the interview that day. I think I was wearing holey jeans. The hair was a mess and I heard someone walk in our front door. So I went to go greet them, thinking it was a delivery man or something and there stood my 10 minutes from now interviewee, wearing a suit or not suit, as he just said, and trying to recover and make it feel natural and make him feel comfortable that I was the one that had made the mistake was something. But hey, the rest is history. Look at you now, David. Hosting this podcast.
Ervin: Actually I remember that day, that was pretty funny. For me, this wasn’t at Speak, but we were looking to hire for a very specific skill set, a very highly skilled person. We were looking to hire somebody who was an expert in a particular type of software. It’s one of those things where it was a rare individual. We’re gonna have a lot of trouble finding them and so we used a recruiter and we used a recruiter that we knew. We’d used him several times before and he had produced some decent candidates and so he’s like, “Hey, I think this guy is perfect for you” and I was like, alright great. So me, a technical resource, and one of my bosses, had this guy into the office to interview him and he came in and this was not something that I had much expertise in at the time. So I started asking general questions and things that I knew the answers to he was doing okay and it was pretty good. So then one of my bosses, and then the hard technical guy that we had in the room, started asking him stuff and as the interview went on, I felt like they were making fun of the guy and asking him like saying things kind of derisively and then they said something and I was like, “What you just said isn’t even real. What’s going on here?” Then the guy answered that question with some answer that sounded like it could have been something real and so I’m sitting there thinking, is that real? Do I still have a job? What’s going on? So after the dude left, I was like, “guys, what was that?” They’re like “man, that guy is so full of… they said another word… so full of mess that he didn’t have a clue what was going on in here. In fact, I don’t even know if he has any technical knowledge whatsoever” So he had conned the recruiter and me apparently, and sat through an interview, but it got to the point where the guys interviewing him were like, “man, you don’t, you don’t know absolutely anything about what we’re talking about hiring you for.” So that was a good one for me. I actually learned a lot from that because I thought maybe it is good to throw in a complete BS question and see what happens, see if they try to answer it. But then also I definitely learned if you’re hiring for something you don’t understand, be sure you have somebody who’s on your side who does understand what’s going on, because that could have been a tremendous disaster.
Roberts: My funny story is the other side of that coin. I had someone who put in an application and for a sales position, this was probably four or five years ago. She put in some experience that was from another agency in town doing some project management work and working with a pretty big client that was kind of impressive and it was just kind of a short blip on a resume. She was fairly young and had come out of college maybe just a couple of years before. So not a tremendously well tenured individual, but the experience that she had seemed impressive. So I said let’s at least have you in for a first conversation. I’m talking with her and it quickly becomes clear that the experience that she has at this other place has been misrepresented. She’s doing it part time, intern type work that she’s helping a team kind of execute this work, which is fine. It certainly didn’t immediately disqualify her, other than the resume maybe doesn’t quite line up with what you said, but speaking of passions. Then proceeded to tell me about her passion for dog training and how she has built up a dog training business and how that had really prepared her to be able to sell well, and y’all at the end of 45 minutes, I was ready to hire her. You know what? You can sell websites!
Christy: So she had trained you, is that what you’re saying?
Roberts: She had a clicker and she was throwing treats every time she did the clicker. Fortunately or maybe unfortunately, I don’t know, maybe it would’ve been a good hire, but fortunately ended up getting some more robust resumes and having some good conversations and we end up hiring somebody else. But I still remember just being like, I got to the end of that conversation and how did that happen? I was like real close to wanting to hire her.
Christy: I think this one goes on the “don’t” list as well and in this age when we’re having to work remotely, we’re doing a lot more video interviews as well. I would say, don’t take the video interview from your bed, where it’s clear that you’re sitting on your bed. I understand we have to work remotely sometimes from interesting places. That’s really not the best first impression.
Roberts: Agreed. Yes. At least put in a virtual background that covers up your bed.
Ervin: I will say that if there’s a job online that you see that may be a stretch for you, take a shot. Apply. Give it your all.
Roberts: Because you miss a hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.
David: There we go. That’s what we needed.
Ervin: The phrase that pays.
David: Well, Christy, thank you so much for joining us. I’m sure we could probably follow this up with a part two at some point because we had a lot of good info, but I know there’s more to be shared. but otherwise great ep. Thank you guys and happy new year.
Roberts: Happy new year.
David: Well, that’s it for today. Hope you guys enjoyed it. I want to thank Christy Leake once again for joining us today and sharing some wisdom from the HR world. I know we barely scratched the surface today, so hopefully we will hear more from her in the future. If you’re interested in the topics we covered in today’s show, we have a ton of content that touches on the various facets of content strategy, web design, digital marketing, and more on our blog. Head over to madebyspeak.com to check out the latest and greatest. If you yourself are searching for a job madebyspeak.com is also the place to find information on Speak’s latest career openings. So be sure to check that out as well. As always, if you have questions or feedback for today’s episode, we’d love to hear from you. What’s your funniest job interview story? Speak is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, whichever social media platform you prefer. We are there. If you enjoyed the show, I ask you to please subscribe and leave a review on your podcast platform of choice. So from myself, our panel today, and all of us Speak, thanks for getting a little off topic with us.
Want more A Little Off Topic? Listen to last week’s episode of an off topic conversation about our predictions for 2021.
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