Unusual Job Seeker Tactics That Worked

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Job Search MethodsEven as the job market slowly improves, unemployment still continues to be high, which means competition for open positions remains tough in many areas.

CareerBuilder’s annual survey about unusual tactics came out recently and it turns out more and more job seekers are trying everything and anything to stand out from their competitors. Twenty-two percent of hiring managers reported that, compared to last year, they are seeing more job seekers try unusual tactics to capture their attention. This is up from 18 percent who said the same in 2009 and 12 percent in 2008.

While you don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reasons, some hiring managers, say that unusual tactics can be effective. One-in-ten said they have hired someone who used an unconventional tactic to get their attention.

If you’re thinking about trying something to catch an employer’s eye, it’s all about the execution. You want to be remembered in a good way, so be professional and creative. Consider some of these unusual job seeker tricks that have actually worked:

  • One candidate brought in a video recommendation from a former boss
  • The person applying for a casino dealer job dealt a game on the interviewer’s desk and interacted with imaginary gamblers
  • The applicant identified an existing technology problem and solved it
  • A prospective teacher brought in a box of props to demonstrate her teaching style
  • An applicant created a full graphics portfolio on the employer’s brand
  • The successful candidate submitted a business plan with his job application

Tell us, have you ever tried something unusual or unique to get an employer’s attention? Did it work or did it backfire?

34 Comments
  1. Pingback: Unusual Job Seeker Tactics That Worked » Techie Masala

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  4. When I was active in FreeBSD, I used to hand out FreeBSD CDs as business cards. :)

    I wasn’t actively looking for a job at the time, but I did get a few calls.

  5. I read about this guy who bought google ads with the names of the persons he wanted to interview with, so when they googled themselves, they found out this guy’s short message, something in the lines of: “Isn’t it great to googles yourself? So is hiring me, blah blah.” Something like that. I thought it was pretty clever.

  6. Made slideshow video of photos from potential employer’s web site.Then crafted a marketing video with narrative voice over and background music.

    Then posted to Youtube so I could send them a link that would show fast.

    Got business dev. contract for over 1 year.

  7. Being very active in the community. I arranged, promoted, and executed a very complex project for my city. From start to finish, the project took just over a week, you may have even seen it…. Longmont Loves Google – message from space.

    Now I have not landed that perfect job yet but talk about exposure, we have close to 1/2 million hits on the site and news coverage around the world! The best part is the actual message to Google wasn’t the satellite images but the city of Longmont and it’s citizens “Get It” and what this 1Gb fiber means.

  8. Went on interview and was told they were not hiring. I asked how may workers in accounting department. They said over 10,000. I said, “There is no way you won’t be needing me in probably the next two weeks.” Interviewer asked me why I would say that. I replied, “In two weeks one of your workers will die at his desk and you will definitely need a man with my qualifications!!! He said, “What did you say?” I repeated it. He said, “Wait a minute.” Called the home office and told his boss what I said. I was hired on the spot. A couple of weeks later, I see the guy in the hallway. He says, “You were right!” I said, “about what?” He said, “So and So died at his desk at the weigh scales. Guess who is taking his place?” It was a promotion after only a couple of weeks.

  9. You go in with a great business plan, it is as likely as not to be stolen by the boss, who’ll hire the next guy in line to implement it.

    • If the guy is going to steal the plan from you, and not hire you, he’s probably going to do it himself, and not hire ANOTHER guy who obviously cant come up with good business plans to carry out this one and take all the credit for it anyway

  10. Sometime ago, before email and on line job sites, to get ‘work’ was as simple as opening the yellow pages to the place of one’s specialty. Be it printers, accountants, lawyers, medical, or whatever… and calling up to ask: Are you in need of? You get there before they have to pay for an employment agency or a classified ad; and that makes them happy. PERSON to PERSON connecting.

  11. instead of a resume, if one has the name of the owner of a small business or mid size one,
    send a personal notecard; expressing a desire to work for the person and why. Explain how
    one’s own character matches that of the person
    with business ‘to some extent’ (worked way thru school, desire to succeed, love of…….., AGAIN…it’s person to person communicating.

  12. Offer to work for LESS than the going rate.

    to PROVE one can be of help. Businesses are relunctant to pay out lots of money on ‘unknowns’ so if no one will vouch for you, TAKE the least amount of money you can afford to take (and still live) and HOPE for the best.

    At best, you will have a job for a few years and gain valuable knowledge and experience.

  13. I was in dire need of an internship to finish my degree. I offered to work the internship for free so it was of no risk to the employer. Once they saw what I had to offer I was hired on as a full time employee….and they weren’t even looking to hire!

  14. While interviewing at an Ad Agency, the VP of Accounts excused himself to take a call. I overheard him talking to the caller about pitching a dog food brand for a particular market segment.

    After the interview I called a friend who had access to research data on products and usage by consumers. He was nice enough to mail me a packet of data which I dropped off the Agency a couple of days after the interview. It had a thank you note attached saying I hope this data comes in useful for your next pitch. I got the job.

  15. First job I got with an atttorney involved being told that I didn’t have experience, so I asked how I was to get experience if I couldn’t get a job to gain the experience. Caught him in the old “Catch 22″ game.

  16. Doing actual work for a company for free in hopes that you get a job is pointless. The amount of time it takes to tailor a resume and cover letter, research the company to which you are applying and participate in multiple interviews is time consuming enough. Sit on great ideas until after you get hired.

    If you think of a potential employer as a customer, and you as a vendor of essential services, doing unsolicited work for an employer is a waste of resources. A roofer doesn’t fix part of a company’s roof in order to get a contract; they make assessments of what is needed, provide an estimate and references as part of the negotiation process.

  17. i truly think that people just don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves who are in the top. so nothing you can do can please them.

  18. Liz:

    Indeed. I think if an applicant said, “One of your employees is going to die in a week or two at their desk,” I’d be calling law enforcement, not hiring them.

    Or perhaps Gerald is just a merry trickster on this board?

    • Could it be that the death rate for 1 person in 10,000 is a good bet statistically? I would think that the part about “at their desk” is a stretch though.

  19. These are creative people that should open there own business not work to make someone else rich. But each person shows that they are above the usual crowd. It shows that using your mind can bring you big things. I use software http://bit.ly/cripZR and my mind to make a living. thank you for this entertaining article.
    Gabriel

  20. I was in a career for 11 yrs and then a very different one for 7 yrs. Now I need to completely reinvent myself again and, frankly, I’m lacking confidence. How does one have confidence when you don’t know where you’re going next? I’ve done the career counseling my last employer offered after my lay off, but I’m having to do something else. There ARE no jobs in the two areas I worked in before. Can’t go back to school. Have a high mortgage, etc.

  21. Re: Gerald’s prediction

    Actually I think he was showing a keen understanding of probabilities, which might be very useful in an accounting job (especially auditing). It’s highly likely that 1 person out of 10,000 will die next week, in any population. Allowing for 2 weeks pretty well sealed the deal, and covered for the probable lack of very old people. Of course, I think the part about “dying at his desk” was probably just a bit of the old blarney, but generally the stats are perfectly valid–without considering murder.

  22. Pingback: Freshers Yaar! » Blog Archive » Hiring Managers’ Most Memorable Applicant Mistakes

  23. Back in the “good old days” before email I was living in a small town in Wyoming and looking for a job. I sat down and wrote a letter “To Whom it May Concern” listing my abilities and qualities. I used the yellow pages and mailed a copy to every business in town that I thought might put me to work. I ended up with 10 interviews and 3 job offers!

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