Text OOPS… I tried to hire a 17 year old
I keep my eye on people who I would love to work with, so much so that I set up a column in my hootsuite, just to track their tweets. I’m attracted to hustle, I can’t help it.
So it was no surprise that one day I realized that I was constantly seeing someone posting great stuff about SEO, getting RT’s from some people I seriously respect in the industry, weeks and months go by and I continue to see great stuff from this person. So I added him to my hootsuite column to make sure I kept a closer eye on his work. I didn’t just want to keep an eye on his work, but I found myself learning from him. I didn’t know who he was, but I knew that in some areas he got me thinking in new ways. I didn’t know how long this person was in the industry and honestly I didn’t care, I was learning from him.
This was the second person in the industry whom I met that I was impressed with, whom I later found out was not even 18. The first was Ed Frye, this person was Jon Cooper - read his blog, if you were hiring SEOs wouldn’t you want to speak with him?
After seeing enough posts, I was interested in dropping Jon a line - see what he was up to. Like most people who catch my eye, age means absolutely freaking northing to me, and given how high quality his posts are and how he carried himself on twitter (No I <3 Glee style posts) I assumed he was somewhere around 25. I sent the email out, a simple hey would you ever think about working with us at SEER?
Got a response back, he mentioned that he might be in Philly anyway since he was applying to a local college here. Now again given the quality of his posts, I immediately thought MBA, wow this kids got ambition, even better. Then he corrected me, it was potentially undergrad.
Yeah my jaw hit the ground. HARD.
Then the smile on my face got HUGE. It was a reminder of what I love about this industry, its one of the few industries where those who want it most can get it. There are thousands of applicants who have sent in their resumes over the years, and while the vast majority never got past a phone screen, here I was chasing down a 17 year old! How does that happen?
Social proof! I was able to SEE that this 17 year old, was able to start leading this industry in his own way and show this industry what he’s got, and we all paid attention. The veterans of the game, the new comers, etc. I was learning from someone who was 4 when I started my SEO career, barely out of diapers.
Its funny, I look back at 6 interviews I had this year where someone SEEMED to almost have it all, but they had NO social proof so I didn’t hire them, but at the end of their interviews, I said to each of them you seem to need a little more exposure to SEO, but its a self taught industry, come back to me in 6 months with a site that you took, got ranked, and show me the rankings and traffic and I’ll hire you. At the interview every one of the 6 said, “oh I’m so on it. I want to work at SEER, I really love what you are trying to do here, I’ll show you in 6 months” It never happens. Why? Maybe they weren’t serious in the first place. Either way I don’t work with them, so thank God.
Then I add them to my twitter “I’d like to hire” stream and guess what? They never ask a question about SEO, they never tweet about the industry, they never build that site,they never follow the leaders, they keep on tweeting about Wiz Khalifa or their Phillies rants, which is fine, but they’ll never work here. These are people with 2-8 years experience in marketing. Sorry…I’ll take a 17 year old over you any day. Heck I’ll take that 17 year old over 80% of SEO’s with 5 years experience. You can teach people business etiquette you can’t teach them hustle.
17 year olds of the world, college students of the world, bring it on, your desire to kill it keeps me on my toes to never relax.
This quote is tattooed in my eyelids youngins, I see it when I sleep!!
“Someone always wants your spot, its your job to make sure that mother****er never takes it” - Sean Combs.
For Jon and Ed, you guys are an inspiration for old heads like me, keep your hustle in whatever you do. Its energizing to see you guys.