Jade Delaney really, really wanted to work for McCann, the global advertising agency. 

So much so that the recent graduate sent a LinkedIn message to the managing director of the firm's Bristol, England office (where she lives, apparently):  

"Today, I will be arriving outside McCann adorned in gold. Advertising, meet the #FearlessGirlBristol."

And then, she followed through: showing up at the agency's office dressed head to toe, including paint.

Quick refresher: Fearless Girl, you might recall, is a bronze sculpture that McCann commissioned on behalf of its client State Street Global Advisors last year. It depicts a young girl standing defiantly, and was placed in front of the Raging Bull statute on Wall Street.

It's been a big win for the firm, which won a bunch of awards for the statute, and reportedly led to $7.4 million in free publicity.

Did it work? Indeed it did--at least for a tryout. McCann hired Delaney for what's known as a one-month placement in the U.K., "the equivalent of a month-long trial run, or a (fully paid) chance for Delaney to prove herself as a junior member of the agency's creative department," according to Adweek, which first reported the story.

"We are lucky enough to be inundated with the CVs of graduates who are looking to take their first step on the career ladder," managing director Andy Reid said. "Jade has been brave enough to stand out from the crowd, which is a fantastic trait for anyone starting a career in advertising."

So, what was it about Delaney's effort that impressed her future bosses at McCann so much and helped her get a job, especially when we've seen quite a few would-be job applicants misfire with more misguided stunts? At least four reasons:

1. It fit the job she was applying for.

Delaney wanted to be an advertising copywriter at a big agency. The job requires creativity and a willingness to take chances, risk looking foolish, and do almost anything. The stunt showed she had all those attributes. It would not have worked as well, I suspect, if she were say, an aspiring accountant--even someone who wanted to work as an accountant at McCann.

2. It showed her passion.

I'm going to bet McCann got thousands of job applications this year talking about how great they thought the Fearless Girl promotion was. Delaney's stood out, for obvious reasons.

3. She's actually qualified.

I think this point gets overlooked in some of these stunts. Delaney didn't get the job because of the stunt; she got a chance to talk with the people doing the hiring because of it. She still had to demonstrate her ability to do the job.

4. The job itself is low-risk, and thus an "easy yes."

I think an underrated part of negotiations is that sometimes, you just want to make it easy for the other side to say yes. Here, the job on offer is a one-month tryout, not a long commitment. Now, Delaney has the chance to prove that McCann should want her longer than that.

Actually, she landed more than a job; her new employer posted about her stunt on LinkedIn with the comment, "Is this the best job application ever?" I'd call that a win.


 

Published on: May 10, 2018
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