Saturday, January 10, 2009

"I Want My Fifteen Minutes Back."

I was always interviewing people at my first position in India and also here, when I was working the day shift. I was always disappointed in the quality of staff HR was coming in with. I warned my managers that I was going to ask for my 15 minutes back if they wasted my time with a stupid interview.

If you want to work for me, these are the things I look for in an Internet Marketer.

1. You need to write excellent casual English. You can't work in a dotcom serving a global audience and be an internet marketer without excellent writing skills in English. I don't care how lyrical your poetry sounds in Bengali. It's all English, all the time. I will typically send you an email to schedule to phone interview. Your response better be clean - no SMS texting style emails.

2. A crisp, clean, consistent and well formatted resume or CV. I want to know what you accomplished at those other companies. What were the goals, how long did it take you, what size was the team. What your role was in accomplishing those goals. I don't care about whether you like cricket or long walks in the sand. Just your job. If I see typos, grammatical errors, inconsistency in tense (worked, works, and will work in same sentence), you're finished. Your lack of attention to detail doesn't impress me. Don't cut and paste from other people's online resumes either. I'll notice it and Google it and see who else I really should hire.

3. If you want to be an internet marketer, (or are planning to work as a specialist of some kind - like designer - within the marketing department) you need presence on-line. I will Google you. I'd better see you on more social networks than just Orkut. If you don't have an active Facebook and Linkedin account, I'd be suspicious and put you in the "maybe" pile. This, more than your MBA, means a lot - that you get it. Twitter and any new mobile technologies will attract me even more. I want to see references. I will read those profiles completely. I will check the dates when you joined. I will notice the number of contacts and the quality of those connections. I will read the comments you leave to others, I need to see that interaction within social media.

If you're looking to do SEO, I'd better not find forum posts where you're pitching your web site to link farms or hit-builders just to jack up meaningless traffic. I want to see the keywords you worked on, the competition, where you finally ranked and how long it took to get there.

If you are a content writer, I want to see at least three samples of online content. I will test it with a plagiarism tool. If I like it and our in-person interview goes well, I will ask you to hand-write another piece here in my office. Be prepared. If I tell you that you'll probably be working on real estate sites or gambling sites, or whatever, do a little research the day before.

If you are a linker, you need to be able to tell me what the different types of link exchanges are, how they work together, and why PR and authority have value (or why you think they don't). You need to tell me the process you go through to get links, and what the expectations should be for a particular industry, if you've had experience linking in the past.

If you are a web designer, don't let me catch you downloading free web templates and passing it off as your own. Just like the content writers, you will spend an hour in my office designing a photoshop mockup of a web site. If you have UI and site architecture experience, I may ask for even more examples. BTW, and this is a huge pet peeve of mine: web designers have a background in DESIGN, not computer applications. You should have a really slick portfolio on line. If you can't make me jealous when I see your work, don't bother me at all. I'll want that hour back.

Bottom line, I like a small team that works efficiently as a team. The more HR-related tasks I have to do, the more I am kept from doing the important work that meet company objectives. To me, and most Americans, we identify ourselves by our jobs. The first question we ask in an introduction is, "So, what do you do?" It's that vital to us. More than what our father's name is. More than what our backgrounds are or whether we're married or single. Keep that in mind next time you're interviewing with an MNC or just happen to end up interested in working for a company whose marketing department happens to lead by an American, especially this American.


  1. What about blood type, marital status, and age that they put all the time in CVs?
    Oh, and just because you're a man or "boy" with an "MBA" doesn't mean you'll get a 'higher' post or a higher salary. If you want that you can apply elsewhere, maybe somewhere in Kolkata. 'Kindly'contact me for details. ^_^

  2. Nice post. But shouldn't the last sentence read as " be led by an American, especially this American." INSTEAD OF "to lead by an American, especially this American."


  3. I type and don't edit. There's probably a couple more typos there, too. Maybe we could have a contest - the winner finding the most spelling and grammatical errors. :-)

    -- Jeanne

  4. Or will there be atrophy? :-(

    [and colon P again]

  5. Atrophy? In what sense?

    -- Jeanne

  6. As in complete contrast to "a trophy".

  7. If you know so much about seo and internet marketing why don't you start your own websites, have the rank on google and make your own money?

    People who are good at seo will not waste their time working for other people.

  8. It's not about the money. If it was, why would I leave a six-figure salary in the U.S. to come here? I love the challenge of startups and building teams. I like being able to provide the insight and road map for a company to get to the next level, then implementing it.

    I've co-founded my own companies in the past and as they grow, you spend all your time processing the matters of running a business and are taken completely out of the trenches, out of building products.

    I don't wan't to be stuck sitting in a room by myself, just building sites and spam blogs for SEO rank and driving traffic just wasting people's time for money. That doesn't sound fun OR challenging.

  9. How can running your own company not be challenging?

    And using SEO to build sites is not just about spamming. It's about making lots of money, which is a very practical and necessary endeavor.

    Didn't you say you either were a freelancer or got laid off before you decided to look for a job in india?

    I just think that INdia, with all it's cheap labor would be the perfect place to start a company.

    I will continue reading your blog nonetheless because I'm interested in internet marketing and you seem to have an interesting life (moving to india and all)

  10. Kenyan Entrpreneur:

    If you read my previous response to the comment above carefully, running a company takes you out of the game. I don't like dealing with the financials. I don't posting accounts. I don't like dealing with cash flow maintenance. I'll be involved in all the project work, client interface, and I can be flexible if my budget ends up in the toilet due to cash flow issues, but I'm not into business development or sales. I'm not into filing HR paperwork or responding to the unemployment office when we disputed a claim. That has nothing to do with the work I have a passion to do.

    If anything, I'd do best as a consultant working with companies the way I do now, on a freelance level, but since I am a single parent with a single income, it is important for me, on a personal level, to have the steady income full employment provides.

    I will say that I have made a HUGE mistake in my career in not negotiating stakes in the companies I have grown. The only company I had a stake in was Lycos and back in '99, that stock was really worth something. :-) The problem with most stakes is that they expect you to be at a company for (typically) seven years, which is a lot longer than I tend to stay anywhere.

    As I am now looking for a new opportunity, your questions and those of other readers have been making me think about the best way to move forward. It may be co-founding a company with someone who LOVES the other side of the business, that can leave me to the marketing and production while they concentrate on business financials and HR issues... We'll have to see what happens. :-)