19 October 2010

Adventures of a (linchpin) job seeker

This is a story that I find to be both inspiring and revealing. It demonstrates what is possible when a motivated and resourceful job seeker decides not to play by the rules and, in fact, changes the game.
 
This is the story of Ellison Bloomfield.
 
Ellison is a HR professional based in Melbourne. She has undertaken a large amount of professional development but she hasn't completed an undergraduate degree. She has accumulated a lot of varied work experience over the past ten years but she hasn't worked for a high profile employer or in a ‘sexy' industry sector.
 
In short, Ellison's resume doesn't obviously stand out as one that belongs to a skilled, innovative or passionate professional. It's not the resume that recruiters would jump on and immediately say ‘I've got to meet this candidate!'
 
Ellison was frustrated by the lack of progress she was making in her career, so she decided to do something about it.
 
Ellison started a blog less than 12 months ago, blogging about all sorts of things to do with her job, her profession and her life.
 
On 1 June 2010, Ellison took a bold step; she posted a new blog entry Are You My Next Boss?'.
 
Ellison came right out and stated she was looking for another job, not just any old job but The Job.
 
Ellison wrote about what competencies she had to offer to a potential employer, what her study plans were and the type of organisation she wanted to work for.
 
The next day Ellison posted about the specific companies she thought were culturally aligned to her values. She listed companies such as Google, iiNet, Red Balloon, Ikea, Fosters Group, Apple and Deloitte.
 
As Ellison's search progressed, she was more specific. Ellison wrote that Deloitte clearly stood out to her as a company that matched a large number of her important criteria for an employer.
 
Ellison's campaign received a further boost when prominent recruitment blogger, Justin Hillier, on 7 July posted on his blog; Deloitte - I think someone really wants to work for you! highlighting Ellison's campaign and mentioning that she had bought Google adwords to link her availability to the Deloitte name.
 
In the comments section of Justin's post Pete Williams, Head of Deloitte Digital, acknowledged the post and indicated he had messaged Ellison to make direct contact with her. They spoke and although there was no job available, Pete suggested that they meet in the near future.
 
A week later, Ellison posted a further update about her campaign for The Job at Deloitte.
 
Her campaign had been noticed in many areas of Deloitte and she had been interviewed for a vacancy in the HR team. Unfortunately Ellison was not successful in being offered the job.
 
A month later, on 17 August, Ellison posted that she had declined a job offer. The job wasn't close enough to what she was looking for and having embarked on a very public campaign for The Job, she wasn't going to accept a second best option.
 
It was a difficult decision and in reading her post, it was clear that Ellison was a little deflated about her progress.
 
A month later, inspired by a presentation from Kelly O'Shaughnessy from recruitment company Peerlo, Ellison put together a brilliant visual presentation, using Prezi, of her search for The Job.
 
On Monday, 4 October 2010, Ellison posted the following:
 
It has been many months in the making, countless applications, interviews and hours spent researching, talking and working towards the day when I would be able to say, I've got The Job.'
 
Frustratingly, for me, and no doubt her many other followers in her campaign to land The Job, Ellison revealed only that she was starting The Job in two weeks time and would reveal her new employer closer to the start date.
 
A week later and Ellison kept us in suspense no longer and announced that her new employer, was in fact, Deloitte Digital. Her ultimate boss would be Pete Williams, the man alerted to Ellison's campaign to work at Deloitte by Justin Hillier's blog post in early July.
 
Two days later, on 14 October, Pete Williams blogged about the hiring of Ellison; The Search for the Team Member specifically saying that Ellison's innovative approach had impressed not only him but other senior Deloitte executives, stating ...
 
What really impressed me with Ellison was her passion which was backed up by a really creative and innovative mindset, her commitment to personal development as well as her connectivity. I liked her blog and her tweets as well as her involvement with AHRI.'
 
Through four months, more than 20 interviews and numerous disappointments, Ellison was to start on 18 October 2010 in her new role as a Leadership Development Consultant at Deloitte, with a 17% increase in salary.
 
There is so much I love about Ellison's journey to finding The Job.
 
The best way I can communicate this is through the words of Seth Godin from his most recent book, Linchpin: Are you indispensable? (reviewed in Ross Recommends in InSight Issue 137).  
 
Seth's view on finding a great job
‘Great jobs, world class jobs, jobs people kill for-these jobs don't get filled by people emailing in their resumes. If you're a linchpin, indispensable, worth hiring and able to make a difference, how do you get a job in a world filled with me-too resumes and factories?
 
If that is the question, you don't. You won't be able to persuade the standardized HR system to make an exception. A better plan: find a company that understands the value of the linchpin. Find a company that doesn't use a computer to scam resumes, a company that hires people not paper.' (page 72 & 73)
 
Seth's view on what it takes to lead
‘The key distinction is the ability to forge your own path, to discover a route from one place to another that hasn't been paved, measured and quantified.' (page 174)
 
Seth's view on standing out and resilience
‘There are countless people waiting to tell you how to fit in, waiting to correct you, advise you, show you what you are doing is wrong.
 
And no one pushing you to stand out.' (page 202)
 
‘...when others fail to be remarkable or make a difference or share their art or have an impact, they will give up. But you won't, you'll persist, pushing through the dip. Which means that few people will walk in the door with your background, experience or persistence.' (page 208)
 
Good luck, Ellison in your career at Deloitte Australia. Just to get The Job, you have proven your courage, leadership and also proven you are a linchpin.
 
Congratulations also to Deloitte for going outside the normal processes of job boards and resumes to discover Ellison's creativity, skill and passion.
 
I am really looking forward to reading about Ellison's journey inside Deloitte.
 
What can you take from this story?

3 comments:

  1. Thanks Ross for the this job seeking story. I guess Ellison has proved herself as an exceptional job seeker; hopefully, she will morph into an exceptional employee.

    Other than that, my thoughts veered towards the challenge for recruiters (agency and corporate)they face if/when they want to suitably evaluate (and generate) applications from linchpins. My guess is that ordinary attraction strategies and selection processes will never do a proper job when attempting to evaluate extraordinary applicants. Time for a change in more than just job posting platform huh :-?

    Regards

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  2. Agree, Jorge, job postings will increasingly become ineffective as the best way to find and attract the best candidates.

    For average candidates to do not-greatly-important jobs then job postings will continue to be just fine.

    It all depends what calibre of candidate you need.

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  3. GREAT story...especially because it's TRUE. If you'd like to be a guest on my Linchpin Podcast I'd be honored - contact me at andy AT andytraub.com and we'll set something up. You can find the podcast pretty easily on iTunes - just look for Linchpin. Thanks again for a great story which was also very well written. - Andy

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