Note: Chris Halligan is the Chief Operating Officer as well as an investor at Payzer. Previously, he led Dell’s initial B2B online business unit, which transacted over $2B in online revenue in 1999. He also ran North America operations for webMethods which IPOed in 200 and was the CEO of PokerTek.
Part of my job is hiring.
You know how you feel about finding the right new job? That’s how I feel about finding the right people.
I want your new job at our company to be a big win for you and a big win for us. I want you to think of your time as my teammate as one in which you developed, learned, grew and won.
So, after a month of looking at ~300 job applications, I felt compelled to share a few thoughts with the job seekers of the 704 from the other side of the “Apply” button.
Great applicants rarely put in generic applications
Most job applicants are surfing job boards and hitting “Apply” over and over. How do I know? Generic cover letters, generic blurbs, “Dear Hiring Manager” and the like.
If you start your relationship with our company by sending something generic, it informs our first impression of you as a candidate. If you have a sincere interest in our team, spend a couple minutes to make your application specific to this job.
Some candidates make videos talking to us about themselves and the opportunity. Others have cool, interactive resumes. Many just write something that’s from the heart and gives us a sense for who they are as people.
If you want to work somewhere, stretch a little and make your application stand out. It’ll pay off.
Responsiveness is a strong signal
When we reach out to a potential teammate, we’re looking for someone who has passion and energy about the opportunity. People who are serious about something respond promptly and professionally.
If you take three days to respond to an email, I’m going to assume that’s how you’ll work if you’re on our team.
Have someone review your resume
Just get another set of eyes on it. If there are careless errors on your resume, it implies sloppiness overall. Also, sometimes saying less can communicate a lot more.
Be aware of your online history
I’m using a candidate management system. So is almost everyone else. Most of those systems automatically scrape the web and find your social media accounts.
Please understand that I don’t care much about your social media history, but our system might find the handle you thought was hilarious in 11th grade. Heads up (and shout out to weedmaster420, hope things worked out).
Two way fit might be the most important thing
Your jobs end up playing a big part in your life and your identity. You’re going to be around your teammates a lot so look for people and an environment that work for you.
The company is going to interview you for sure. Make sure you take the time and spend the effort to interview the company as well.
The best gigs aren’t always the highest salary. Some companies will work hard to help you develop while you help the business along. Some jobs are a great fit for your skills and your lifestyle, others aren’t.
Consider yourself and the job before you apply.
Recruiting and hiring makes me more optimistic about the world. There are tons of excellent, ambitious people out there and I really enjoy meeting them, hearing their stories and seeing if they could fit in our excellent, ambitious company.
But even if we’re not for you (or you’re not for us), I hope these observations will help you navigate your future with a little more confidence and success.