Be a Job Finder not a Job Seeker

September 22, 2020

What does it take to stand out in an incredibly crowded job market right now?

I’m going to share a story a member of my Patreon group shared with me this past week. It’s an incredible story of creativity, determination and results.

“Hey, you mentioned you wanted LinkedIn DM’s about over-the-top applicant stories in the Patreon group. I just landed a job (starting Oct 6th in a mid-market AE role at a SaaS company called “Klue” (competitive intelligence enablement software) that just closed a $15M Series A in Vancouver, Canada) and I’ve been told my cadence was a little off the wall lol.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Reached out to Klue back in March right before COVID hit about a position
  2. Once the crisis hit, stayed un-offendable about not getting an interview and kept my eyes on social media to see when the tide would turn
  3. Stayed connected with the HR consultant. Made an impression and did some digging to get insight into their hiring process and who to connect with. Got feedback from her that timing might be better in July, which I confirmed from seeing their posts on LinkedIn.
  4. In July, reached out to their top enterprise rep for insight into the process. Got her to champion me to the VP HR and new Sales Director.
  5. Connected with both on LinkedIn and hit them with creative emails and video messages (dripping LI posts to the Sales Director along the way to maintain engagement)
  6. Followed up on rounds 1 and 2 with creative video summaries of the interview describing key takeaways and selling the next step **One really practical story of how those video summaries helped me** The VP HR actually rejected me after the HR screening interview because she thought I was a culture fit, but totally lacked the experience they were looking for. I’ve got some B2B experience (~3 years selling small-scale SMB as an AE) but none in SaaS or at their deal complexity, so they told me straight up that they treated me like I had zero experience… She thought I was gritty, personable and smart, etc, but her advice to the new Sales Director was to drop me at that stage of the game because they were looking exclusively for veterans. He took her advice and I was out of the game… But I didn’t know that! (I only discovered this in my second interview when the Sales Director brought it up.) So, I sent a video recap to the Sales Director summarizing what I thought went well and selling the next step and he said “screw it, I don’t care about his experience, I’ve got to meet this guy, put him in a meeting with me” The quick, creative video recap (2-3 minutes max) is a pretty fire tactic that I couldn’t recommend more highly when done properly… it literally resurrected me from the dead in this process…
  7. Interviewed another top AE to get insight into the details of their process and organization to prepare for final interview (who happened to be on the panel in the final round)
  8. Interviewed a bunch of businesses in their ICP (mainly Product Marketing Leaders, also Competitive Intelligence and Sales Leaders) — got 3 leaders to send video testimonials saying they should hire me (one of which was their ICP at G2, including the quote “if you don’t hire this guy, Jacob, call me and I will get you a job here instead”)
  9. Interviewed the VP of Product Marketing at Klue (1st time in Klue’s history that an AE candidate has done that apparently) to get the recommendation of the ICP-equivalent at Klue and get EXTRA prepared for final round. He also gave a testimonial to the CEO and Sales Director — he was also a former client leading Product Marketing at Hootsuite and was an enterprise sales rep before, so they very much value his opinion on these things
  10. Getting additional respected sales mentors to shoot the CEO and the Sales Director testimonials on why they think I’d be a good sales hire (ex: Dave Weiss, Kyle Coleman) The sheer volume of videos propelled some serious “who the hell is this guy?!?!” vibes internally, which is the exactly the buzz I wanted circulating before the last interview.
  11. When the CEO asked one of my referrals if I had “the killer instinct” and “love for the hunt” in an email, I told the referral to respond “Jacob said to check your texts”. I tracked down the CEO’s cell number in an old fundraising press release, called him and texted him a couple voice notes when he didn’t pick up.
  12. Did a bit beyond the standard prep for my mock disco call. Prepped slides that visually aligned with their brand guide, dropping sophisticated insights referencing convos I was having with other industry leaders to validate mock-prospect pain and included some funny moments for extra sauce (ex: got some pretty audible laughter from photoshopping their team’s faces onto a picture of the Avenger’s to talk about how our solution is designed to make them the heroes of the story)
  13. Tapping into my competitive debater roots, I sent a full-scale, formal debate-style debrief analysis (written and video versions) to respond to last key questions they mentioned having about my candidacy in the final interview. **While the written notes were just 3 pages (point form with big font), the last video (and only that video) was literally 14 minutes long… The amount of hype created by the videos throughout the process made them want to watch a 14 minute video from me, affording me a seat in the decision making room I never would have otherwise had… (In fairness, they made the decision to hire me immediately after the interview, so none of that debrief was necessary, but the Sales Director described the last video/notes as “just one more top shelf move after a series of top shelf moves”)

Overall, it was a fun time! The CEO began the final interview by saying “never in my 25 year career have I had someone do anything like what you just did throughout this interview process. My hat is completely tipped to you.”

I’ve kept all of the content created throughout the process and plan to be posting snippets of the cadence on LinkedIn over the coming months! Actually, I was really hoping to discuss how to build out a content strategy for my new role/myself in general on LinkedIn in our scheduled chat next Thurs Sept 24th (11:45am PST) — excited to learn from you on that! Hope this was an enjoyable read! Looking forward to getting to properly (virtually) meet! Thanks for all you do man :)”

MIND F-ING BLOWN. Who is this person who did this you ask? Jacob Gebrewold – take a bow.

PS: He’ll be starting at Klue pretty quick, so if losing fewer deals to competitors is a hot topic for your team, give him a shout!

It’s almost time for Q4 – what are you doing to ensure a successful finish this year? Stop by Thursday Night Sales this week and let’s talk about it.

Learn how I got promoted from rep to manager in 3 months, how he gets so much done, and why the captain is never the best player. My appearance on The Next Level Sales Leadership Podcast.