Using Polls to Increase Business

One of the most important characteristics a person can have is curiosity. Seeing all of the polls on LinkedIn, I got curious. “How,” I asked myself, “can a poll be used to help secure new clients?”

Before I could answer that question I had to do some research, first and foremost, by conducting my own poll. So, two weeks ago I launched (if that’s the right word) the above poll.

I wanted something that I knew people were discussing, so that it would attract attention, but not something that would bring out the crazies. So I chose a question about personal pronouns. As you can see, I made it clear that I had no personal agenda. I also said I would not read the comments, a promise I admit to have broken. More on that in a moment.

The first thing I had to decide was the length of time the poll would be active. I chose the maximum of two weeks. Everyday I checked to see the number of votes and the number views (which only I, as the “owner” of the poll, could see). My first lesson was that a week would have been long enough because the numbers really did not change after the first seven days.

The second thing I learned was that a massive number of people, in this case over 9,400, saw the poll. That’s pretty good advertising!

On the other hand, the third lesson was that only two and half percent of viewers cared enough to vote. But, if you think of a poll as a direct marketing campaign, in ancient times, when companies advertised through the mail, a two and a half percent response rate was seen as an overwhelming success.

The fourth lesson was that, in some cases, persons wrote comments (I had a feeling, my curiosity got the better of me, and I broke my promise!) in support of the LGBT community and then voted that the personal pronouns were “silly and unimportant.” So in public it was one thing, in private the opposite! (For the record, only I could see how people actually voted.)

As for the actual results, just so you know, the LGBT solidarity option never had more than 30% of the vote and “silly and unimportant” was always at 48 to 50%. Draw your own conclusions if using “Personal Preferred Pronouns” are helpful are not. Which brings me back to my original question:

Can a poll help you build your business?

I believe it can, as long as it is used strategically.

First, as the person posting the poll you can see who votes and how. So you can reach out to them, thank them for participating, and then move forward, after establishing the relationship, to the ask.

Second, you have to be subtle. For example, if I were to post a poll asking “Under what circumstances would you consider hiring a recruiter?” everyone who did not vote “None,” would hear from me and they would know it. So no one serious would respond.

However, if I were to ask, “How many employees do you hope to hire in 2022?” and provide answers such as; None, 1-5, 6-10, 11+, I may get some responses and therefore leads. (I know. Other recruiters will steal my idea. They may beat me to the punch, so to speak, but they can’t beat me when it comes to charm and good looks!)

Third, if the question I pose and the answers I provide show that I know what the concerns of potential clients are (and, note, this time I am not providing an example – I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid) I will be showing potential clients that I understand them and then, hopefully, they will choose to reach out to me so I don’t have to reach out to them. After all, we all prefer to work with people who “get” us.

Bottom line: done properly, I believe polling can be an important part of business development.

PS Yes, I know, I should have ended the question in the poll with a question mark and not a period.

2 GREAT CONTENT MARKETING POSITIONS

CONTENT MARKETING PLATFORM COMPANY – PRINCETON/NYC/REMOTE

            My client, a Princeton, NJ-based Content Marketing Platform Company, seeks to fill two new positions.  Candidates preferably will be located in either Princeton or New York City, but may also work remotely.  The company is growing quickly and prides itself on being fast-paced and fun.  Employees have the option to work at the office 2-3 days a week, or remotely.  A monthly all-hands meeting will be held, with the participation remote employees.

Paid Media Buyer/Trader

Candidates with at least 1-3 years’ experience running paid media campaigns optimized for Retention on Advertising Spends (ROAS) and/or website purchases for director-to-consumer clients, are invited to submit their candidacy for this position as a digital media professional who will build, launch and optimize conversion-based campaigns on Facebook.

Candidates must be experienced and comfortable in the performance marketing space; understand how to run conversion campaigns on Facebook; like to plan and keep things organized; prefer to make decisions with good data but are not afraid to make educated guesses when necessary; ask good questions; care, listen and speak up.  Having Facebook Blueprint certification, Google Analytics, and experience at a media agency would be preferred but are not necessary.  The Buyer/Trader will be working with the Director of Paid Media, Creator and Content Team, Director of Client Success, Analytics and Dashboard Team, COO, Product Development Team, and CEO.

Compensation is $70-80,000; medical, vision and dental insurance; equity.

AD TECH VICE PRESIDENT

The Ad Tech executive will help the company envision, design, and manage the build of a series of ad technologies that can enhance their existing successful content platform. These enhancements might be an ad server, data management platform, demand-side platform, or other existing or new types of programmatic ad tech.  Candidates must have a minimum of 5-10 years’ relevant experience and a proven track record of success.

Compensation is $125-150,000; medical, vision and dental insurance; equity.

To submit your candidacy, send a cover letter, along with your resume, to Bruce Hurwitz at bh@hsstaffing.com.   Qualified candidates will be contacted within 48 hours.  No phone calls please.

Beating Sexism, Destroying Diversity

A few months ago, one of my LinkedIn connections invited me to be on his podcast to discuss diversity, specifically in IT. As I am a firm believer in the importance of having a diversified workforce, I was happy to accept. Little did I know that the man had an agenda.

What he wanted was for me to confirm that IT companies discriminate in their hiring practices. I would not do it. I told him that my IT clients were fully diversified. He countered that the Big 4 IT companies, according to a study, were far from diversified. I explained that those companies began operations when diversification was not even a thing and that they had a lot of catching up to do. On the other hand, my clients had always practiced diversification. I also pointed out that the Big 4, being just that, big, slanted the statistics. Most IT firms are small businesses not colossal behemoths. Remove the Big 4 from the analysis and the numbers will improve dramatically. They won’t be perfect, but they will be more indicative of an industry that is doing what they should be doing, hiring women and minorities.

Around this time, (I don’t remember exactly as we continued to speak once the interview ended), the host stopped the recording. He said that he was going to do me a favor and not continue with, or post, the interview. He said that would be getting into trouble if it were to air. I told him that it was his call, wished him well, and ended the Zoom call. Then I had a good laugh.

Today, I am not laughing.

As my readers know, I read Inc. and Fast Company magazines religiously. They usually provide a wealth of usable information (although, note to editors, especially at FC, they are getting a bit too political). I was therefore unpleasantly surprised when the October 2021 issue of Inc. arrived and the very first article after the letter from the editor was about a company whose founder decided that she was facing sexism and had, as far as I am concerned, chosen to react with what I consider to be a fraudulent strategy. Put simply, she lied and Inc. apparently is endorsing the strategy.

What happened was that after she had met with potential clients, she followed up with emails to which her prospects did not respond. As, at the time, the company had only two employees, both women, she decided to create a fake employee, “Paul,” and give him an MBA. So, while the emails from the women were ignored, the emails sent by “Paul, MBA” did receive responses. Today, the company has $5.5 million in annual revenue. So I guess the lesson is, lying works, ethics be damned! (If my emails are ignored, I pick up the phone! But what do I know? I’m not making millions.)

I fully understand that new business owners will do practically anything to get their first clients. The problem is that the editors at Inc. titled the article, “One Way To Beat Sexism.” The founder did not “beat” sexism, she circumvented it, assuming that sexism was, in fact, the problem.

This got me thinking. If by creating a fake male employee the founder was able to beat sexism, which is bad, then why not use the same practice to beat diversity, which is good. This is really “two wrongs make a right.” You are the victim of sexism. A wrong. You create a fake male employee, a second wrong. You then get clients which is good. And you make millions of dollars, which is even better.

The problem is, if this strategy can “beat” sexism, it could also be used to “beat” diversity. Why have a diverse workforce when you can just create a bunch of fake email signatories?

I am pleased to announce that I have now hired staff. In addition to myself (Jewish and male, two boxes checked), I am being joined by Mary, MBA, (Christian and female, two more boxes checked), Fatima, CPA, (Muslim and Arab, two more boxes checked, in addition to being a woman), and Jose, Eng. (Hispanic, one more box checked in addition to him being Christian, probably Catholic, and a male). So, let’s see, in addition to myself, I now have two women working for me, one man, and together we represent at least three religions, and four races. Not bad. I think I will add Xi and, can someone tell me what an African-American first name is that everyone will recognize the person as being Black? And that should do it. My company is now diversified, or at least everyone will think it is. Impression is reality!

Sexism is bad. If you think a prospect is sexist, here’s a crazy idea, don’t work with them. Why would you want to help them build their business?

Diversification is important. It’s good business to have a workforce that reflects the demographics of your community or your clientele. It just makes good sense and is great for the bottom line. But it has to be real. Just because one person got away with creating a fake employee, doesn’t mean everyone should. It’s too important to add trickery to the mix.

How to Write a Perfect Resume

A friend sent me an email he received from a resume writing company that boasted, in the subject line, that they create “perfect” resumes. More power to them. There are just a few problems with their claim:

First, there’s no such thing as a perfect resume. And perfection, in any event, is overrated. There is a debate over who said it first but, whoever it was, was correct, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” If you are shooting for perfection, you will never finish writing your resume. Sometimes “good” is “good enough.”

Second, a resume is a tool. That’s all it is. It’s purpose is to get the recipient to invite you for an interview.

Third, I disagree with those people who say that most recipients of resumes spend 10 seconds reading them. That’s wrong. As I have written previously, they spend five seconds scanning them. Scores of resumes can arrive every day. Who has time to actually read them all? No one. And this is a good thing because…

Four, since the recipient does not have time to actually read a resume when it arrives on their desk, their first impression is going to be visual. So the document needs to be clean, neat and well-organized. Unless you are applying for a job as a graphic designer, there is no need for graphics (which, by the way, can play havoc with some Applicant Tracking Systems). Infographics look great on a report but are a waste of space on a resume. They are just clutter.

Fifth, since many initially scan the resume, not actually reading it, don’t kill yourself when you discover, after you send it, that there is a typo. In a recent unscientific poll on LinkedIn, 75% of respondents, including yours truly, responded that they would consider a candidate whose resume had typos. (Of course, this is within reason. There is a limit! And when the company does a keyword search, the typo may become problematic if, and only if, it’s in a keyword.)

Sixth, the important thing is to grab the recipient’s attention. You do that by simply starting the resume with half a dozen bullet points highlighting relevant professional accomplishments. For veterans, I always suggest, if it’s true (and it usually is) that they write, “Highly decorated veteran of the US…” and then state the branch where they served. (I once had a veteran client who could not get a job interview to save his life. After two hours he finally told me that he was a Silver Star recipient! Once that became the first bullet point at the top of his resume, his phone started ringing! A resume is no place for modesty.)

As for the rest of the resume, you want to show the recipient that you know how to prioritize. Don’t list every responsibility you ever had, just the main ones. Think of the resume as a “tease,” the trailer to a movie to get the recipient to buy the ticket and go and actually see the movie, meaning that they invite you for an interview.

And forget about being perfect. Excpet for my humbal self, I no of know won who is perfekt. If the resume gets you the interview, it’s perfect enough.

Postscript

While writing this article I came upon a survey/poll on LinkedIn asking the question if LinkedIn profiles will replace resumes. My response was to the effect that, while resumes are legally binding documents, LinkedIn profiles are not. Of course, people disagreed with me, which is their right. One person said resumes are not legally binding because they are not signed. In fact, they are. When you note on your cover letter that your resume is attached, since you “sign” the letter (even if it’s an email) you are also signing the resume. And if you are attaching it to an online application, most have a warning that by submitting the application you are confirming that, to the best of your knowledge, the information is accurate – including the resume. As all resumes are part of a job application, I believe they are legally binding. (Not everyone agrees.) After all, you can be fired for lying on your resume.

My view is that a LinkedIn profile is more like an ad. Not everyone on LinkedIn is looking for a job. I’m not. So if someone comes to me for my services, because they saw my profile, why should that be any different from my advertising my services, making the same claims as I make on my profile, in a newspaper or on a billboard? What’s the difference? Why shouldn’t “true in advertising” still apply? And an organization called “LinkedIn” even wants lies in profiles on their site reported! (One person who disagreed with me suggested that I do research before I express an opinion. I had to laugh!)

Of course all of these questions will remain questions until someone sues their employer for firing them for lying on their resume or LinkedIn profile, or until someone is sued for “false advertising” on their profile. But here’s a crazy idea: Don’t lie!