Shark Tank: Recruiting Edition provided practical advice for marketers job searching during the pandemic.

“You Gotta Kill It!”


“You Gotta Kill It!”

Shark Tank: Recruiting Edition provided practical advice for marketers job searching during the pandemic.



This is a year like no other.  How many times have you heard that in 2020? For marketers embarking on a job search, it means rapid adjustment to our new normal. On November 18th, AMADC’s Marketing Mentors Network (MMN) hosted an event intended to arm program participants with the tools needed to get out there and navigate “shark infested” waters.  The “Sharks” at this specific event represented internal (hiring manager and internal recruiter) and external (marketing recruiter and headhunter) influencers and decision-makers in the recruiting process. As they shared their advice throughout this engaging panel, “You Gotta Kill It!” became the rally cry for marketers wanting to succeed in landing a job in the current market.

Bring on the Sharks!

Our panelists of  “Sharks” included: 

  • Bob Corlett, President and Founder, Staffing Advisors 
  • Trovon Williams, Vice President of Marketing & Communications, NAACP
  • Sue Keith, Managing Partner, Ceres Talent
  • Rodney Jenkins, Senior Technical Recruiter, Global Talent Acquisition, Micron Technology


Part one of the event was open to all marketers. The discussion centered around four key issues related to marketing job searches:


The impact of COVID-19 on the job search

There has been a shift in skills that hiring managers are looking for.  With the cancellation of events—particularly in the business-to-business space—budget money had to be reassigned quickly. 

“There’s been an increase in demand for marketers with digital knowledge (SEO), content marketing experience, and the ability to execute highly targeted account-based marketing programs,” said Sue Keith, who works primarily with B2B clients. 

“Product marketing has also become more in demand. And strong writing skills are also critical as well as the ability for individuals to think quickly on their feet while executing at a high level. We are seeing a lot more social media moving under PR.”  

Competition is high in this downturn with many candidates with high-level skills available for hire, and it hasn’t slowed down. Rodney Jenkins shared, “I posted a sales position a week ago, expecting 40-50 resumes. But I received over 110 resumes within 3 days.”


Navigating resumes, ATS and LinkedIn 

The panel got very passionate when discussing resumes. All the Sharks agreed that resumes should include a link to the applicant’s LinkedIn profile, start with a tight summary and follow with a section of major accomplishments with specific results. Resumes should be chronological. They also mentioned adding in how many people you have managed and the size of your budget. It’s particularly important, as marketers, that resumes are customized to specific positions.

Bob Corlett added that it’s important to consider that people are trying to understand resumes at a glance, meaning 4-5 seconds. “Are you at the right scale of accomplishment to do the job? Don’t make it hard for the reviewer to understand that, otherwise you might go into the ‘maybe later’ stack.

The Sharks said you should spend as much time on your LinkedIn profile as you do on your resume. LinkedIn is becoming a very important tool in the recruiting process as many companies are using it instead of job boards. As Bob mentioned, “It’s where the money is in recruiting.” In response to one of the attendees who asked about a video resume, Trovon William’s said, “You gotta kill it! If you are going to include something like video, it has to be spectacular.”

The subject of online portfolios came up, to which Trovon again said, “You gotta kill it!”  The Sharks said you should spend time on your LinkedIn profile instead of putting all your energy into a personal website. The exception to this is graphic designers who need to have portfolios.    


Tips for online interviewing

The Sharks gave a lot of advice about how to conduct interviews online. Zoom de-dimensionalizes a person which requires you to “up” your presence. It erases your “superpower.” You need to talk faster, be more interesting. As Bob mentioned “Act more to be more authentic—push energy into the camera. It’s a tough medium as a candidate. You need to prepare more for these kinds of interviews.” 

Appropriate dress is critical to the interview even if you are at home. Dress like you would for a normal interview. It’s better than being casual. “Hoodies are not interview attire!“ confirmed Sue.

The topic of backgrounds also was discussed.  The panel said they don’t want to see your laundry or a mess behind you—you should make an effort.  When asked about distractions, Rodney said that children and pets can humanize you. “When the little ones scamper into the view of the camera, that is actually interesting. Is it negative? No, it shows that you are human.” We are all doing our best in 2020 and distractions will happen.


Closing the deal

The Sharks said thank you emails are still imperative and could be the tipping point between getting the job and not getting it.  


Entering the Shark Tank

Part two of “Shark Tank: Recruiting Edition” was only open to Marketing Mentors Network participants. Four brave volunteers agreed to “jump into the tank,” and be interviewed by the Sharks with an audience observing. They each provided their resumes in advance along with a description of the position that interested them. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Our volunteers were prepared. One might say they “killed it!” and were able to get expert advice from the Sharks on what to keep and what to change. 

After the event, one volunteer said, “What a great swim we had! It was a pleasure meeting all of you and I very much appreciate your feedback. I feel better prepared for virtual interview settings.” And Bob concluded, “I loved being with this community. Amazing, supportive people, even in the face of shark danger.”

The event was moderated by Angela Long, Vice President of the Marketing Mentors Network.