Have you ever wondered about how to stand out from the crowd and be different from everyone else? Maybe you have a passion for something, but it runs into complete opposition to what you’re doing right now. Maybe you thought it was just too crazy to do. People would think less of you or maybe you’d embarrass yourself. We’re talking about doing the opposite, doing things that go against the norms of society, against the norms of your friends, and even your own assumptions and beliefs. I’ll tell you about my experience creating the do not hire me campaign and you’ll find out why sometimes doing the opposite is exactly what you need to be aiming for.
Link: Do Not Hire Me
Why We Go With The Flow
We tend to have a herd mentality as humans, you know, we have these metaphors: Go with the flow, run with the pack, follow the leader. You know, these metaphors only come out because it’s something that we talk about commonly in our society. And our society promotes those who follow Western society’s view of the world: Climbing corporate ladders, making more money at the expense of happiness. Being politically correct and social functions, not offending anyone, even if by accident.So there are lots of examples out in the world that have contributed to our way of life, which is mostly a passive one and one that’s all about kind of following the leader doing what’s correct, but I think that’s changing with the millennial generation.
We often hear stories about millennials going after the careers they have a passion for, for just following the doe. We’re burdened with student debt, which makes this even more challenging, but also more interesting. We were kind of screwed since we graduated college. Right? We were well aware of this. We we entered into the professional world in the recession. We know what it feels like to be in a dead end situation, dead end in debt, in careers. Sometimes even in our relationships. This isn’t new to any of us as millennials, so more often I hear stories of people finding their own way out, trying to make the best of the situation that they’ve been placed in instead of just going with the flow.
The Worst Hotel in the World
So I was in between advertising agency jobs in Los Angeles and I was looking for work and I was trying to apply to jobs. I had applied to like 60 different jobs and I think about like 36 or one to two months and I was thinking like how am I going to land a job in advertising by promoting my creative skills and at the same time while standing out from the crowd. So I found this book and it was called the worst hotel in the world and it’s about this hotel in Amsterdam, which is a real budget hotel called the Hans Brinker hotel and their advertising campaign, dating back to the 1980s, was all about promoting their hotel being the worst.
But it’s an interesting story to learn that in a sea of lots of people competing to be the best of anything. The Best Hotel, the best luxury suites, the best rooms. They competed to be the worst and they had no competition. They had no one else they needed to compete with. So the bar was pretty low for them, they just had needed to have fun and be creative, you know, the kind of joke when they’re serious and when they’re serious, they kind of joke in these advertising campaigns in this book taught me to be alone ship in my own sea.
The Story of Do Not Hire Me
So I kind of doubled down on that concept. And so what I did with do not hire me was to flip the table on a typical kind of quote, hire me pitch, but then keep a familiar structure that lots of hiring managers and recruiters would be used to. So this will be like, well a list of skills, list of qualifications, photos of me, you know I would tie this all to kind of consistent graphic design on a website. So I’d show that I’m capable, but my goal was to guide visitors through a short story that had a twist of kind of honest humor. Like, “here are all the reasons why I’m qualified, but you shouldn’t hire me.”
So the goal of this kind of persona or this whole Do Not Hire Me project was to act with a reverence: to not give a crap about normal society, to show your skills and a perfect way, you know, clean cut, resume, well do that, but also have fun with it and do the opposite of what is normally accepted when you’re looking for a job. So I built the only website I think at the time that was to deter recruiters from hiring me. Even if I had a great background in advertising. It was very sarcastic and then I took that even a step further and I doubled down on that. And so I didn’t get the response I want to just from posting a website. So I decided, “well, I’ll do this live on the Internet.”
The Live Event
I’ll be the first job application live on the Internet for people to not hire me. So I got millions of visitors through a live stream and, and twitter to help get me hired by standing on the street in Santa Monica with kind of a step. And repeat background with me and some funny props and I got strangers on the street to take videos and photos with me and then I would post them and I would tag influencers in Los Angeles or advertising and marketing agencies in Los Angeles with some really snarky copywriting and sarcastic copywriting that I had a copywriter right for me head of time. So it’s really well executed.
But the whole, the name of the game was to get people talking about not tire me, even though I was totally capable. And at the end of the day I got six job offers, which was a pretty awesome feeling that doing the opposite, trying to stand out from the crowd and promoting myself as kind of the best worst candidate to hire for it.
Do The Opposite
Kind of in the end, doing the opposite can be a good thing. You can kind of think of it like a gut check when we try new things, we never usually think of the exact opposite, right? But it’s exactly that. That’s what I needed to do at that time in order to say, “Hey, I’m different than everyone else” and I competed with no one else. No one else that I knew of was saying, “Don’t hire me” either. I was the only one out there and I think that’s why it made it so successful.