If I Were Running A Company…Grit

You know the story about Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion. One of the co-founders, Brian Acton, was struggling to find a job. He got rejected by both Twitter and Facebook in 2009, and afterwards, he partnered up with Jan Koum, to create one of the most unexpected sales in history.

There are two perspectives to look at:

For the job seeker:

There are dream jobs and dream companies, but you get denied by your favorite company, it’s not the end of the world. You have two options: network with your peers and apply to jobs or DIY (do-it yourself)? There is no wrong answer, it depends what path you want to take.

For the recruiter:

How did they miss this guy? If you notice on his tweet in 2009, he did talk to recruiters about a position at Twitter and Facebook. Did the recruiter see Acton was missing a skill that was important? Did he not fit in? Did the recruiter/hiring manager overthink?

It was interesting that Laszlo Bock, VP, People Operations of Google, said they look for people with cognitive/learning ability and production, not IQs and GPAs. You wonder if Acton applied there and Google missed him as well?

The overall point is, and have been making a case for a long time, that recruiting is a crapshoot. Having all the data in the world can’t determine how much grit and character in the person. What it boils down to is if the hiring manager or recruiter feel comfortable with you working at the company. Acton felt like an outsider and took advantage of his outsider status and cashed in. He’s a rare case, but for both the job seeker and the recruiter, it’s how we react after failure that determines your destination.

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