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Frustrated, overwhelmed business owner uses a unique approach to find exactly what he needed in a job candidate

Frustrated, overwhelmed business owner uses a unique approach to find exactly what he needed in a job candidate

January 30, 2009

Best Idea Contest Runner-Up

Doug Ottersberg found himself in a position not uncommon for many business leaders. See if this sounds familiar '

With only a few weeks until a major speaking engagement, he found himself overwhelmed and wondering how he was going to finish the product he was planning to offer after his speech, make sure all the arrangements were made and still get everything else done he needed for his business.

As he sat there frustrated, he realized he was spending all his time working in his business and not on it. He needed help.

But he didn't want just anyone. He wanted an 'incredible' part-time business manager and personal assistant to work with him during the week and on weekends. To help him figure out exactly what he needed in his 'incredible' assistant, he created a shopping list of the traits and duties he needed the person to fill in this position. This is the same approach he used when dating that eventually led him to his current wife. But would the same process help him find the assistant he needed to free himself from his business?

Based on his shopping list, Ottersberg knew exactly what he wanted ' and what he didn't want. So he created a long letter (similar to a long sales letter) that was very detailed with the qualities and requirements that makes very clear what he wanted in the position and posted it on his website. For instance, he said he wanted someone who loves schedules, takes charges and isn't afraid to say, 'Doug this needs your attention,' someone who can get things done without excuses and leaves his or her personal problems at home.


He also made very clear what he doesn't want: a 9-to-5 card puncher who says, 'Hey, I got done what I could today but I've gotta jet,' someone who yaps with coworkers, 'someone who says, 'Hmm'what should I do today,'' whiners and know-it-alls. And he tells candidates a bit more about himself, the job and exactly what they person would be doing.

Everything is made clear in his letter, which we have available when you click here. Check it out.

'I believe you get what you ask for so you should be specific about what you ask for,' Ottersberg says.

An ad on Craigslist.com directed prospects to his letter. Here's what the Craigslist ad said:

Immediately he got 3 responses, but 2 of the 3 he was able to eliminate immediately thanks to another trick he used. He knew he needed someone who could follow directions so he asked candidates to send a written reply on blue paper. Those that didn't follow the instructions (which were only a few out of all the responses he received!) were not considered for the position.

Out of all of the responses, he received one that knocked him over with the headline 'Good news! You've found the World's Greatest Administrative Assistant.' She explained how she worked as an executive gatekeeper and enjoyed managing chaos and turning it into order, even suggesting that she would remind him to eat lunch and take walks when needed.

She followed directions and sold him. He hired her on the spot. 'Since then money has been flowing into my account in larger amounts and with more consistency than prior to making that decision,' Ottersberg says. 'I had been primarily working for and with other speakers and had not been focused much on my own business. Since then I've sold more. My closing ratios and dollars per head have dramatically improved and best of all some of my sanity has improved.'

He did an event for another speaker and closed $318 per head recently and closed $500 per head at another event. He also launched his own product and sold more at one event than ever before and put more than $30,000 in the bank in only 3 months as a result.