Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been following the work of Jamie Varon, who started a site called TwitterShouldHireMe. As she’s a relatively new grad, I think that this is an excellent case study on how to stand out from the crowd.
The stated goal seems pretty clear. Jamie wants to work at Twitter and appears willing to take a highly unconventional approach to get there:
The sole purpose of this site is simple: I want to get hired at Twitter and the only way to stand out in this competitive job market is to do something unique.
Well, it appears that she has succeeded in the unique department. However, my belief is that there is an alternate and unstated goal of this entire marketing campaign: exposure. Being one of the first people to try this, it has guaranteed that she will achieve a certain amount of exposure. If used carefully, it could work to her advantage.
Jamie is certainly able to generate buzz in a hurry. He site exploded virtually overnight and she gained a ton of media attention.
But on top of that, her site had some real depth. Her Ten Reasons Why Twitter Should Hire Me post not only contained decent reasons why she would be a good fit at Twitter, but it was also written in the 140 Character standard that Twitter has based it’s model on. A really great idea on her part.
Overall, I believe that the best part of this entire exercise was that it harnessed the social power of Twitter itself to get the message out:
Over the course of 2 days, I designed, developed & implemented this campaign that has amassed approx. 10,000 unique hits & over 150 RTs.
You can’t argue with that kind of exposure.
The biggest problem I have with this so far is the lack of professional tone. While this type campaign is different in every aspect, I have a hard time believing that the types of inner monologues that she is expressing on the blog are helping her cause.
While Twitter is young, progressive company with a fresh, cool image, it is still a business. It also happens to be one of the most high profile new tech companies in the world with millions of dollars of venture capital funding (including $35 million recently). This is big business and there will be some hard questions coming in the near future if Twitter can’t figure out a solid revenue model. Does Jamie’s laid back message fit with the public image of Twitter? Probably. Does it fit with the business back end? I’m betting not.
My second problem is that she seems to have little sense of what she can offer them relative to an open position. While she wrote a Thank You/Follow Up letter to the Hiring Manager after their first meeting, it appears to be shooting at random targets. It talks about her skills in a generic sense and seems to be feeling out open positions instead of tailoring her message directly to the company needs:
Recently, I noticed that the Founders Associate position is not yet filled. I wanted to put my name in the hat for this position, because there is no doubt in my mind that I can perform the tasks listed in the description and go beyond what is asked.
If I were a hiring manager and someone wrote me a letter like this to throw their “name in the hat” I would likely throw their letter in the floor level filer.
To top that off, she sent out this gem on her blog:
Today, well, er, maybe yesterday, Twitter posted a new job called Executive Admin to the CEO. This is the job I want. Either that or the Founder Associate position.
These positions are right up my alley.
You need to focus in on a position that you can bring value to and then sell your skills to the recruiter. Being wishy-washy in this manner will not help her cause.
I’m currently shackin’ up with my parents right now, since I am unemployed.
Her efforts have been partially successful. The site landed her a lunch meeting with the Head of Recruiting where she was given a tour of the office and what sounds like an informational interview. She also got to meet the executives, which sounds pretty cool. Here’s how the meeting ended, according to Jamie:
I asked her if she’d like me to follow up about any job possibilities and she told me that they wanted someone with more experience for the PR Coordinator position and that I should keep an eye on the job site. I told her I would keep in touch about job opportunities.
But did she get a job? I don’t think so, but it sounds as if the door was left open for future possibilities.
However, this entire publicity excercise did land her a job with another company called techVenture (albeit part time). So in a round-about way, this experiment can be deemed a success.
Using unique methods to stand out from the crowd has its risks. This obviously paid off for Jamie as she gained wide exposure and now has a degree of name recognition and a new job. However, it could have gone very differently. This is not a technique which could be used at more conservative organizations.
Whatever you do to stand out from the crowd, make sure you weigh the risks against the reward, especially when you are doing so in public.