IN 2012 MY LIFE CHANGED...
It was my 1st semester in the MBA program at The Ohio State University. Like each of my ambitious classmates, I was overwhelmed with an exhausting curriculum, overextended with consulting projects and under tremendous pressure to land a prestigious summer internship.
Each week, Midwest Fortune 500 companies like Proctor & Gamble, Cardinal Health, L Brands, Goodyear, Dow Chemical, Nationwide, Macy’s, Abbot Laboratories, 3M and Sherwin Williams would post opportunities on the internal student job board. Each week, 100+ applications.
One by one, these corporate behemoths deployed small recruitment task forces to conduct preliminary interviews with select candidates. The numerous exchanges I shared with these ambassadors dramatically altered the trajectory of my career… in a totally unexpected way.
Most of these empowered gatekeepers were younger than we were. They read questions off a piece of paper and spent more time checking boxes than listening. Beyond their rehearsed sales pitch, none of them could provide any insights regarding the day-to-day business operations.
THE MORE I ASKED "WHY?"... THE MORE I ASKED "WHY?"
After conducting background checks, I discovered none of these recruiters possessed relevant functional business experience that would remotely qualify them to evaluate the best possible return on talent investment. And yet, they were empowered to turn hiring into speed dating.
In an intimate 110-person MBA program, frequent group projects and social events confirm individual motives and character. When clowns, cheaters, slackers, know-it-alls, dictators and narcissists consistently earn interviews and job offers over leaders, that is a major red flag.
I’ve never been the kind of person who accepts the status quo, let alone an inefficient hiring process where unqualified intermediaries get paid to make flawed decisions that jeopardize the future of the employers they are supposed to serve. But to them, it’s just another paycheck.
The more I analyzed this broken system, the more frustrated I became. On average, I spent 60 minutes tailoring my resume and cover letter for each application. Over the course of an entire semester, that equated to roughly 30 hours… for 7 recruiter interviews… and 0 follow-ups.
A 31-year old professional (at the time) with 10+ years of cross-functional perspective spanning multiple industries, rare confidence and leadership lessons gained from launching and growing a startup, yet not a single gatekeeper thought I was worthy of meeting a hiring manager?
Like my peers, I sought periodic guidance from our robust MBA career services department. Initially, their counsel offered hope, but eventually I realized they were merely breeding clones with the same generic personal brand and rehearsed behavioral STAR interview responses.
Research revealed that our “expert” advisors were former recruiters, lifelong career services professionals and/or had zero business leadership pedigree. How can people who have never hired, built or managed the types of teams we aspire to join, possibly prepare us for success?
I BECAME OBSESSED WITH SOLVING THE INEFFICIENCIES OF MODERN JOB SEARCH AND TALENT ACQUISITION METHODS
It was perplexing to me that the only two stakeholders who really matter, job seeker and hiring manager, were separated by multiple layers of compensated incompetence. So, I deprioritized my income hunt and made it my mission to discover a more reliable way to control my destiny.
Over the next 3 years, I conducted over 2,500 interviews. Ironically, the guy who wasn’t good enough for campus recruiters had no problem earning meetings with entrepreneurs, CEOs, hiring managers, HR directors, headhunters, career coaches, resume writers and job seekers.
HERE IS WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY ONE-OF-A-KIND EDUCATION
Employers, HR and recruiters:
Search firms and headhunters:
- Employers receive an average of 250 to 500 applications for every new job posting.
- 95% to 99% of applicants are immediately discarded based on flawed assumptions.
- Most employers rely on Applicant Tracking Systems to track and sort candidates.
- ATS are just as inconsistent and unreliable as their programmers and applicants.
- Despite volume, recruiters complain about a shortage of high-quality candidates.
- The incentives and consequences for companies and employees are frequently misaligned with the incentives of internal or external talent evaluators.
- Investors and C-level executives evaluate business performance based on revenue and profit, but HR is accountable to application volume and time-to-fill.
- Startups, emerging businesses and high-performance middle market firms struggle to attract top talent due to lack of brand recognition, but often offer the most vibrant cultures, compelling work environments and career advancement opportunities.
- Companies with strong leadership teams, empowering cultures and a documented track record of superior performance tend not to outsource recruitment to search firms.
- Companies that struggle to attract and retain top talent, or those looking to fill temporary or expendable low to mid-level roles often contract headhunters.
Career coaches, resume writers and outplacement support:
- Despite their branding and positioning, search firms do not actually possess specialized industry expertise or build long-lasting relationships with highly-skilled talent.
- Headhunters search public resume boards and LinkedIn, identify candidates, conduct phone screens, schedule interviews and collect 30% commissions for new hires.
- Any employee can master the simplistic headhunter process; they can build long-lasting relationships, move faster and better evaluate fit, for a fraction of the cost.
- Headhunters do not conduct searches on behalf of job seekers; every moment of their day is spent sourcing, filtering or presenting candidates for contracted roles.
Executive job seekers:
- Anyone seeking career services employment can pay a small fee, memorize information and pass a standardized test to acquire a career coach or resume writing certification.
- Mainstream career services professionals collect payment in advance and reinforce client reliance on job boards, applications, career fairs, recruiters and referrals.
- Regardless of credentials, affiliations or positioning statements, most career services professionals are carbon copies of one another, teaching the same luck-based tactics.
- Outplacement firms employ certified career services professionals, charging employers tens of thousands to deliver the same commoditized support to displaced employees.
- Outplacement firms collect payment upon program enrollment; most are contractually obligated to deliver only 3 months of support, regardless of client success.
Talent evaluation, support and acquisition:
- 99.9% of executive job seekers rely on job boards, recruiters or referral networking.
- The average full-time executive-level job seeker invests 100+ hours to generate 4 interviews with an actual hiring manager; they are frustrated and demoralized.
- Most job seekers feel discriminated against based on age, experience or salary.
- Most job seekers characterize their recruiter experiences as a “waste of time”.
- Most job seekers believe headhunters work to find employment on their behalf.
- Most job seekers rely on friends, blogs and career services professionals for advice.
- Most job seekers who receive outplacement support are unemployed when it ends.
- Most job seekers who pay for resume assistance are still searching months later.
- Most job seekers have no idea how to differentiate value or market their solutions.
- Most job seekers have not been trained to think like CEOs and act like entrepreneurs.
- Many top performers are overlooked due to inferior resumes and interview skills.
- Most job seekers accept the first offer they receive and hope for the best.
Observations, challenges and opportunities:
- Most HR professionals, headhunters, recruiters, career coaches and resume writers have zero business leadership, hiring manager or cross-functional experience, and have never pursued or accomplished the goals of the people they get paid to serve.
- HR, headhunters and recruiters typically filter candidates based on experience, education, certifications, keywords, location, work gaps and salary expectations.
- Entrepreneurs, CEOs and executive-level hiring managers universally look for 4 things when building teams: passion, problem-solving, performance and communication.
- The traditional Q&A interview process incentivizes both parties to tell the other what they want to hear, failing to assess mutual fit and performance potential.
- The true cost of a bad hire is often overlooked; replacement expenses are substantial, but the opportunity cost of hiring the wrong person to begin with is even higher.
My unexpected epiphany (and unique value proposition):
- Every stakeholder interviewed acknowledged the inefficiencies of traditional job search and talent acquisition methods, yet nobody is communicating or solving the problem.
- Despite validated evidence, HR, recruitment and career services leaders are resistant to solutions that foster greater transparency, accountability and opportunity to the talent they exist to serve.
- While many 6-figure egos at Fortune 500 companies either ignored or redirected me to a gatekeeper, most millionaire serial entrepreneurs, C-level executives from billion dollar middle market firms and acclaimed rising-star CEOs made time to share their insights.
- Elite business leaders are always looking to add elite business leaders to their team, and the most successful ones are always willing to make time when engaged properly.
- Ambitious business leaders who refuse to settle for less are hungry for a more reliable and productive way to demonstrate their leadership to ambitious business leaders.
- I can teach the passionate problem-solvers how to stand out from their competition, meet with hundreds of influential executives, discover their challenges, present compelling investment solutions and cultivate a stream of target jobs and clients.
PASSION AND PROBLEM-SOLVING CAN OVERCOME ANY OBSTACLE
Fast forward to 2015, and I knew I was on to something. But, I had yet to prove anything. I had no money, reputation, credentials, book of business or support. At the age of 31, I was unemployed and living at home with my parents (and bald like George Costanza). But, I had purpose and vision.
Unfortunately, I had no clue how my business model would work… until an executive resume writer I befriended during my deep-dive analysis referenced a part-time executive job search coaching role at a boutique firm in Dallas. She recommended me to the CEO and I began the next week.
Now I had a little supplemental income and the perfect incubator environment to test my innovative concept on motivated executive job seekers. Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent my employer cared more about sales and revenue than delivering on client expectations.
One day, I asked the VP of sales to articulate the customer acquisition process. It was deceitful, unethical and I refused to associate my name with it. So, I propositioned the CEO to invest in my model or find my replacement. He chose the latter, and I launched MeetYourGig.com.
3 months of experimentation was ample time to validate my modern career advancement strategy with 7 executives. The results were exponentially better, but the traditional delivery model was inefficient, cost prohibitive and not scalable. I knew I could do better.
HERE IS WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY ONE-OF-A-KIND EDUCATION
Limitations of traditional career services:
My solution for disrupting an industry:
- Brick-and-mortar service centers are less convenient and more expensive for clients.
- Selling a la carte products and services fails to empower clients with a proven process.
- Performing tasks for clients does not educate or prepare them for long-term success.
- 1-on-1 coaching is redundant, time prohibitive, marginally productive and not scalable.
- Hiring, training and monitoring multiple coaches jeopardizes quality and consistency.
My grandiose vision:
- Process roadmap, instructional video tutorials and resources can be delivered online.
- Live small group Q&A sessions foster a community environment focused on execution.
- Recorded document critique videos and coaching podcasts create an on-demand library.
- Step-by-step guides, plug-and-play tools and built-in quality assurance ensure results.
- Unlike service models, a true educational format cultivates career-long relationships.
- Self-directed, accountability-based training isn’t for everyone; it attracts true leaders.
- The process differentiates clients, while achieving a consistent presentation standard.
- Clients who execute playbook as instructed are better prepared; superior candidates.
- Career advancement platform + high-quality candidate database = market disruption.
- Cultivating relationships with influential executives procures future recruitment clients and placements.
TRANSFORMING A DREAM INTO REALITY, ONE MILESTONE AT A TIME
Armed with crystal clear goals, inimitable expertise and relentless drive, the unpredictable journey to build a career empowerment empire from the ground up began. I may have been the architect, but I could never construct this cathedral on my own. So, I assembled a team.
Early on, we made a strategic decision not to raise venture capital. Instead, we opted for 100% customer funding. Fewer initial resources slowed our growth rate, but incentivized us to focus on maximizing ROI for customers instead of taking shortcuts to please greedy investors.
Unlike most startups, we resisted the pressure and temptation to prioritize marketing and revenue generation. Instead, we leveraged our unique know-how to acquire lead users at zero cost and invested every waking moment optimizing course content, resources and delivery.
If it took too long for clients to complete their initial value proposition development exercise, we streamlined it. If our interface was confusing, we reconfigured it. Every question, bottleneck or missing piece of the puzzle was addressed until we had supercharged our secret weapon.
The last hurdle was the toughest. Our initial month-to-month fee structure posed challenges for 2/3 of our clients. We walked away from a guaranteed 6-figure revenue stream and nearly went bankrupt, pivoting 3 times before launching an industry-first lifetime membership model.
WE'RE READY TO DISRUPT THE EXECUTIVE CAREER SERVICES SPACE
After 12,500+ hours of continuous improvement, the MeetYourGig.com platform is primed to disrupt the career services space. The Executive Career Advancement Accelerator delivers the #1 job search and career advancement ROI, far exceeding prestigious EMBA programs.
Here is our 3-year performance evaluation:
- 1,000+ executives admitted since launch in 2015.
- 1,500,000+ new connections added to LinkedIn networks.
- 20,000+ meetings and interviews with influential executives.
- 2,250+ job offers and 250+ clients/consulting projects earned.
- $12,500,000+ in cumulative starting compensation increases.
- 650% more career options 86% faster than traditional methods.
- 87% secure an offer within 90 days of launching campaign.
- 316% average client return on investment.
The data confirms two important facts: First, our modern job search and career advancement approach is truly disruptive. Second, with zero advertising we discovered 1,000+ ambitious business leaders who weren’t afraid to demonstrate true leadership to land their dream gig.
Fueled by countless earned client testimonials (we have accumulated 15+ hours of audio evidence), we’re excited to embark on the next milestone in our momentous ascent towards our grandiose vision: growing our alumni network from 1,000+ to 10,000+ by 2020.
WE GOT INTO THIS BUSINESS TO EMPOWER OTHER AMBITIOUS BUSINESS LEADERS
As we focus on the future, I will never forget the past. Unlike my peers, I didn’t get into this business to earn a paycheck. I’m just a passionate problem solver who refused to settle for less. It just so happens that my failures, education and solutions can help you advance your career.
If I hadn’t dropped out of college, lost $50,000 on my first startup, job-hopped for 10 years, encountered advancement barriers, been laid off during a recession, returned to graduate, invested in an MBA and been rejected by 100+ recruiters… I wouldn’t understand the problem.
If I hadn’t walked away from $100,000+ year jobs, sacrificed my social life, invested 12,500+ unpaid hours to familiarize myself with 2,500 unique perspectives and risked a successful 6-figure business to pioneer a truly disruptive platform… I wouldn’t have mastered the solution.
Thank you to the lazy, clueless, close-minded champions of the status quo. May they continue to manipulate mainstream society into accepting mediocrity so leaders like us can easily gain a competitive advantage, partner to accomplish extraordinary things and attain true fulfillment.
In 2012, my life changed. I believed in myself, but had yet to find the right fit for my future. Instead of chasing paychecks, I cultivated relationships with business leaders, learned from them, discovered their challenges and presented solutions. Now I’m successful, and happy.
Maybe you would like to join me?