How to make a great first impression with a job candidate

Step 1: Email a job description to a total stranger and ask her to send her resume if she’s interested in the position.

Step 2: After she sends her resume, ask her to read the job description (because she obviously didn’t read it in the first email you sent her) and go through the requirements list line by line and tell you which requirements she does and does not meet (one of which includes “A degree from a top-tier university or equivalent experience”).

Step 3: When she replies saying she meets all but one of the requirements, and it’s one that she’s been working on (learning HTML), reply back asking if she has time to speak about it now. She’ll reply back saying that she does, and she’ll give you her phone number.

Step 4: While she pulls out a copy of her resume and finds her phone headset, expecting a phone call, send her an email asking her to write a two paragraph bio about herself in third person, explaining why she is right for this job. Right now, please. (It’s 4:30 pm)

Step 5: Two minutes after sending her that request, give her a call and say that you’re on a conference call and can’t really talk, but going to send her a sample of a short bio (which you already sent her), and could she please write one for herself? Also, be sure to ask her what her previous salary was. Not a range though. You need the EXACT number. And start to ask if she had any bonuses, but halfway through the sentence, say to her, No, there probably wouldn’t be, would there? (Um, there were.)

Step 6: After she sends you a beautifully written bio summarizing her last two jobs as they relate to this specific role, send her a quick note letting her know that you’re passing it on to the hiring manager.

Step 7: Send it to the hiring manager, and get the following feedback. Send it back to the potential candidate, verbatim, and ask her to respond:

Kristin seems to have more experience on the editorial side of email marketing. Do you know what a ‘basic’ level of HTML experience really means? Also, do you know how much experience she has with email service providers? Since she’s hopped around a lot, I am not sure how much real experience she has. If you could elaborate on that, it would be helpful.

Step 8: When she sends you the following response, email her the next morning to let her know that the hiring manager wants to interview her.

I have experience with both the editorial and technical ends of email marketing campaigns. For all of the campaigns I’ve worked on, I’ve been responsible for EVERY aspect of the email, which often included editing HTML. I have “basic” HTML skills listed on my resume because while I cannot yet write code from scratch, I can look at an email that has a layout/functionality mistake, and then go into the HTML code and identify the problem and how to fix it. And then I fix it, test it, and make sure the email works.

I have worked with ExactTarget since 2008, as the primary user at two different companies. When I was at KickApps, the company was using ET but not very well. I proposed (and singlehandedly implemented) the project to integrate our ET and accounts so that we would have better intelligence about our leads and customers.

Re: “hopping’: All of my career moves have been for better positions with more responsibility. One move was from an entry-level admin job to a marketing writing job, the next move was because I had planned for a year and made the decision to move to New York City (a life goal of mine), and the most recent full-time job I left was due to my position being eliminated during a corporate acquisition. In between these jobs, I’ve accepted temporary contract work so that I would continue to gain experience in my field while I searched for the right long-term position. I would love to find a company that I could work with for a long time, but I do not regret my career history. Because I’ve worked at several different companies, I’ve been able to learn several different industries, and apply skills I’ve learned at previous jobs. Had I stayed at my first job out of school, I wouldn’t even know e-mail marketing. If I hadn’t left my second job, I wouldn’t have learned how to edit HTML templates.

Despite the current job market, there is still a stigma against gaps in employment, so I don’t understand why an employer would criticize a potential candidate for choosing to accept short-term positions in order to continue working and paying bills.


So, despite THAT first impression, I’m setting up an interview for later this week. Because it is still the type of job I want to do, and right now, I’m exploring all options. During the 2 hour email exchange, I scheduled two other interviews for Wednesday.

Stay tuned.

EDIT: Oh, there’s more.

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8 Responses to How to make a great first impression with a job candidate

  1. Karl Sakas says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience — from the recruiting experience, it doesn’t sound like the best environment, but good luck with the interview… and the other two interviews you scheduled during their interrogation.

  2. Kristin says:

    I’m just curious if the hiring manager knows the recruiter was forwarding the email to me like that (rather than tactfully calling me and talking to me about it so that the recruiter could address her concerns).

    He sent a fairly condescending email about how to prepare for the interview (which is tomorrow morning), so I’ll probably do a follow-up post. At this point, even if my interview at this company goes well, I’m not sure how I feel about that particular recruiter getting a commission off of me.

    My other two interviews today went really well, and it looks like I may have a few options very soon.

  3. Best of luck. It might just be that this recruiter is clueless, so I’m hoping you get an offer.

  4. Pingback: How to make a great first impression with a job candidate: part 2 | The Settlers Give it Passion

  5. Seashell says:

    Best of luck in finding the right fit for you!

  6. Pingback: How to Succeed in Getting 9 interviews in 4 days (without really trying) | The Settlers Give it Passion

  7. Pingback: How To Get A Job: ‘You MUST Be Enthusiastic!!!’ - MediaJobsDaily

  8. Pingback: Email marketer anxiety (or how I learned to stop worrying and just send the emails) | Email Snarketing

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