How To Get Hired - 100% Success Rate

Zero To €100k Revenue In 12 Months — Month 11


This month, I’m sharing one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in 3 years of running my company.

I’m going to give you a step-by-step plan on how to get inside the head of every interviewer and secure the job, every single time!

This article is part of a 13 article series on how I started my company and went from zero to €100k revenue in 12 months. For context, you can go back and read the rest of the articles here.

After 11 months, I was finally ready to expand the team. I had budgeted money to hire someone part-time initially but ramping up to full-time pending a 3-month trial period.

Think Like A Boss

Hiring is a massive cost for small companies. As a solo entrepreneur, I was trying to run my business while assessing CV’s, arranging interviews, conducting interviews, deciding on a candidate, hiring them and then finding the time to train them. In time/money terms, it will cost the business thousands of Euro/Dollars.

If you remember nothing else from this article, remember the following sentence.

Companies don’t hire people, people hire people.

So ridiculously simple, but when job hunting, we forget there is a person on the other end of the application who has to sift through 100’s or even 1000’s of applications.

The person hiring is desperately seeking someone to break from the norm and give us something different. To entertain, or enlighten us. By trying something different, you are putting yourself in the top 5% of applicants immediately.


My First Hire

I initially tried to hire someone from within my network. I posted on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook hoping to find someone directly connected to me or at least connected to someone who knew me. After trying and failing to find people within my network, I posted on Indeed. I looked at traditional jobs sites but their fees were insane. I was quoted €900 (+VAT) for a single job posting on an Irish website.

I was hesitant to post on Indeed, as I knew it would take days/hours to sift through the applications.

It may seem harsh, but 90% of people who applied wasted my time and theirs by simply not reading the job posting. I asked for the following:

“Please note: Any applications without a cover letter will not be considered.”

Yet, 70% failed to put a cover note. That immediately ruled out most applicants. Of the other 30%, it was clear that 20% were blasting out generic cover letters that they had used for other roles. I received, Dear Sir/MadamHi There, or just blank messages. See real example below.

If you can’t take the time to put the person’s name in the correspondence and include the company name in the note, then you aren’t getting the gig. Simple as that.

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That leaves you down to the final 10%. Not bad odds for people who made the effort.

It gets even easier. Of that 10%, only 5% were qualified for the role. From 100% of applicants, you are now in the final 5% if you bothered to write a quick cover note and have the skills I listed in my job posting.

Now to eliminate the other 4% and secure that job.

Of that 5%, one applicant had taken the time to read about my business, understand what we were doing and even give a short insight into the industry. Before we even got to the interview stage, they had put themselves ahead of other candidates, purely by showing enthusiasm and a spark of creativity.

The Interview

No one enjoys the interview process, especially the interviewer!

I tell this story, purely to show that the person sitting down to interview you will also find the whole process challenging. I had three people on my shortlist to interview, and the interviews were timed to take place over the course of a Thursday morning.

The first candidate couldn’t find the office. Not a great start for a job that involves having a great sense of direction and local knowledge. I eventually found them wandering a few streets away from my office.

The CV and cover letter were fantastic and they had worked for some big-name tech companies. At first, I thought it was nerves and gave time to settle in. Sadly, it turned out they had about 20 words of English.

It was honestly the most uncomfortable 15 minutes of my life as I tried to help answer the most basic of questions. I knew I had to stop the interview when I asked, “Tell me what you think about Airbnb and if you have ever used it?” The reply, after a 90-second pause, whereby time itself seems to stop, was “Airbnb is good, I think”.

I was sitting facing this person across a small desk. When it’s just the two of you in such a small space, 90 seconds feels like 2 hours. I started to notice the dust particles in the air as they caught the sunlight streaming in the window. It was that uncomfortable.

Lesson Learned: Always do a quick phone call with potential hires to confirm interview details and a brief introduction.

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The second candidate was superb. Calm, composed and able to expand on Airbnb, the business and how she felt she could fit into the business. My relief was enormous.

Finally, I felt the day was starting to turn around. As I waited for the third candidate, I scanned his CV again. He was a veteran Airbnb host who was currently working in a very similar job to the one I had advertised. I thought, “Perfect, it’ll be competition for the second candidate and I can pick the best”

He was an absolute disaster. He turned up late, was wearing a stained V neck sweater with no t-shirt underneath. He sat there, legs spread wide open facing me and wrapped up the interview by saying, “Right, are we gonna do this thing?”.

Spoiler alert: The second candidate got the job!

Sniper Strategy

A close friend of mine designed the most unique and brilliant job application process that has a 100% success rate. I wish I had invented this one!

He creates his CV in a brochure or PDF form that is specifically tailored to that company. He hires a designer to create it with the branding of his target company and tailored to the specific requirements of the person hiring.

Simply genius and 100% successful. He has landed dream jobs such as promoting a best selling business book by one of Ireland’s most well-known entrepreneurs. He has worked for some of the biggest Irish and international brands, establishing himself as one of the most sought-after fitness marketing experts in Dublin.

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This method is what I call the sniper approach. You carefully target the exact company you want and you pursue them. You need to invest some cash in hiring a designer and putting in the research to ensure your tone and branding matches the company.

You are making a decision that will shape the next 5, 10 or 15 years of your life. It defies logic to simply blast out CV’s to companies and take whatever comes back. You are selling yourself short.

To find out more about this method, you can connect with Ed on LinkedIn.

Value Yourself

The job hunting process can be stressful but as outlined above, when you see it from the other side, it’s just about thinking slightly different.

During writing this article, a Twitter friend of mine, posted a brilliant application they received and it echoes exactly what I am talking about. For context, his company is called Cuckoo Events.

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The internet is packed with unique job applications that got noticed and often gained international media attention.

Steven Bartlett, a UK entrepreneur and vlogger documented how one candidate sent an owl into his office with a job application. Now that gets attention.

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The Formula

Let’s do a quick recap of the process that you can follow for your next job. I’ve created a short to-do and not-to-do list for you.

To- Do List

  • Try to surprise or delight your interviewer. In a good way, not in a come to the interview dressed like the company mascot kind of way.

  • 1 single thing to stand out during the application process. Make the person reading your application stop and think. Shoot a video, put a poster on the billboard outside the office of your dream company, or create a tailored application like Ed’s.

  • If doing a cover letter, use the person’s name and mention the company.

  • Install Grammarly on your computer to avoid spelling mistakes.

  • Know the dress code. A good rule to follow, you can never be overdressed but you can definitely be underdressed. If unsure, just ask ahead of the interview.

Not-To-Do List

  • Spelling mistakes.

  • Use the wrong person’s name or a different company’s name.

  • Show up at the interview with zero background of the company or questions for the person interviewing you.

  • Take the job with unrealistic expectations. I had a girl quit after 5 days as the job “just wasn’t what I expected”. Know and understand the role you are going for.

Gary Fox