I asked a good friend of mine Josh Williams to tell you guys about a hiring process he went through that involved an informal process of Rapid Skill Acquisition. I remembered Josh’s story mainly because of one of the interview questions he was given…
“So, which Star Wars movie is your favorite?”
This is a very important question because it tells you a lot about someone. Since hearing Josh’s story, I myself have asked this question of many new hires, and I have to be honest, been quite disappointed with the answers.
The right answer, of course, is the Empire Strikes Back. I’ll even accept Episode 4 or 6, but not any of the others.
Anyway, here’s Josh’s story:
As a recent college grad, I was struggling to find job that wasn’t retail or service industry. I didn’t have much luck and became desperate, applying to jobs I was less and less qualified for. During that time, Fuel Interactive was hiring for a PPC/SEO Specialist. I had absolutely no idea what those things were but sent in a resume anyway. I got a call back and had a quick phone interview with Brian Carter. He told me that inexperience wasn’t an issue. They were looking for someone they could bring in an entry level capacity and develop they way they needed. He asked me to come in for an interview and told me to read up on SEO and PPC.
This was in 2007. SEO and PPC were a lot different back then. There weren’t as many resources available and it was only starting to become the industry that it is today. As I searched around I struggled to find a lot of reliable information, especially on PPC (which is also called SEM). It was so bad, I realized in the interview when they asked me what I learned about PPC, I had researched something totally wrong. Regardless, through pity or the impression I left, they hired me.
I was told that I’d receive “on the job training” and that I’d be “drowning until I learned to swim”. I did. I was thrown into a role I had no right to be in. Brian was a great mentor, though. He worked with me by giving me the resources and opportunities I needed to succeed and grow. His expectations were high, but that just helped me learn quickly. He also gave me the room to fall on my face more than a few times. I messed up badly, but he let me and made sure I learned from my mistakes.
The rest was up to me. Brian did a lot of traveling and would be gone for weeks at a time, leaving me, the new guy, to carry the load of the day-to-day responsibilities. I learned quickly because I had to. The job was important to me and my new family and I couldn’t lose it.
That’s the story of my hiring and introduction to the industry.
As far as skill acquisition goes:
At the time, there were no college courses available for SEO/PPC/etc and books were scare (even now books become dated quickly). I had taken some HTML classes which helped ease the learning curve, but a lot of what I learned was through Brian’s guidance, reading as much as I could find, and trial and error. Our business is all about experimentation, making changes and measuring results, so hands on experience is imperative.
For those wanting to break into SEO, the best way to learn is to start your own website, read up (there are a lot of good resources now), and try different things. Expect to mess up, but know that there’s not a lot to lose when you mess up in the beginning.
I enjoyed Josh’s story because this happened way before I began my own research into Rapid Skill Acquisition, forming it into a research driven process that works for any topic or skill. You don’t have to always run through that mythical 10,000 hours concept that Malcolm Gladwell made so popular. As I always tell people, “You don’t have time to waste time”.
Brian Carter, Josh’s former boss, is the author of The Cowbell Principle. You can also find his business HERE. Brian spoke at a TEDx event I hosted, and I have to tell you, he is one of the funniest speakers I’ve ever heard.
Josh hasn’t written a book yet, because he’s so darn busy helping people with their Internet needs. You can find him HERE.
This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading!