« My Trip to Napa (and a Peculiar Example of Employment Marketing) | Main | Your Birthday Will Be Different This Year »


Pamela S.

Very useful and timely tips - thanks for sharing.

Rowan Manahan

Just excellent Jason! "If you chase two rabbits at the same time, you will go hungry."

I recommend my clients pursue an all-guns-blazing approach to just a handful of companies. Multiple angles of approach, multiple angles of research - full-on stalking!

My rule of thumb on this is that you simply can't be genuinely excited about the prospect of working in more than 5 companies. If you are, you probably have commitment issues ...

The trick is to also have a second string of another 5-7 companies; so when you get a curt "Goodbye" from one of your top 5, you immediately slot a new one in to replace it and commence bunny-boiling again.

I think one of the things that recruiters have lost sight of is just how emotionally gut-wrenching the modern job search has become. When I am working that side of the fence, I am probably somewhat guilty in this regard - and I work with job-seekers every day. The sheer volume of incoming application can very quickly form callouses on even the most sensitive and decent recruiter.

So start wooing - recruiters need love too!

Nicola Twilley

Dear Jason,
Forgive me: this is a repeat of a message I sent using your Meebo widget yesterday. However, I've read that Meebo messages expire after 12 hours, so just in case you haven't been online recently, I'm re-posting my Meebo message as a comment. I was inspired to get in touch with you by this post. I'm actually job hunting the old-fashioned way right now (i.e. only applying for positions that I'm a great match for, and that I really want). I submitted my resume to Google a couple of weeks ago for an Account Strategist opening in Santa Monica, and I haven't heard anything yet. From my reading of the job description, I'm a great candidate: an analytical and creative thinker with strong communication skills (both verbal and written), and a resume that shows educational excellence as well as several years of relevant employment experience. I'm sorry to butt in on your personal blog with a Google recruitment question, but I doing everything I can to make sure my name makes it onto the phone screen list. If you have any advice, or know who in Santa Monica I could call, I'd be very grateful. I can be reached at nicola *dot* twilley *at* gmail *dot* com.

Finally, I've learned a lot from reading through your archives here – thank you.

Steven Rothberg, CollegeRecruiter.com

I believe that employers are much more selective than they were in the past also because they need to be. There are far more jobs which require much greater degrees of specialization than there used to be. The more specialization in the job, the more employers tend to be selective about who they hire as they justifiably want to hire people who have demonstrated an ability to do the job.

Liz Handlin

Absolutely right about the thank you notes! Thanks for reiterating a point that I make all the time...you can never be too appreciative. Great post all around.



Sorry to make a general post, but I did not see a good way to email my comments privately.

Is it possible to subscribe to this blog using FeedBlitz? It's a bit easier for some people than RSS feeds, and it guarantees that I'll see new posts every day.

Appreciate it if you can support this, or some other email-based notification of new posts to your blog. Thanks!


Great summary of what has gone wrong with so many people's job searches these days. I'm going to pass this post along to wrk4us (a group of former grad students trying to find non academic careers).

Thinking back, when I was on the hunt, the jobs I got were ones in which I happened to invest that extra time, or somehow saw an extra few ways that I fit the position and took the time to articulate them.

Because of the emotional side and ego-destroying side of job hunting, its easy to avoid investing too much of yourself in the hunt and just sending out generic resumes and cover letters. Your post reminds us that you really have no option but to invest yourself in the job hunt (or anything) if you want to be successful.


On the hiring manager end, I've got to say the people who apply the old fashioned way are about 10 times more likely to be considered. I get a handful of applications every week, even when I'm not actively recruiting. at least 1/2 of these get unceremoniously dumped into an email inbox, never to be seen again. However, every person who's taken the initiative to call me back has been reviewed more carefully, and favorably.


When an applicant calls a recruiter or hirer on the phone, what should he say?

Aside from arranging practical business related to the interview, I can only think of variations on "Hey, just wanted to let you know I really want the job." And calling just to say this would seem to risk making oneself a nuisance. Isn't it better rather to give the hiring people space and time to do their work?

Please set me straight on this: if calling helps my chances, I'm gonna call!


I can really only speak for myself, but here's what it looks like from my end. I have about a half dozen things to accomplish on any given day. Hiring is a low priority task on any given day, but an important part of the big picture. So if I receive an application on Monday, I'm not likely to have time to look over it until maybe Wednesday/Thursday. Meanwhile, I'm very likely to forget it, mishandle it, etc. A phone call does several things for me, all of which help you. 1) It reminds me to look at your application. 2) It tells me that you want the job more than someone who didn't call. 3) It tells me you're persistent and willing to take the initiative to make sure you get the job. For me, a call is always good for you. The worst thing that could happen is I'll tell you you're not a fit, which is still better than being left wondering.

Liz Handlin

Hi Jason

I just wrote an e-book of sample thank you notes that I am more than willing to give to your readers for free. I also have an e-book on interview tips that take you from preparing for the interview (as you pointed out, most people don't do this) all the way through writing a thank you note after the process. This e-book is a giveaway I give to my clients and I am happy to give you and your readers a copy if there is anyone who wants one. Just email me at liz@ultimate-resumes.com if you want one or both.

Have a great weekend!


It is important to remember basic job interview etiquette. In a time where everybody has a lot of good qualifications on their resume, the behaviors one presents may be just the thing that separates them fromt eh competition. Little things like prepearing for the interview by anticipating questions, sending a thank you note, and being especially meticulous about appearanc enad language can make the difference.


Jeremy Langhans

Hey Mr. Warner!

Hope all is well at Google, etc...
You got a new Blog or just decided to stop posting?




You give some great tips of how to win the job through the interview/interaction with the team. The question that I have is how do you make sure the application gets noticed in the first place. Given perfect fit qualifications, what else can the candidate do to get to the prescreening interview (after the online application has been submitted)?

Thank you

Lee Burbage

On the other side of this coin I recommend that each Company make their online application process more invovled. (More invovled and more fun earns bonus points).

A more involved application process can reduce the number of unwanted resumes. That is good for the company and easier for the applicants who take the time to get through.

We require a cover letter and answers to a number of questions. Because we make our application more time consuming and force applicants to think, we believe we only get those that really want to work here.

We are also sure to include 1 or 2 fun questions. They tell us more about the applicant and make the process more fun for everyone.


I recently moved home to Michigan, leaving a job in Boston to be closer to family and friends I grew up with. Though my company has been wonderful in keeping me on telecommute status at 50% to do some research in grants development, I have also been searching, applying for and interviewing for jobs in the last 3 months. I have made it a personal goal to apply for one job per day if the fit is or seems to be right.
I too have been on the other side of the fence and have been involved in perusing many online resumes and cover letters submtited to my company. Even as a non profit, we have a great candidate management software to qualify the applicant according to the specific job description. This seemed to weed out, but not delete the less qualified applicants, but one still needs to read every single one to make sure.
I appreciate all of the posts... because it validated some of the things I've been doing. Looking for the right job with the right company is more challenging than any position I have ever had, (except parenting) especially in the economic state that Michigan is in.
I think I will call the recruiter today. I have not heard from her since last Thursday!


One more comment or plead....
If you are a hiring manager, please be polite and send a note (after you've hired) to the unlucky applicants who have applied to let them know that although they were qualified, you've hired another candidate. We lose sleep over finding a job.


Happy D

Very insightful post - it's good to hear a comparison between the old and new job hunting environments.

You mentioned your cellphone - would you want job seekers calling you and trying to sell their work on your personal line? My thought was no, but it sounds like that would have impressed you. Thoughts?



Chiming in an old post, since comments are still coming in..

I'm a little bothered by this rush to embrace thank-you notes. An interview is a mutually beneficial event, and a thank you note unbalances it in the favor of the company.

You, as an interviewer and/or recruiter, were paid to be at work and therefore paid for your time in speaking with me. I, as an interviewee, wasn't. Why do I thank you for your time, and you don't thank me for mine, when interviewing is part of your job? Often you would not even sending a note like 'We don't want you for this position'. If you don't follow up, why should I?

Am I really *grateful* that you are seeing me, when I am qualified for the position? I am not trying to be arrogant but to emphasize that an interview and a hire are something that is good for both of us. You either thought I was best-qualified, or you didn't. If you had the choice between two people who were equally qualified and you pick the one who sent the note, I think you should honestly ask what the difference is. Is that a person who goes an extra mile or the person who will bake cookies to make people like them? Are they just gaming the system? Emotionally manipulating you into feeling good?

If I was to thank you sincerely -- with a note or even two of them as suggested! -- knowing that you will not do the same, I am effectively stating that I believe your time is worth more than mine. It is not. I think this is an unfortunate and antiquated idea that harkens back to the concept that we owe corporations every thing -- we should thank them for noticing us, thank them for hiring us, stay late, give 120%, they are our family, we should be loyal, etc etc. People are increasingly rejecting that notion, and that is why they won't send the note.

At the end of the day, if you had better people to see, but you saw me against all odds, then, yes, thanks. Thanks a lot for taking a risk and giving me a shot, and I mean it. However, if I was perfectly qualified, then, by interviewing me, you just did what was best for you. Do you thank people for acting in their own best interests? That honestly seems a little disingenuous, and I for one am a little suspicious of people who would do so.


Your comment is great. Thanks for stopping by.

At Starbucks, when I was the Director of North America Recruiting, I instituted a program where everyone that interviewed with a recruiter received a hand-written thank-you note along with a $3 pre-loaded Starbucks card, that said, "thanks for letting us get to know you."

Few companies approach the relationship with candidates in this way. It's short-sighted for them to do anything but, and I agree that the relationship should be more equalized.

That said, I still think it's better to send thank-you notes as part of a career strategy. Incidentally, I try to do this outside of recruiting interactions also.


The comments to this entry are closed.