This week I was doing some sales recruiting for Wacky Links, the toy company I own. I put up a job listing for a sales assistant position, paid at an hourly rate of $20.  The position is essentially inside sales, via telephone. In the ad, the candidate is asked to submit a question about Wacky Links in order for his resume to be considered. The ad went out to the major job aggregators and just 24 hours later, I had 59 applicants. Of the 59 applicants, this is what I netted:

7 candidates who actually followed directions and submitted a question about Wacky Links along with their resumes. Reading the numbers backwards, that means 52 candidates who pushed send without taking the time to read the ad closely enough to follow instructions.

Out of the 7 candidates,  4 asked questions that were worth answering. They inquired about future themes for the product, why customers choose our product over that of competitors, what matters to us in the people that we were looking to recruit, etc.  Whereas 3 candidates actually had the audacity to ask, "What is Wacky Links?", showing that they had never even visited our website before applying for the job.

Out of the 4 candidates who were then asked to set up a phone interview, 2 asked my availability and 2 offered theirs.  As the person doing the hiring, my availability is the one they needed to suss out first before putting theirs forth.

Out of the 4 candidates accorded a phone interview, 0 confirmed whether they should call me or I would call them.

Out of the 4 candidates who should have been showing that they chase what they want like all sales reps must, 3 candidates reached out when I did not call them to find out why I had not called--all via email, and none via phone.

Out of the 2 candidates who finally called me when I said I had been waiting for their calls, 1 apologized for not having called, but rather than setting up a new time to talk, politely thanked me and said au revoir.  

Just 1 person moved forward to a face to face interview slot--and she was not one of the 7 candidates mentioned above. When she submitted her resume, she also called the same day to try to schedule a phone interview. When I took her call, she had researched Wacky Links and had thoughtful questions and some suggestions to share.

This is why I, and every other entrepreneur I know, rolls their eyes when they hear there are no jobs for people who want them. Someone who wants a job, especially in sales, needs to seize his opportunity. Doing so is not rocket science. It means putting in the legwork to learn about the company he is looking to join before he interviews, showing up not just with enthusiasm and creativity the day of the screening, but also with ideas on how he might concretely contribute, and then continuing to demonstrate interest by sending follow-up questions, checking in on the status of the position, and ultimately doing what every good salesperson needs to do: close the deal.