Guest post by Ainslie Hunter from Study Skills Mentor and EduWebMedia.
I found my dream job…. and I mean dream job. A blogger / editor job for an experienced teacher. It was there in black and white on the Problogger Job Boards. Sure it was December 21, but I had finished my Christmas Shopping so I sat down and got started.
A Regular Job Interview Process
In my teaching career I have applied for 5 jobs. Face to face interviews are easy. You send in the resume, they check your references and then you hopefully get an interview. My interviews have never lasted more than 30 minutes and I have found out the outcome in a couple of days.
Does that sound familiar to you?
Well applying for an online job is a whole different game.
Problogger Job Interview Process
To gain an online job as a Blogger / Editor I have completed six general steps, and one that is a little crazy.
If you are a regular reader of the Problogger Job board you will notice a trend in Job descriptions. A writing job is pretty straightforward. But many of the Blogger / Editor positions are long and vague. This job wanted a blogger who could do it all, but didn’t give out specifics of the time, pay, or responsibilities.
So I applied with two documents. The first was a standard cover letter and resume that listed my education and experience in teaching and blogging. The second was a two page proposal outlining my strategy for the company. I didn’t know what they wanted, but knew that my resume wouldn’t have given them enough information.
First email contact
About a week later I received an email from the company. They loved my proposal but were worried about location issues; they were in the US and I was here in Australia. I answered with strategies on how to deal with time difference and how we could overcome my lack of understanding of US education issues. For each point, I could see many positives from being outside of the US.
Another week went by and I had a Skype Interview planned for 5:30 in the morning. It would have been so much easier to go to someone’s office then to have an interview online. Since it was a video conference I had to make sure I didn’t look like I just crawled out of bed, my office had to be clean and my 2 year old had to be bribed with a Macca’s breakfast.
The interview lasted nearly an hour and was a standard interview, once I got over the fact that I was on a massive projector screen.
I decided to write a second proposal. It was a synthesis of ideas that came from the interview. An impression from the interview was a concern that I was an unknown person from destination elsewhere. So in the proposal I also gave examples of accountability practices that we could use to keep track of me.
On the 15th of January I was asked to submit a blog article on behaviour management. We had three days to write the post. Simple enough but I took a few risks with my approach.
Keeping up with Appearances
During the month I also made sure I looked after my blog and readers. I spent more time crafting blogs, wrote a Guest Post and became more involved on Twitter. I also put out a call for guest posts (as it was something that concerned the interviewers) Google Analytics is a wonderful tool and I was able to tell that the company was monitoring my blog on a regular basis.
Little Bit Crazy
Well now a month has gone by and the company still hasn’t made a decision yet. I wanted to make them know that I was still excited about the job and that I have strong convictions about my ability as a blogger. I wanted to stand out of the crowd. So I got a little adventurous…
I sent a Thank You Card and a box of Tim Tams. Express. To America. With a note that said “Let’s have another chat over Skype. I have supplies the Tim Tams.”
I had just read a quote from Teresa Taylor, “I never hire someone without having a meal with them. I am absolutely convinced that that’s how you see what people are really like…you can pick up all these lifestyle things that you can’t get out of questioned them sitting in your office.” I wanted to show them that I was happy to have a chat over coffee so they could get to know me better.
I reached out to an online friend. Josh from World’s Strongest Librarian put my post on his site. I wanted to see how others would respond to my story.
I sent this post to Darren.
So Did the Tim Tam’s work? Not sure. I just checked Australia Post and they are still in transit. Somewhere between LA and New York.
I still hope I get the job. I really do want it. But this experience has taught me so much about applying for online positions. Whilst blogging experience is important, what our future employers are looking for is someone they can trust. Especially if that person will be blogging from destination unknown.
We all know that trust takes time to develop with our own blog readers. But time is not a commodity you have when applying and interviewing for an online job. So you also need to find a way to show entrepreneurial spirit.
Have you got any great strategies on how to ace a blogger job and? Let us know.
Read more from Ainslie Hunter at Study Skills Mentor and EduWebMedia.
What are Tim Tams, exactly? Looks like chocolate, which would bribe me very nicely.
Nice one. For me, it is chocolate chip cookies or chocolate chip cookie pie. I make and keep fresh dough in the fridge. Then I bake up a cookie or two and bring it with, for more mundane stuff, but people never forget me. Always puts a smile on their face. I’m remembered as that lady who brought the chocolate chip cookies.
And my kids? I tell them the power that brining a little something sweet with you can bring.
I’ve always sent a thank you card to an interviewer. I’m not sure if it worked but I’ve gotten 5 out of 6 six jobs I’ve interviewed for. The one i didn’t get was one i didn’t send a card to. I didn’t want it anyway.
Great article, Ainslie! Be sure to let us know if you got the job.
@The Casual Observer – they’re a chocolate covered biscuit you can purchase from supermarkets here in Australia.
I am very much impressed with the lengths you went to secure this job. I really like the way you responded to the advert and how you followed up.
I will recommend this post to every job seeker who is planning to search and secure a job online, except for the “Express Delivery to America” part, of course :)
Your experience also implies that a touch of physical interface is definitely required in our online communication, whether it is for job hunting or general collaboration between individuals.
Best of Luck.
Always admire the Aussie references on ProBlogger Darren ;P
Yes, what are Tim Tams? Looks like chocolate – which would definitely work for me.
I was at the Triiibes conference last month and someone brought a big box of Belgian chocolate (straight from Belgium). Naturally, he was a very popular guy.
Good luck! We’ve got lots of snow here in New York (and more coming), so the mail may be a bit slow.
Tim Tams are so good they make me blush. Ainslie, if you’ll send me a box, I’ll do anything for you. Anything! glad to see you here. I told you all that worrying was for nothing!
How do I get one of this tim tam. looks good to me
Ainslie, If you don’t get that job then I’m sure several other companies will be falling over themselves to employ you after the impressive effort you’ve shown to get this one. Good luck!
I bet if you mailed along instructions for a Tim Tam Slam they would have sent a corporate jet out to Australia to pick you up.
Quick! You may still have time :)
Great article. I wasn’t sure this would be something you should be doing once I realized you haven’t got the job yet, but I may be wrong. Maybe it would put some pressure on the company to make a decision if they see you’re going above and beyond the other applicants. That I’m sure of.
I’m not one to be in your shoes. I’m not a pro-blogger. I don’t work for a living. However, I am on the flip side of that. I do have a blog where I have guest posts and they do great. I’ve also seriously considered paying some big names to guest post on the site as well as paying a regular blogger to participate. I’ve spent well over $20k on content from writers and overall, haven’t been really happy with it. After reading your post here, I can see that maybe I was being to quick to hire someone.
The biggest lesson I take from this is reconsider my hiring process. From my standpoint, I would be completely impressed at the lengths you’re going through to land a steady gig and award you the position.
I hope you end up getting it. You certainly seem to deserve it.
Wow! It is surely an taft online interview — and i always think that to get online job is easier than off line job. And this article prove that i am wrong.
Btw, great strategy that you use Tim Tam and also guest posting. Hope that you will get good news soon.
Excellent heading!!!! definitely an eye catching one. nice post
That’s an excellent article! Thanks for sharing! ^_^
Tim Tams are as Aussie as Vegemite. But you don’t eat the 2 together.
Tim Tams, now that is an aussie bribe. Bit dissapointed we don’t find out the results of your job application.
A tip to create some online credibility is a professional facebook profile. I said professional because you want to seperate your personal profile from it. Don’t want potential employers seeing you drunk/nude/without make up etc.
But photos of you, family, friends, some respectable comments, business interest, activities, it becomes your resume with pictures.
Having spent 20 years in human resource, with 8 of them in recruiting/temporary staffing, I would hire you in a “New York” minute! Your ability to provide more than the mere basics when responding to the job posting would, in my opinon, cinch your offer. Look forward to hearing that the job is yours – if not from this company then another, after having read this post (surely you now have mutiple offers to choose from). Best wishes!
Firstly – Tim Tams are a amazing chocolate covered biscuit with chocolate cream in between the two biscuits.
Heaven in a biscuit ;)
A little bribery never hurt anyone – right?
And at $50 (one packet usually costs a few bucks) taking this sort of initiative is great. I don’t think that anybody else applying for the position would have thought to do something like this.
I have often heard that it is very beneficial to take an extra step here and there to stand out from the crowd. Let me tell you a delivery of Tim Tams would do the trick with me.
Hi Darren, loved your post, some alternative titles that came to mind (it’s late and I got a bit crazy, hope it’s not offensive):
– How I Tim-Tamed my way to a blogger job
– Skype, Blogs and Tim and Tam
– Tim Tams – This is how real bloggers post!
– Tim Tams – Posting doesn’t mean you’re a blogger!
– Tim Tams – Dip your way to a blogging success!
– Dip, Digg, Tweet, Tim, Tam
That’s all for now.
Good day – Ami
I just have to say that candy looks delicious, mind sending me a box too?
You difficulty put a ton of effort into landing this job, if you don’t get it you’ll get something better if you treat all your job offers this way. Good luck :)
To Dave Rowley – yep, mentioned the slam as well
Adam – great tip about Professional Facebook Page, will try that as well
Did I get the job – Afraid not, was emailed on Friday to say I missed out.
But this post will certainly be added to my resume.
Thanks for all your support, and to all who haven’t had a Tim Tam yet – add it to your “Things to Do” list.
An inspiring story …. for Problogger Jobs. :)
Congrats on your new job!
Tim Tam’s are a nice bribe for jobs….lol
In my non blogging world I swear I got my job because of chocolate. I brought it to my interview and I have been there now for 8 years!! I think you are doing all that you can. I mean come on you got a post on problogger! How awesome is that!!
Those chocolates cost $50 :/ ?
Sorry you didn’t get the job, but tomorrow is another day.
Your ability to take the initiative has won your readers over.
You are well on your way to success, and it goes without saying that companies will be ready to hire you in the near future.
Just put your best food forward, that’s all, and shoot for the gold.
It is also a sign of our post-industrial times, that such information-based jobs can be assigned from anywhere. You can be location independent and tap into a storehouse of opportunities available world-wide. Until recently, this options was not available to so many people all over the world.
You could be living in the countryside in Australia–someplace remote and godforsaken–and yet have projects and assignments at your finger-tips. Buying a laptop is a good investment for people like you, who want to tap into such resources. Please keep on pursuing your dream and keep on writing to us. Thanks.
Was the typo in the note in the actual note or just in the post?
“I have supplies the Tim Tams”… should be supplied right?
If it was in the actual note I could see how that could affect their decision for a writing position…
Thank you for sharing this information. Just wondering, though, could you send me a copy of the proposals without sending specifics? This would be great to know. Also, blessings on your new job.
I noticed that you have two blogs there. Did you have to open a separate bank account for the second blog? Can you use the same business information for the second blog?
Lol – Tim Tams! Great tactic Ainslie! I would prefer a snicker bar however (ha).
Great post, thanks
Never heard of TimTams. Thanks for the article Lara.
I agree with some of the other comments here:
-What are Tim Tams and why did they cost $50…was it the shipping from Australia to US?
-I admire your energy, but it certainly seems like you had to jump through a lot of hoops. Why did you want this job so much? The pay? The exposure?
-Do you have any idea who your competition was?
-It seems like for all they put you through over time, they could have just tried you out already and made a decision by now.
-With all due respect to the company, they seem to be overdoing this process. Good luck, though.
Thanks for sharing this post. It has inspired me.
I reckon it’s Tim Tams should be hiring you! International Product Exposure Spin Doctor at least. With an approach like yours, you’ll achieve anything you aim for. Good luck
The package cost $50 because I sent it express. Tim Tams cost about $2 australian if they are on special.
For questions regarding why I jumped through so many hoops – I thought the job was a perfect fit for me. Hadn’t even asked the pay but it would have been a 20 hr week job.I have a feeling that the competiton was stiff for the job.
Maybe i should try that strategy, giving a thank you gift to my interviewer, they all look so serious in my interviews.
@Ainslie did they say thank you for the Tim-Tam’s? XD
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