We are at the start of what I fear will be a paradox in hiring.
The economy will grow. Jobs will come back. Unemployment will reach the single-digits and perhaps rival the trend we saw over the 10 years leading into the pandemic.
All of that might take too much time for job seekers who need that recovery to happen today, or yesterday. There’s no way around all the misery and pain right now. But we will hit bottom and rebuild.
What worries me is not whether we will rebuild but how we will rebuild.
You’re going to see a lot of companies say, as they reverse course with furloughs and then add to their rosters, that they want innovators. They want forward-thinkers. They want builders and dreamers and doers and doppelgangers and every lofty word they can think of whether or not it makes any sense.
And then they’re going to look at a resume and say, “She has eight years experience, but we want nine,” and they will reject her.
They’re going to say, “He has 20 years experience, but we want 10,” and they will reject him.
They’re going to say, “She worked at Audi, but we want someone from Toyota,” and they will reject her.
They’re going to say, “He worked at Coca-Cola, but we want someone from Spotify,” and they will reject him.
They’re going to say, “She calls herself a customer success manager, but we want an account manager,” and they will reject her.
They’re going to say, “He has been running his own practice, but we want a ladder climber,” and they will reject him.
Divergent thinkers are needed more than ever. They’re not wanted though.
They’re not wanted all that often in a great economy. They’re going to be sought after even less in a bad economy when there’s such a glut of candidates that hirers can get exactly what they think they want.
“…They think they want?”
Recruiting is similar to the ad business in one way: they suffer from bad briefs.
For ad or marketing campaigns, bad briefs lead to bad work. You get a lot of that in recruiting too. When you match a seemingly perfect candidate with a job description that is either so meaninglessly vague or so nitpickingly specific that it ceases to mean anything, you’re not going to get what you need.
There are great briefs in recruiting, as in advertising. There are great hires even from bad briefs. But so often, the briefs are useless.
While these issues have always been there, I predict that we will have one of the widest gaps in modern history between what hirers say they want and what they need.
What you need now is someone who can take a machine that makes vegetable peelers and turn it into one that can make ventilators. You need someone who can turn a sundress into a surgical mask. You need someone who won’t follow bad orders and can make the case to show anyone and everyone what’s wrong with the orders. And you need someone who can turn bad orders into good ones.
I riffed on this on LinkedIn; if you have thoughts on this, you should add your comments to more than 50 there. I wrote, “Given the black swans hitting us and the uncertainty ahead, a lot of the best hires will be the unconventional ones. They’ll be the ones who can apply experience from different jobs and industries, not the ones who can do the same job over and over. They’ll be constructive critics and respectful dissenters, but it will be too easy for the hiring leads to find people who agree with everything they say.”
The original inspiration for the rant stemmed from a Twitter thread by Connor Murphy, who noted that people lack creativity because most haven’t had diverse experiences. He said, “…They don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem.” It wasn’t a leap to apply this to hiring challenges ahead.
Do divergent thinkers have a shot? What’s the solution here? Do most just eschew the job hunt and go solo or start their own companies? Is there any precedent for why I’m wrong? I’d love to hear it.
I’m trying to make sense of all of this. What are you making of yourself?
PS: I’ll have more to say about this soon, but here’s a sneak preview of the new referral program for the newsletter. Spread the word and earn rewards — initially mentions and links in the newsletter, with other perks to come. I’d love it if you can try it out by sharing the link with others via email, social, beepers, or your medium of choice. Here’s your personalized link (what you always wanted!). Thanks.
LEARN. TRY. SHARE.
IS COVID SPREADING IN YOUR STATE?
This is a helpful visual by Instagram’s cofounders showing which states are on which part of the viral spread curve. “These are up-to-date values for Rt, a key measure of how fast the virus is growing. It’s the average number of people who become infected by an infectious person. If Rt is above 1.0, the virus will spread quickly. When Rt is below 1.0, the virus will stop spreading.”
HACKING AS IF LIVES DEPEND ON IT
Alex Iskold and Minda Brusse launched this endeavor: “We are The $1k Project, and our mission is to help connect families in need with potential sponsors who are willing to help by giving them $1k a month for 3 months… We help the families impacted by the pandemic by connecting them directly with sponsors who are willing to gift them $1k a month for 3 months – this is a bridge until government funding comes / people can get back to work / figure out other sources of funding.”
To become a sponsor go to: https://www.1kproject.org/
My friends at Social Starts have been blogging about some ways their portfolio companies are adapting to this Covid age. From cookware to healthcare, this is a useful roundup that may provide some new ideas for you.
MORE FROM TAMAR’S ADVENTURES IN COVIDLAND
I’ve shared Tamar Weinberg’s previous posts from the center of the New Rochelle, NY COVID cluster. She now has an update on how to help,, and opinions on other topics like whether masks matter. She remains one of my favorite resources for understanding all this on a more personal level while offering some of the reporter’s-eye-view.
TIPS FOR OUTRUNNING BEARS
Geoff Bruskin, a kindred spirit who runs White Tiger Connections, has some thoughts on how to advance your career using a bare minimum of hard costs.
EVEN MORE FUN THAN ANTIDISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM
Is anyone else addicted to Spelling Bee from NYT? It’s free, but I subscribed to their Puzzles add-on just to see what words I missed the previous day. It’s a simple set up: see how many words you can get with the seven letters provided, but you must use the one in the center in each word. Who is a budding Genius here?
There are now so many that I’ve broken them up into categories. Keep the terrific links coming.
- Bing’s COVID-19 tracker
- Financial Times: coronavirus tracker and visualizations (access for free)
- Domo’s coronavirus tracker and visualizations
- Data hubs from Google and Foursquare with location trends related to coronavirus
- Retail trends from Retailmenot and Rockerbox (D2C focus)
- State maps of coronavirus spread for New York and Texas
- USAFacts.org: up-to-the-minute metrics
- World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) tracks brand responses to coronavirus
DONATE & SUPPORT
- Coffee donations for healthcare workers
- Hospitals near you need support — via Protect the Heroes
- Local business gift cards via Square
- PPE resources from Laura Fitton
- Support Restaurants with dining bonds
- Tip bartenders handsomely (even the less handsome or pretty ones)
- CoronaHub: the job board and Slack community
- Guild’s work-from-home guide
- Family activities from Standupbly
- NUMA’s collection of business resources
- Springworks’ resources for managing remote teams
- Unemployment Guide for all 50 States via HireClub
- Upskilling During a Downturn: resources from Scott Monty and Jeremiah Owyang
TOOLS & ESCAPES
- Audible’s free audiobooks for kids
- Home scheduler by Owl Labs
- Murray’s Cheese Shop now runs virtual cheese tastings
- Remote team tools via Collaboration Superpowers
Below are events that are either virtual or scheduled far enough out that they hope to be real-world functions. Please send over any virtual events you’re hosting or attending, and I’ll add them to the list.
All times for virtual events are EDT unless otherwise specified.
FREELANCER CYBER SUMMIT
One Club’s event for “freelancers who work in advertising and the creative industry — Creative, film production, and experience production.”
SERIAL MARKETERS SALONS
-4/28: Marketing in a Crisis with Juliana Marulanda, CEO of ScaleTime
(Tuesdays, 3pm EDT)
Come join fellow Serial Marketers members for an upcoming virtual chat. Following the first one about working from home, our next one will be wellness. If you can’t make this coming one, you can sign in and pick whichever dates you want to RSVP for (I scheduled ten for now). Please note: it’s password-protected for members of the community. Email me for access or check Slack. The next guest speakers and topics are:
Va my friend Brian Zisk: “NOLA MusicTech Online on April 29th is the virtual update to our in-person event which was scheduled to take place during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. An extension of the SF MusicTech Summit, the world’s best event around the convergence of Music and Internet technologies, please join us and hundreds of the leading MusicTech thought leaders online to connect and do business. More has happened around Internet Distribution in the last 5 weeks than over the previous 5 years, and we look forward to gathering the folks who are inventing the future, so we can all amplify what each other are building.”
SOCIAL MEDIA WEEK’S #SMWONE
One of my favorite annual events is going virtual:
#SMWONE is a month-long virtual conference series taking place May 5-28 that will deliver live content, talks, panel sessions, and workshops, together with on-demand content, product demos, attendee hangouts, and networking experiences. They are pivoting both of their NY and LA conferences into a single event and adding double the programming.
Confirmed #SMWONE speakers include Kristin Patrick, CMO of PepsiCo, Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Growth Officer at Publicis Groupe, Pam Wasserstein, President of Vox Media, Rishi Magia, Creative Strategist at Instagram, Dara Treseder, CMO of Carbon 3D, and Joe Marchese, CEO of Attention Capital.
A Delegate Pass Pass (Early Bird $449/Regular $499) allows access to 100+ hours of sessions with 300+ speakers. Through my link, you can get 20% off:
ERA ROUNDTABLE 141
May 5, 6:30pm
Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA) will bring its event online featuring Rebecca Kaden of Union Square Ventures, plus five pitches from startups.
CROWD 2.0 SUMMIT
May 7, 10am-5pm
From my friends at Crowdsourcing Week, here’s a free virtual all-day event: “The Virtual Crowd Summit, a 1-day online web conference covers actionable topics in crowdsourcing, open innovation, collaborative economy and crowdfunding that are increasingly rewriting the rules in every sector now more than ever. Whether crowdsourcing is a term that’s sparked your curiosity or a practice you use every day at work,”
COMMUNITY CHAT SUMMIT 2020
I’m excited to attend this one. You should too and take advantage of $49 earlybird tickets which cover the full two days: “The Community Chat Summit is a gathering of community builders helping each other navigate the world of community building by sharing resources, strategies, and best practices. Featuring keynote speakers, workshop sessions, 1 on 1 networking and more.”
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES SUMMIT (NEW DATES)
The previously-Chicago-only event is now virtual and coming up soon. I’ll be speaking about how to build and run a successful B2B community. Of course, I will be including examples from many others, with a bit of experience covering mistakes I’ve made that others can learn from.
LDV SUMMIT (NEW DATES)
February 10-11, 2021
“The premier global gathering in visual tech” is run by one of my favorite firms of any sort out there, LDV Capital. They specialize in bringing some of the best people together in all sorts of ways.
I’m working on sourcing more jobs for this. In the meantime, check the resources below, and keep checking out the #jobs channel in Serial Marketers.
- Ad Ops Online: Job listings for ad operations, programmatic account management, sales operations, and more.
- Advisable: Get instant access to top marketing freelancers
- Built in NYC: Jobs at a range of levels and functions, as long as you’re okay working in this quaint, backwater hamlet.
- CareerList: Here’s a form for companies hiring and a form for job seekers; here’s the public list with tabs for both
- CoronaHub: Jobs relating to the crisis response
- ExecThread: Senior roles spanning a range of verticals and cities; membership is free but fully vetted (this uses my referral ID to get you in faster)
- GLG: Get paid to share your topical expertise; it can lead to some interesting conversations at a potentially decent hourly rate
- The Hired Guns: An array of jobs in marketing and related fields at brands, agencies, and media companies
- Hunterz: A way for connectors to get paid to introduce startups to large enterprises
- Lunch Club: Match 1:1 around predetermined goals with accomplished professionals (free)
- NYC Ad Jobs & Networking: A popular Facebook group
- One Club for Creativity: COVID-19 Jobs Board
- TechNY Daily: While more technical, there are also some sales and marketing jobs at NY startups.
- VentureLoop: Free startup job listings; their paid option is $15/month and might surface more leads (but it might not).
- Wanted: Wanted helps top talent in tech and marketing find a job at your desired pay. Plug in your salary, stay anonymous at first, and connect with companies that want to recruit you.
Do you run or enjoy other job listing sites? Let me know, and I’ll share them.
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