THE BLOG
09/30/2013 03:23 pm ET Updated Nov 30, 2013

Stupid Job Search Tricks

You already understand the creep factor in a job search stunt. People doing anything, even if it's creepy, to find work. But you also understand the soul sucking desperation of trying to find work when there are no jobs. It's pushed you into the intersection of Panic Street and Resignation Avenue. Maybe you are ready to try anything?

So you start going down the checklist of standard issue stunts. Trying to find the least creepy attention getting device. Sending Cookies? Overnight the resume? Donning the resume sandwich board and roaming the streets? Circus clown? Mime? Calling the recruiter at home . . .wait . . .what? The checklist just jumped from creepy to stalking.

The on-line advice offers a depth of guidance that comes down to three choices.

#1--Stunts are bad.
#2--Stunts are good.
#3--Look at all that desperation.

You wonder, isn't there more to it than that?

Then you find a friend who actually tried a stunt and got the job. Her stunt was sending a tiny pair of baby shoes to a hiring manager. Was that the secret? The magic? Sending baby shoes means you'll get an offer too?

Listen to her story. Then you decide if you want to run to Costco for mass quantities of baby shoes.

Laura's Story

"I was amazed at how much useless advice on interviewing was out there. I mean, I'm no Sheryl Sandberg. I'm not even a third string 'Life Coach' for Sheryl Sandberg. Truth told, I don't even know what a 'Life Coach' does. But I do know how to make friends. And the interview really wasn't the tough part.

The tough part was GETTING the interview! I figured out after about a month of getting no responses to on-line ads that I was wasting my time there. No one really lets a stranger have a shot at a job anymore. And the whole 'gatekeeper' thing. If somebody's job is to tell you "No"--why would they give me any different response? Oh, I know there is an argument to that---but if I could be honest? The argument bores me. I've been doing talent management for 10 years and I can tell you, the focus on initial screening is out of control. It's a sign that the operation really doesn't get what it means to find a fit and hire for talent.

How did I get an interview? It was through a neighborhood parents group. Something totally unrelated to looking for a job. It wasn't really that I knew somebody. I didn't. I think the days of knowing someone as a way of getting jobs are ending. Because hiring decisions are almost NEVER made by one person. What you need today is to be PART of a community. You need to communitize like it says in the book. I did use Linked In. But I used it as a data base. Not as something that would make me a friend or get me a job. I'm not a networker. I never went to a network meeting. Never joined a network group.

I talked to people I knew, asked them about people I found in Linked In. I zig zagged. Can you call that networking? I suppose. But I'm not really sure what networking means, I got the interview because a bunch of parents in my sub-division all wanted to build a new park for our kids.

The Interview Was Fun!

In the interview, I asked Marcia, my new boss, what the intangibles were that made someone successful at the company. She said, "going the extra mile." So every time she asked me a question, I included a part of my story where I went the extra mile. By the end of the interview, she was laughing and saying to me. . ."and the part where you went the extra mile was?" I remember saying to Marcia, "Hey, I think we could sing a duet where the chorus was "go the extra mile." It really was like there was some sort of music in our conversation. I felt like I was a fit.

The company was a communication company. So I made sure that we didn't just talk about my job, we talked about ways the company helped people better communicate. It was like we were talking about something larger than Marcia and me.

At the end of the interview, Marcia said, "This has been so much fun, I hate to see it end."

So I said, "Well, rather than just send you a boring follow up letter, how about if I send you a pair of Georgia Tech baby shoes that you can put up on that shelf right under that Georgia Tech pennant? You can remember . . ."

"Walking the extra mile!" Marcia continued, laughing. "Sure! That's something everyone can remember!"

Laura sent the shoes and got the job. But she did it in the context of a 1:1, 'looking someone in the eye' relationship. There was no surprise. No checklist of 'elevator statements' or 'do's and don'ts.' She used principles. Not action steps. The 'creep factor' of her stunt was zero.

In fact, one could ask, did she even need the shoes?