By Alyssa Curran
Most of the world loves dogs, but how many people can say their dog helped them get a job? Will B. of Chicago can. And he has Checkmate―a spry black Labrador pit bull mix, a ‘shelter special’―to thank for it.
Will was looking to make a career change but was struggling to move into the web development industry. He’d been job-hunting for about three months, checking LinkedIn and Indeed, when his wife and his dog unexpectedly next-leveled his job-hunting efforts.
“We had Checkmate sit on the chair and put his paws on the table, and I kept cracking up because I felt like he was interviewing me,” Will recalls. “My wife took the picture and put it on Imgur with the description, ‘My husband’s been trying to get a new job. He’s been practicing interviews with the dog.’”
The post went viral; making it to the front page of Imgur. When that happens, traditionally the poster will edit the original post with thanks and requests. His wife Emily edited the description to include, “Wow! Send entry-level web developer job leads in the Chicagoland area!” And that’s when Event 360’s Director of Information Systems, David, reached out.
“I just came across Will’s post while browsing Imgur. The great thing about the internet is that you can follow the most random connections,” said David. “On the photo, I added the comment, ‘Please, please, please have your husband send me a résumé. I’m setting up interviews next week and we are looking for someone entry level. I can’t guarantee him a job, but I can guarantee him a fair shake!’”
But why, quite bluntly, would David, the hiring manager, put his confidence in somebody who just posted a picture interviewing with a dog?
“Why did I choose to reach out? Because the post mentioned that Will was trying to switch careers but had been having a hard time of it. I’ll always root for the downtrodden. He was obviously doing what he could to improve his interview skills, which demonstrates the self-motivated ‘do-what-needs-to-be-done’ spirit of our team. That he was practicing with his dog and allowed his photo to a) be taken and b) be posted publicly showed that he had a sense of humor and wasn’t the stuffy type. Also, dogs are a great judge of character.”
Does it matter which social network David found Will on? Sure!
“Traditionally, it isn’t what you know as much as who you know that gets you the job,” David points out. “It’s about networking: your sister’s cousin’s friend’s dog walker who knew a guy. We’d much rather hire someone who got a vote of confidence from someone we already know. Facebook friends/met once at the Rotary Club/whatever. A post on Imgur is just another extension or interpretation of that,” he continues. “No, I didn’t know Will personally, but he was part of the Imgur community, so he was known. And based on that community, I imagined that he might fit well with the rest of our group.”
As social media becomes more intertwined in our daily lives and more companies rely on it to recruit, we will hear stories like this more often.
“Where you meet someone is not relevant to their ability to do a job. It does, however, give you a bit more insight into their personality―something that might not show through when they have their best face on for the interview. You aren’t just hiring skills. You are hiring a person. Our company is built on a foundation of team. Team is nothing without great people. Where and how you meet someone can give you insight into how they might fit in,” David said. “And a thumbs up from the dog doesn’t hurt, either.“
Alyssa works on digital marketing for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, a 60-mile walk to end breast cancer. In the past she’s managed social communities ranging from teensy-weensy to massive. When she’s not tweeting, “Liking”, or blogging, she’s crafting recipes in the kitchen, playing with her daughters, or buying more nail polish she doesn’t need. Tweet her on Twitter or link up with her on LinkedIn.