Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Out of The Box Candidate

Occasionally, I meet people who are so far out of the box that I cannot possibly help them. 

Years ago, when I ran an agency, a young woman came to see me.  She was a socialite of some sort.  She told me she wanted to be a wardrobe stylist.  I sent her to an art director friend.  He sent her to a couple of stylists he knew.  The socialite called me and bit my head off – these stylists wanted her to be an assistant.  She was incensed, even though she had no experience.  She made it clear to me that she did not “assist’.  A month later she had her own segment on “Good Morning America”.  Go figure.

I once met a potential account person who was about 24, was a year out of college and was looking for an account executive spot.  He had no experience, but was very forceful, aggressive and insisted that because of his college newspaper experience he was qualified.  I sent him out on a couple of interviews; everyone rejected him for being too aggressive.  That was in about 1992.   Today he is president of a very successful and well known mid-western agency.  Go figure.

A couple of years ago, I met a young lady from Texas.  She had two years experience down there and moved there.  I liked her a lot.  Sent her to a couple of big agencies where I thought she could get the training she needed.  The HR people at these agencies gave me the same feedback.  Essentially it was that she was too big for her britches.  She got a job at $50k working at an agency in NY I had never heard of.  That was 2009.  She just resurfaced.  She is an account director at this same no-name agency and is making a base of $100 and claims to be making between $50 and $60 more in commissions and bonuses.  Go figure.

I can’t send any of these types of people out, as much as I would like to.  They just don’t fit into conventional hiring molds.  The guy who is president of the mid-west agency did get hired a few years after I met him by one of the major NY shops; he lasted only about eight months.  When he left it was by mutual consent.  The agency hated him and he thought they were stupid.

On the occasions when I meet people like these, I never know how to help them other than telling them that they have to network and they will meet someone who falls in love with them. 

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