So, I’ve been in the corporate recruiting gig for what, almost 2 years now?  I used to sit on the other side of the fence, with some agencies.  I have my share of war stories from those days (ask me about Fish Jacket someday).  That said, things are weirder from this side of the phone.

I started a folder, called “little folder of horrors”, shortly after I got here, where I’d toss the most bizarre applications and atrocious cover letters.  Like, the one from the guy who wrote his in texting format (“if U R interested, plz…”).  But, once I started receiving packages, it became “little box of horrors”.  Now, it’s “big cabinet”.  Oi, freaking, vey.

So, wanted to draw your attention to a fine line – the one between “hey, clever approach!”, and “what the f – call animal control, i think this thing’s still alive!”.

Last week, I got flip flops.  I didn’t buy ’em, and they weren’t from a female friend.  Nope, some guy decided that the best way to apply for our not open (filled in October of ’07 by this rock star), Director of MarComm position was to mail in some footwear.  Not just any footwear, but brown, Target brand flip flops, size 10.  (I take a 12, if you’re thinking of sending me shoes – and, I’d prefer Thom Browne, or Cole Haan.  Just sayin’)

So, why flip-flops? Personally I think they were a re-gift.  Somebody gave him a crappy pair of shoes, and he thought “hey, I can try and twist this into a clever way to get a job at ZoomInfo!”  Here’s his copy:

Here’s a pair of flip-flops.  Put them on. Take a deep breath. (if I’d put them on, it would have been more like an inhale of pain, but I digress) Think of blah blah blah…  Your search for a VP of Marketing ends here (really?? I thought we were looking for a Director?  And, I think the search ended 7 months ago, buddy?)

This is a very in-your-face approach (sure, that’s one way to spin mailing footwear) but one that got your attention and provided me an opportunity to present my case.  Isn’t that what marketing is all about – creating an opportunity? (Yup!  An opportunity to go to the very top of the Little Cabinet of Horrors – lucky you!!)

Later, he says:In the past I got bored easily so I changed jobs a lot . Oh, that’s not good…

In any event, this guy didn’t get a call.  But… this guy (heretofore known as Aspirin Boy) did.  In fact, he got 2 rounds, and it was a tough call on our end not to hire him.

One day, I got a box.  It wasn’t ticking, swathed in duct tape, from my wife, or snarling, so I figured it was safe.  When I opened it, there was a giant aspirin (about a half foot across and a 1 inch deep) made out of some kind of ceramic, along with a cover letter.  It was from this kid, who wanted to move out of his first job and was interested in us.  Here’s a sample:

Hello Martin

You’re probably wondering why you just received a giant aspirin in the mail.

Over the past few months I’ve been debating whether or not to take the next step in my career path.  During that time I’ve been able to read quite a few of your blog posts.  This giant aspirin, in particular, is for the next poorly put together cover letter and resume that comes across your desk.  I hope mine isn’t one of them. 🙂

So, you’re asking, what the hell’s the difference?  Simple – Flip Flopper had _years_ of marketing experience (at, not to mention, a lot of companies).  Apirin Boy was barely out of college, and still had better approach.   He displayed great marketing instinct (despite the fact that  he approached us for a sales role).  Strong enough that even though we had just filled out last sales role, we brought him in to talk to him about a product marketing position we were toying with.  In the end, the role was revised, and we couldn’t hire him, but we wanted to.  If he’d just sent in a generic cover letter with resume, I would have let him know that the sales hiring was on hold – but, he put himself out there and got a chance.  I still stay in touch with him – he’s a great, great guy – and last I heard, he was looking into more product marketing or straight marketing roles thanks to this little interaction.

That’s all for now – just had to vent about the flip flops….