Category Archives: Funny

3 Interview Rejections I Learned From

Rejection. I don’t know anyone that loves it. Be it, asking your parents for that cute puppy, only to be told not a chance. Be it, asking for that girl’s number and being shut down. Be it, getting that letter from the college you really wanted to attend, and having it say, sorry, no dice.

Rejection, in its many flavors just sucks. It’s disheartening. It leaves you feeling blah. Now, I’ve had my fair share of rejection over the years. From not making the basketball team in high school to having Georgetown tell me: umm…you can come to our school, but you’re not good enough to earn even a $2.00 scholarship.

One spot I’ve definitely faced rejection was in the interview process. The Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota had a class taught by Mike Henle that was all about interview and resume prep. Honestly, one of the best classes I ever took. Whether it was that class or luck or whatever, early on in my career I generally aced interviews. I remember keeping track of my “close rate” – the ratio of offers to interviews. I stopped tracking it years ago, but I do recall at one point being in the 90% area.

Now, this isn’t about the offers. This isn’t about the jobs I took. This isn’t about my successes. This is about the failures. Specifically, I want to tell you about the 3 jobs I interviewed…that I really wanted…that I felt I was very qualified for…BUT didn’t get.

General Mills
It was just after the dot.com bust. Or rather, the middle of the bust. I was working in Chicago, but my girlfriend was Minneapolis based. And as many of you know, long distance for a relationship is no fun. Brad Smith was the director of Digital at General Mills and he was looking for a manager of digital. Several of Brad’s colleagues recommended me to him. After a phone screen, I came in for the full day of interviews. Now coming in I felt like I had a lot on my side. First, I knew Brad; it’s a small circle of digital people in Minneapolis. Two, I knew the VP of HR/Talent; she even endorsed me for the job. Three, I had a lot of CPG experience at the time. From Kellogg’s to Nestlé and from Altoids to Coca-Cola, I’d managed a lot of great brands. Four, I had the “buzz” that came from having worked at Fallon, on BMW on BMW Films. The General Mills interview process was standard…meet a lot of cross-functional team members, talk about your background, explain why you want to leave your current role, etc. Well, it was standard to a point. Part of the process involved the Myers Briggs personality test. And apparently, that’s where I failed in legendary fashion. I left the interview thinking I had nailed it. My initial conversations with Brad and HR, post interview, were encouraging and positive. A week went by. Then another. On the 3rd week, I got a call from my HR contact. She explained, I would not be moving on. I was shocked. My heart dropped. I inquired why. She hesitated initially and explained, that while everyone “loved” me and though I’d be great…I had failed the Myers Briggs test. Well, that’s a head scratcher..how do you fail a personality test, I asked. She explained, that I was too extroverted, an apparent no-no in Big G land. The test indicated that I would be the type of person who wouldn’t simply follow the process and approaches that had been used by the company or years…that I would challenge the norm too frequently. Baffled, I called Brad, who confirmed what I had been told and said something I remember to this day, “dude, I’ve never seen anything like this before, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you could fail a personality test.” Well, me neither. It’s safe to say I’ve remained quite extroverted, so I’m not exactly expecting a call from General Mills any time soon. I love many of the products in the General Mills family and have a lot friends who have thrived there. Sometimes, it’s not about talent, it’s about fit. And in this case, I didn’t fit.

R/GA
Somewhere at the middle point in my career, just before I joined ConAgra Foods, I interviewed with R/GA to run the SC Johnson business. At this point in my career, I felt I was tailor made for this role. In addition to the CPG experience I listed above, I’d also cut my teeth on Similac, M&M and a few others. In short, I knew how to move pallets of product to Wal-Mart, using digital. R/GA at the time was one of the few digital agencies doing it right. Even today, they are one of the best digital shops in the world. I had and have a lot of respect for the agency and it’s commitment to great work. After a lengthy interview process, I was notified that after careful consideration I was not going to be offered the position. My notice came via phone by the head of account management. That’s a classy move and something more companies should do. Anyhow, of course I wanted to know where I didn’t measure up. Imagine my surprise when I was told, “unfortunately, you don’t have enough CPG experience.” Huh? I mean had you said, not enough telecom or retail experience, I’d have agreed. But, not enough CPG experience? Well, that was just obviously BS. Not only was a bummed, I mean R/GA was probably one of the few shops everyone really wanted in at, but I was irked I wasn’t getting the full story. How can you improve if you don’t know where you fell short? Well, shortly thereafter, I took a job working with a great team at ConAgra Foods. We were conducting an agency review for new digital agencies. I wanted R/GA in the pitch. Like I said, they did and do amazing work. I wasn’t harboring any bad feelings and more importantly, you have to set aside personal feelings (when they exist) and make the right business decision. Well, 3 things happened during the pitch that just shows what can happen when you aren’t level with someone…it can always come back to you later on. First, during the first round of the pitch, I got a call from the head of new business, he had with him the head of account management. She wanted to tell me how much she thought of me and was thrilled that while it didn’t work out with me joining R/GA, she’d finally get the chance to work with me as a client. He, wanted to make sure, there weren’t any hard feelings…there weren’t. Second, I relayed the call to my boss and his boss; in doing so I gave them all the context. They were surprised I’d still want to work with them. But, like I said, they did amazing work. Third, R/GA lived up to their reputation and made it to the final presentation. In that meeting, the head of account management explained that R/GA doesn’t have a “B” team, because they only hire the best. At that point, my boss asked…if you only hire the best, how can you explain not hiring Adam, because I happen to think he is one of the best. I was stunned. It’s a hell of a question and not one I was expecting. Initially, they thought he joking, but realized he was serious. I honestly, don’t remember the answer and it had ZERO impact on how we reviewed and rated them. Even today, nearly a decade later, I wish I knew why I wasn’t good enough for R/GA. If you’re reading this R/GA can you let me know why…call me…maybe?

Crispin, Porter + Bogusky
Let me first say, I’ve never had an interview, ever, like my interview at CP+B. You show up. There’s not set agenda. You meet some people for an hour and others for 5 minutes. They want you to meet with as any people as possible. But, here’s the catch…if one of those people, gives you a thumbs down, you fail. It has to be 100% consensus. I learned this all after the fact. On my interview day, I showed up at 8. I sat. I sat some more. And I sat even more. Around 9:30 I met my first interviewer. Between 9:30 am and 6:30 pm I met with no less than 30 people. I met with assistants, receptionists, Jeff Benjamin, the HR team, Winston Binch and more. As I boarded the plane back home, my head was spinning. I had no idea if I’d done well or if I’d bombed. A few days later I received a call from HR. It started out great. She was complimentary of me and my background. But, you just knew…you just knew, a “but” was coming. And, about 5 minutes into the call, it came. She explained their 100% consensus policy and indicated that while the core team I’d be working with and my “boss” thought I’d be a great fit, there was 1 dissenting vote. That one dissenting vote was enough to reject me. I was bummed to say the least. Now here’s the funny part. A few weeks later, after I’d already accepted another role, I received a call from HR. The person who had cast the no vote, had left the company, which paved the way for them to offer me the job. I passed. Good thing I did. Sometimes things happen for a reason, right? A few months later, CP+B lost the account I was going to work on.

You have to learn from your rejections and your failures. As I’ve gotten older any bitterness I had from being rejected by General Mills, RG/A and Crispin subsided. You get more pragmatic and realize that “fit” is really important. You start to evaluate opportunities based on philosophical alignment, culture and fit. You realize that having a company want you as much as you want them is an awesome feeling. I became better from those experiences. I learned from them. And frankly, without them, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.

While not making the cut for the top 3, special mentions for Best Buy, Edelman and Carmichael
Lynch are well deserved.

Creating Success

What Success Looks Like

I will not rest until I have you holding a Coke, wearing your own shoe, playing a Sega game featuring you, while singing your own song in a new commercial, starring you, broadcast during the Superbowl, in a game that you are winning…

How To Create Success

…and I will not sleep until that happens.

Smell Like A Monster

Social Media Explained

Funny Or Die Hits Another Homerun

I love when people say, “hey can we make this go viral?” Or, of course, “how do we make this go viral?” Here’s the simple answer…if you want something to go viral you better make sure the content is outstanding. Funny Or Die genuinely understands this concept. Their latest homerun is a parody of Ralph Macchio. You’ll have to watch it to understand the brilliance.

Some Political Humor

Usually I hate email forwards of jokes, but this was too good to pass up.

Dear Employees:

As the CEO of this organization, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barrack Obama is our President and that our taxes and government fees will increase in a BIG way. To compensate for these increases, our prices would have to increase by about 10%. But since we can not increase our prices right now due to the dismal state of the economy, we will have to lay off sixty of our employees instead. This has really been bothering me since I believe we are family here and I didn’t know how to choose who would have to go.

So, this is what I did. I walked through our parking lots and found sixty ‘Obama’ bumper stickers on our employees’ cars and have decided these folks will be the ones to let go. I can’t think of a more fair way to approach this problem.

They voted for change…….I gave it to them.  I will see the rest of you at the annual company picnic.

THE BOSS

Should You Eat It?

Sometimes we all need a little bit of humor in our lives.  Enjoy the weekend.

Yeah, There’s An App For That

So let’s say you’re a crazy ex-boyfriend, ex-husband, stalker, etc. who just can’t let go there’s an app for you.

You can totally imagine the number of whack-jobs (very technical term) out there who are salivating over this app and wishing it was real. {shakes head and points finger}

Ahh Spam

This just really made me laugh. I hope it does the same for you.

I am Dr. Marc Schneider and I work for Global Vibration Inc.  in Washington DC  ( Tel: 1 202-250-3645 ) – I would like to speak with the person in charge of your international clientele. Who is my contact? Who should I speak to??

In fact, after visiting http://www.thekmiecs.com , I have noticed that your website cannot be found on foreign search engines (I tested  it on Hispanic search engines, German search engines, Asian search engines,  etc.) Our company is specialized in multilingual search engine promotions in 28 languages . From the Japanese Google to the German Yahoo, from the AOL  in Spanish to the MSN in Chinese, we can show you how to develop a true international online presence by promoting your website on foreign search engines.

Let us show  you how to develop a presence on the multilingual web without having to  translate your website: It is not necessary to translate your website in  order to submit to foreign search engines, however, you need to have at least  1 page in Japanese optimized with Japanese keywords and meta tags in order to  submit to Japanese search engines, at least 1 page in Spanish optimized with  Spanish keywords in order to submit to Hispanic search engines and so  on…

I strongly suggest that you watch our online presentation which  will explains clearly how to get top rankings on foreign search engines with  only 1 entry page per language (click on the following link or copy-paste it  into your web browser): http://www.mplw.net/demo

From the Japanese Google to the German Yahoo, from the AOL in Spanish to the MSN in Chinese, get users to find your website when  searching with YOUR KEYWORDS in their Native language.

Please call me at +1 (202) 250-3645 or email me and let’s work on giving your website the true international exposure which it deserves to have with foreign native online users!!

Regards,

Marc Schneider, Ph.D.
Marcs@mplw.net

GLOBAL VIBRATION INC.
1250 Connecticut Ave N.W. Suite  200
Washington, DC 20036 USA
TEL: +1 (202) 250-3645 – FAX: 1 (202)-318-2453

http://www.mplw.net

Multilingual Search Engine Promotion Services since 1999.

You just have to love how savvy these spammers are getting.  I mean WOW, bummer, German search engines are finding me.

Smart Responsive Outdoor Marketing

The person who buys and places BMW’s regional ads should win a medal for tracking down all the Audi billboards and quickly getting up this BMW ad in response.  As usual it shows that everyone is playing catchup to BMW.

More examples of the media buy can be found here.

About
Digital dad to Cora and John. Love ironing, bourbon and BBQ; no necessarily in that order. Living life, like I stole it. I'm always up for a

spirited conversation. These are my thoughts and ramblings, not those of my employer.
Learn More »