Friday, February 29, 2008

John's Unedited Bio circa 1988, How it all started

John's idea to start the North Kingstown, RI based employment service originally named The Data Processing Connection AKA Diversified Personnel Consultants, originated from his un-forgetful experience as a recent college graduate trying desperately to find post college employment. John soon learned that employment agencies and most employers were not interested in his college degree. John was told time after time that to be considered for employment, he needed real-world experience.

Approximately, eight months after graduating, John finally landed his first professional job in the data processing profession. Upon working approximately six years in data processing, john was promoted to management, and soon found himself in the awkward position of having to tell college graduates that he could not hire them unless they had demonstrated work experience! These remembered events in John's own life inspired him to establish an employment service designed to cater exclusively to college graduates.

John's first mission was to discover whether he could actually help recent graduates find their first post college job. John began by identifying companies with a history of hiring recent graduates. He soon learned that most of these were larger corporations, and they would certainly not pay a fee to hire a college grad. Furthermore, they did most of their hiring directly from colleges. Not discouraged, John's passion led him onward.

John had never written a resume or cover letter and had no real experience with career counseling or employment search. However, he possessed a feverish passion to assist recent college graduates launch their careers. John went to his local library and checked-out every book about resume writing and job hunting he could find. He lined up the books from the library on his dining room table and set a piece of wood across the bottom of the books so you could not see the library tags indicating they were there on borrowed time. Consequently, there on his table were approximately six books, and a pencil sharpener. No computer, no degrees or plaques on the wall, no testimonials from previously satisfied clients, no visible telephone, no receptionist, not even a single sample of his resume work (What resume work?).

About one week later, John ran a $19 ad in a local newspaper (All he could afford at the time). The ad read as follows: “Computers Entry Level job search call 401-555-1212”. The ad didn't make much sense but for 19$ you don’t get much. The ad ran the following Sunday for one day. The next day on Monday John and his wife Kathy were blown away; their phone rang off the hook. John did not expect a single call, and suddenly he was deluged with inquiries about his service (what service?). John hadn't given a thought to what he would do if somebody actually called.

One of the first calls came from a young man with a fairly new college degree. He asked John what he could do for him and how much it would cost. John told the caller that he would write his resume/cover letter and work with him one-on-one until he found his first post college career job! The cost for this service is…Uh… how does $25 sound? The young man said: “you are going to do all that work for $25?” John said “yes”, and scheduled his first appointment. John knew he bit off more than he could chew, but he still remembers thinking to himself, if I promise big, I will have to deliver big!

When the young man visited John’s home, John was initially embarrassed when his son Cody began to cry in the next room. Then suddenly something very strange came over John, he looked this young man in the eye, and he saw himself! He felt this young man's pain and frustration. At that moment he thought to himself, I am going to find this man a job. I will stop at nothing. I will call one hundred companies, send one thousand resumes, I will not stop until he is hired. John was a man possessed. By the way, John worked 50 hours a week at night to support his daytime possession.

Okay, so now John has this young mans money, all $25 of it. He knew that he had to do something; he started by re-working the resume. He wrote the resume by hand and then input it in to a mainframe computer. Imagine, developing a resume on a two million dollar computer! The mainframe computer software had no spell checker, only one font style and was extremely cumbersome to work on. At the time, most people and/or libraries didn't have personal computers, they were called home computers then. Does anybody remember the Commodore 64?

Upon completing the resume, John began to call companies by the dozens. Initially, most employers had no interest in John's young client. While John continued to call companies, the inquiries for his service kept pouring in. At this point, John could do little more than tell people to send their resume. Ironically, he was telling the very people he wanted to help so desperately, the same thing employers told him when he was looking for his first job. Oh no, how could this happen?

As John continued to call companies, he began to identify a few that actually had some interest in his young client. When John wasn't calling companies, he was methodically perusing the help-wanted ads in the local major newspaper. When John came across an ad that instructed the applicant to send their resume to the Human Resources department, John would call the company and confirm a name and title of the person who should receive the resume. He would also learn who the hiring manager was for the open position and send resumes to both points of contact. Upon sending the resume, John would follow up within 2-3 business days to confirm receipt of the resume and request an interview. By the way, John had still not cashed the $25 dollar check.

Okay, so now the resumes are pouring in, John's phone continues to ring relentlessly, and he still hasn't found his one and only client a job! There were days when John had three pages of call back numbers left from inquiries about his service. He was absolutely inundated. He was working all day to find his client a job and all night at his second job to feed his family. Working on less than four hours of sleep a night, John continued onward.

John will never forget the day he called Amica Insurance Co.. The human resources department told him that they were hiring entry-level computer programmers. John explained that he charged no fee to the company and he would like to submit a few resumes for consideration. John immediately sent over the resume for his client and a few others in hopes to get the attention of the hiring authorities. Within a few days, Amica called Johns client for an interview. John spent hours preparing his client for the big day. John's client interviewed, sat for an aptitude test and was hired within approximately three weeks. Finally, John's hard work
was paying off. John still hadn't deposited the $25 check.

John learned from his first experience as a career search consultant that college graduates knew very little about how to find a job. Most of them were very passive and had no training or education regarding how to search for professional employment. They spent four years in college learning how to do a job, but not a single minute was invested on learning how to get one. John soon learned that the most effective thing he could do to help recent graduates find jobs was to teach them how.

John was not going to put on another routine seminar or write a book about how to find a job. Rather, he decided to jump right in the trenches with his clients. John would routinely invite 5-6 clients to his home and have them gather around his dining room table. He requested they bring names of companies they were interested in and/or actual help wanted ads for available positions. John told his clients to be on the look out for the ads that stated: No Phone Calls Please! and to be sure they especially brought those. John would usually start by asking one of his male clients for his resume and an actual help wanted ad. John would never tell one of his clients to try something until he first demonstrated that it worked.

With the client's resume and help wanted ads in hand, John would call the company, and ask to speak with the hiring manager(using his clients name). John's clients would watch in amazement as he made his way through the company gatekeepers and many times was able to speak with the hiring manager on the first try. When the manager asked John(or whomever he said he was) to send his resume, John would ask if it would be possible to bring one directly to the company and possibly schedule a time when he could meet with the manager. John would call for hours as his clients were continually amazed by all the interviews he was getting for them. It was even cooler when John called on the ads that read: NO PHONE CALLS! Amazingly, these companies were actually more receptive to John's calls. John surmised that because most people would never call, that the company was fielding very few inquiries about the advertised position and was therefore more receptive. Sometimes employers would use P.O. boxes as a way to mask the company's name. What most companies didn't realize is that company PO boxes are not kept private by the post office. John would simply call the post office and ask them who owned the box number. He would then call the company and do his thing.

Try to imagine what is going on here. John is calling companies saying he is somebody else (whomever his client happened to be that day), and actually scheduling job interviews for them. Some of John's clients were actually uncomfortable with his tactics, but they couldn't argue with success.

One day, John had a twenty-minute conversation with a company CEO. Johns name was George that day. Sure enough, John set up the interview. The real George was nervous because he believed the CEO would not recognize his voice or expect to hear John’s voice when they met. However, nobody ever caught on. By the way, George accepted one of the two positions he was offered at the company he went to.

John knew that if he could show people what he was doing really worked, then hopefully, they would do it on their own. John never let on, but he was always nervous every time he had to call a company in front of his clients. John was a computer programmer, not a salesman. The telephone still makes him nervous. The rest is history!

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