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Looking for a Job? Why I Would (or Wouldn’t) Hire You.

This post was inspired by what I’ve learned of business management since moving to Taiwan. Although we’re a US company, a great number of our team is located in the Taipei office. I’ve been learning an incredible amount of HR during my time here.

Why would I hire you?

From an employer perspective, I want to talk about why I would hire you. By you, I’m talking about either:

  1. Graduating/recent graduate from college.
  2. Someone with no experience in the industry.

So, what do I look at when you’ve sent me an application?

Job titles don’t matter. HR doesn’t care about job titles. I don’t care if you were a member, an officer, or an intern. What matters is what you did during your time there.

  • Anecdote: I was the “Internal Vice President” of an organization for a few months. I did absolutely nothing. I kept it in my resume and talked referred to it often in a 1.5 hour interview. There was zero substance to each of my references. No, I did not get a second interview with that employer.
  • Anecdote: You were the class president in 6th grade. What did you do for the class again?

You’ve shown commitment for a goal. Were you making a lasting impact, or were you bandwagoning on an established name? Were you doing repetitive tasks, or were you growing yourself and the goal?

  • Anecdote: I spent a mere ten weeks with an organization. During that time, I worked with an MBA student to pivot the organization’s business model by identifying five potential streams of revenue, and how to achieve those sources. I presented for one hour to the entire company. Disclaimer: these were long term goals (5-7 year plan), which means revenues have not actually increased yet. But, this was an independent project which I committed myself to.

Time with an organization doesn’t matter. It’s quality of time that matters.

  • Anecdote: I was part of a dance studio for three years. The first year was terrific, as I was learning new dances, performing often, and teaching new dancers. The next two years was doing the same thing repeatedly, no growth from both dancers and dance studio’s end.


You have done something with your interests. I will laugh if you tell me that you have always been curious about my line of work. Prove it. No proof? That’s because you wrote the same thing in 10 other job applications, goodbye. Prove to me that you’ve cultivated your interest.

  • Anecdote: I read a friend’s statement of interest to SAIS for the African Studies program. He’s not a US citizen and had numerous grammatical issues, but I am confident he will get accepted. He has an interest in Africa-China relations. He went to Africa as a journalist for over a year. He visited many countries, conducted interviews, and explored. As an employer, I would believe this man when he says that he’s interested the program. He’s pursued it.

You don’t give up easily. Investing in a new hire is hard. The company takes a risk – rejecting others while accepting one who quickly calls it quits (or is terribly incompetent and fired) is a waste of valuable time.

  • Anecdote: Our newest hire did 70-80 hours her first week in the office. She worked on Saturday and Sunday to learn our trade. She did almost 40 hours the following 3 days. She struggled, but she asked questions and persevered. Her position in the company was held by three people in the past year, all who were fired. She’s made the cut. Note: This is pretty normal in the business or corporate world.
  • Second note: There’s a reason why many CEOs of Fortune 5,000 companies were former rowers. That type of “do not quit” mentality and discipline makes a great colleague/leader. I respect anyone who has competed in high level team sports.


You know the job.  Show them that you know your purpose in the company. Show them that you’ve done research about the job position and the company as a whole.

  • Anecdote: I modify my resume and cover letter for every job I apply to, based on not just the job description, but on the company’s mission statement and information. Before every interview, I made sure to understand what the company does, and how my role affects the company. What sounds more impressing?
  1. Why did the company decide to create this product X?
  2. I understand that the company creates and sells X. Its competitors in the market are A and B, which deliver a product Y. What does X offer that Y does not, and what else are consumers looking for?


Remind them that you want the job. HR doesn’t sit around all day with an objective criteria of who they want to hire. They are actually very busy people. If they aren’t, you don’t want to work for that company; they’re going out of business.

  • Anecdote: I answer up to 200 emails a week. Our hiring manager answers up to 400 a week. We don’t spend our time on deciding which applicant stood out the most out of a pool of equally qualified individuals. Send a follow-up email. Thank the interviewer for his or her time. Send two, if there has not been a reply.


And more, future business posts to come.


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