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A Killer Job Applicant Process That Resulted in 223 Candidates, 20 Interviews and 3 Hires!

A Killer Job Applicant Process That Resulted in 223 Candidates, 20 Interviews and 3 Hires!

August 14, 2008

The following job ads and process is graciously provided by Jeremy Shapiro of ForeclosuresMass.com

After 9 months of running job ads and getting very little response, Shapiro decided to create a sales letter approach to hiring. He used the letter to screened applicants before they met with him. Here's how he did it.

Step 1: Prospects see our online ad (SEE BELOW - this was put on Craigslist)

Step 2: After reading the two-page sales letter, if they think we'd be a good fit, they apply. SEE BELOW for the form.

Step 3: After they submit their application into our online career system (we use this for other positions, too), we review their application and if we don't reject it, we rate it from 1-5 stars.

Step 4: All 4-5 star applicants get an email that says:

[First Name],

Thank you for your interest in being my assistant! I've reviewed your
application, and if you think it makes sense, I'd like to send over
a 3 page questionnaire for you to complete and send back. It will
give me a better idea of who you are and upon reviewing your answers,
if it looks like we'll be a good fit, I'd like to have you in for
an onsite interview.

If you're interested and would like me to send the questionnaire over
to you, please reply back and let me know!


Jeremy Shapiro

Step 5: They reply back asking for the questionnaire and I send it
over. SEE BELOW for the questionnaire.

Step 6: They have to fill out all 3 pages, and email the document back to me at the address in the document. If they send it to the other address, they can't read directions or don't have good attention to detail!

Step 7: I review their questionnaire. If it looks good, I have them in for an onsite interview.

Step 8: If they do well at the onsite, we move forward from there.
Rough numbers: 233 applications; 121 didn't get rejected (1-5 stars); 76 (the 4-5 stars) were offered the 3 pager; 31 requested it and sent it back; 20 came in for an onsite interview; 3 were hired.




Assistant to Owner

This is a Full-Time position located in Santa Clara, CA.


I'm looking for two incredible assistants to help me around the office during the week.

Specifically, I need help with packing and shipping orders, printing documents, running to the post office, picking up lunch, stopping by the printers, and other occasional local errands, connecting inbound and outbound phone calls, helping customers on the phone and by email, reviewing articles and documents and writing executive summaries, taking minutes and drafting summaries and procedures, doing inventory weekly, posting information online daily, assisting me personally with miscellaneous tasks (wedding planning, oil changes, lunch, online purchases, reservations, etc...), daily scheduling and appointment setting, etc... and overall, seeing to the day-to-day details.

Personality wise, I'm looking for:
- Someone who can take a project and just "get it done." I don't want to hear about the problems and issues and reasons that come up, I simply want the results agreed upon to be competed on schedule and to spec, no excuses. Let me repeat that point - no excuses. Either something is done or it isn't, there is no "I tried", "I'm waiting to hear back from someone", "I sent them an email...", or "I don't think it's possible." Either it's done, or it isn't.
- The love of schedules. I.e., you make and manage your own (and my) calendar, stick to it, schedule tasks and appointments, and get things done on (or ahead of) schedule.
- Someone who can work on their own. I may not be in some days, and you need to be able to work on your own, answer your own questions and move ahead without waiting. This also means you can work without disrupting me or others. I have a very short attention span and am easily distracted. One little interruption can throw off my thoughts entirely. We'll have scheduled times to catch up on projects, go over any questions, etc..., but you MUST be able to do your tasks and projects on your own with minimal interruption.
- Someone to tell me "This is now my problem, not yours; I'll take care of it!" For example, if a vendor screws something up, or doesn't deliver, you'll straighten things out, switch vendors, or do whatever it takes so I'm not asking or worrying about a project. As far as I know, things are moving along on schedule.
- Someone who always says "Good morning!" and leaves their personal life at home. When you're here, you're here and no matter what happened before you walked in the door, you're "present" when you're in the office. Upbeat personality is key.
- Someone who is personable and gets along with people, i.e. customers, vendors, and co-workers, and has no problem picking up the phone and talking to a stranger, helping someone out, or setting someone straight in a firm, yet professional way.
- A dynamic person who can switch projects and focus with ease, and can easily multi-task between various projects. Things change (including my mind, at times!) and this should be both expected and anticipated!
- A "If I don't know the answer, I'll find it" personality. We encounter new things every day and often don't have answers internally. You'll often have to pick up the phone and get an answer from a stranger!

I am NOT looking for:
- A 9-5 punch-card "Hey, I got done what I could today but I've gotta jet" kind-of person
- Someone who comes in and thinks "Hmm... what should I do today?" (Hint, before you leave, your should already know what you're doing the next day)
- Someone who likes to yap with co-workers while or instead of working
- A deadpan personality
- A "know it all." (None of us know it all. Know what you know and know what you don't know. If you don't know the answer, find it!)

Who I Am
I am a fast thinking, fast talking, fast acting, results-focused entrepreneur, originally from the Boston area. I moved to the Bay Area a bit over 2 years ago to be closer to family, warmer weather and better Mexican food. My business partner, Sheila, and I have been working together since 2002, and successfully launched this business together in 2003.

What We Do
We're a 4 year old (and growing!) company that helps real estate investors find out about investment properties and we provide them with the education on what to do with those properties. We don't have any foot traffic in our office, but we do help our members by phone, live chat, and email.

Where You'll Be Working
We have a professional, yet fun and casual (i.e. jeans are okay!) office located just off of 101 in Santa Clara, and you'll be working directly with me, and two other like-minded assistants. You'll have your own desk, computer, phone, email, etc...

When You'll Be Here
This is full-time, but if you think you'd be a really good fit for this position, and you can only do part-time, we're flexible and can make that work. Hours are flexible, and we could use someone starting as early as 6:00am, or as late as 10:00am.

What You Can Expect From Us
We are very focused on the business and your primary function is to support our highest and best use of time, which means we'll be expecting a lot from you and expect that when a project is assigned and a deadline and spec agreed upon, that that's the last we'll hear about the project until it's completed to spec and on time. We don't take missed deadlines or excuses lightly, but do keep an open line of communication during projects if you need help or guidance. We have a lot of trust in our assistants, and place a lot of responsibility in your hands. This means you can make quite a lot of decisions from purchases, to vendors, to design, to approvals, etc... You'll start out as a contractor for a few short-term projects, and if you like us and we like you, then we'd move you over to full time. To start, you'd be compensated $15-$25/hr based on experience, and if you become full time, we'd increase your pay based on your results. Your schedule is flexible, but we do pick up lunch and eat together as a family/company every Wednesday. On evenings where we have events and need the extra help later in the day, we often pick up dinner, too. Growth wise, you'll start as a general assistant helping out with everything, and as we jointly discover your strengths, we'll start to specialize and promote you into certain areas.

If You Think This is You...
You'll note that we don't have a long list of requirements, degrees, etc... If this seems like the kind of opportunity that would be of interest to you, we're looking for people with the right personality and attitude and even better with applicable results. We don't want to know your job title so much as what results you've brought to past companies, and what sort of results you think you can bring to us. If you think you might be a good fit, we'd be interested in talking to you further. To submit an application, please click here.

Thank you!

Jeremy Shapiro
Interested in this position? Apply Today!




Application: Assistant to Owner

Thank you for your interest in applying for the Assistant to Owner position here at ForeclosuresMass in CA.

Please fill in the information below to submit your application.

Name: (first, last)

Phone: Alternate: (Mobile, Office, etc...)


Location: (city, state)


Plain Text

How did you hear about this opportunity?

1. Why is this position of interest to you?

2. How do you consider yourself autodidactic?

3. Most of your projects here will be time sensitive. Tell us what you do to effectively deal with deadlines.

4. What applicable experience are you bringing to the table?

5. What do you currently do full-time?

6. What hourly rate are you looking to start at?

7. Out of all the applications coming in, why would we want to hire you?

8. Quick! A printer just delivered a job that we need to ship the next morning, but they printed the wrong file! What do you do?

Yes, all of the information is true and accurate.


Thank you for applying to be one of my assistants here at ForeclosuresMass. I hope you understand that this position is not a good fit for everyone, and I'm not a good fit for many applicants. You've been selected to receive this questionnaire so we can get a better idea of who you are and you can get a better idea of who we're looking for. Please take some time to complete this document and email it back to me at ato@foreclosuresmass.com for my personal review.

Thank you!

Jeremy Shapiro, ForeclosuresMass

1. What is your name?

2. Which of the aspects of being my assistant that I mentioned excites you the most and why?

3. Why should I want to hire you?

4. Why do you want to work with me?

5. How would you rate your comfort with internet research?
Uncomfortable ... Could do it ... Comfortable ... Very comfortable ... Second nature

Please explain:

6. What kind of writing and editing experience do you have?

7. What kind of experience do you have in creating written procedures for tasks that you perform?

8. How would you rate your comfort with talking on the phone with vendors and customers?
Uncomfortable ... Could do it ... Comfortable ... Very comfortable ... Second nature

Please explain:

9. After completing a phone call with you to sign up for an account on the phone, what do you think a customer would have to say about their experience with you?

10. When I call your references, what do you think they will say about you and why?

11. Are you looking for part-time or full-time?
Full-time ... Part-time, please explain

12. Time wise, how early in the day are you comfortable starting your day on a regular basis?
6am ... 8am ... 9am ... Other:

Please explain:

13. If you could waive a magic wand and change your current position, what would you change and why?

14. How soon are you looking to make this exciting career move?
Yesterday ... Within the week ... Within the month ... Other:

Please explain:

15. What are some ideas and projects that you've seen through to fruition?

16. Where do you see room for personal growth and improvement?

17. What motivates you and why?

18. If everything looks good, and I'd like to have you in for an on site interview, what time of day works best for you? (please select all that apply)