In a savvy marketing twist, companies had to apply to hire Saul Colt

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Saul Colt is an experienced marketer who has worked with high-profile companies such as FreshBooks and Xero, so you would figure he would have no problems finding a job.

But after finishing a one-year contract with Xero in San Francisco, Colt discovered that getting his next gig was more challenging than he had anticipated.

In spending a month applying for multiple positions, Colt said many companies did not even respond. The companies that did get back to him shared two common themes: they could not afford him, or they were concerned that he would get bored.

To Colt, this was a perplexing situation but it was also an opportunity for someone who has a well-earned reputation for creativity and capturing the spotlight by doing things differently.

Rather than continue to use the same approach to job-hunting, Colt decided to turn the tables. Rather than apply for a job with a company, they would have to apply to hire him.

In an interview, Colt revealed: “I said ‘I am a marketer so how would I develop a campaign to find a job?’ This is what I came up with. It fits with my personal brand. It’s the type of marketing that I like to do and it gave people a real idea of what I’m capable of doing.”

Using Google, Colt created a “super light and easy” form with seven questions. Among them were: What does your company do? How can I help you solve your problems? How did you hear about my job search?

To spread the word, Colt used his blog, social media updates and invested $300 in a Twitter advertising campaign. To his surprise and delight, the campaign hit a chord. He had 21,000 people visit his blog – an eight-fold increase from the previous high. As well, there were 39,000 mentions on Twitter, including 21,000 organic tweets.

“I think the reason it is interesting is that it really speaks to a pain everyone understands,” Colt said. “There is nothing scarier than a job search. It is your future and your career, and the person doing a search has the least amount of power in the whole equation. You put on your best clothes and use your best manners and try to predict what people want to hear. I wanted this to be ‘This is what you’re going to get. I hope this is a fit because this is not everyone cup of team’.”

One of the key considerations for Colt was not just finding a new job but working for a company where he could stay for a long time. “At this point in my career, I am looking for fit because I am tired of working at places for a year at a time, I want to stay for a decade. This was my opportunity to dictate fit.”

Coltmain

Aside from the attention of social media, the campaign attracted 41 applications. Of those, 20 were legitimate and seven were “really interesting”.

Colt added: “Two of the seven were on my wish list of companies. One of them wasn’t a fit, even though it was the most desirable company on my list.”

Colt did interviews with the seven companies that caught his attention. Although some of them did not turn out to be attractive opportunities, Colt said he ended up joining Hubba as Director of Non-Traditional Marketing, as per today’s announcement.

Why Hubba, a B2B product-sharing and discovery platform? “I like that Hubba is not a disruptive technology. The majority of the companies that applied were ‘disruptive’. That’s cool, but the thing with disruptive is that disruption in itself is ripe for disruption…If you look at my career, I have always been in a place where I am about helping people grow their companies and Hubba keeps me in that mindset.”

Colt said the exercise was fascinating because it changed the dynamic of looking for a job. “I don’t know if anyone else had the ridiculous notion to say ‘I will interview you, you will not interview me’ but if other people can do it, I would love it. It has been a really interesting process to have companies apply to hire me.”

Main photo via Saul Colt

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Mark Evans

Mark Evans

Mark Evans help startups and fast-growing companies tell better stories (aka marketing). His strength is delivering “foundational” strategic and tactical services, specifically core messaging, brand positioning, marketing strategies and content creation. Find him via his blog