Three years ago, I discovered the job-hunting power of Facebook ads. I pointed them at the hottest employers in Austin, and in three weeks, I had multiple offers to choose from. I also earned an interview with the company at the top of my list, Bazaarvoice. That’s how I got my dream job after being rejected by a cell phone kiosk at the mall (and too many other jobs to name). My story was covered in AdAge, CareerBuilderSeth Godin's The Domino Project, and other outlets. Here’s the ad: The Facebook ad that changed my life

Last week I decided to try the strategy again, as research for my book, The Social Media Side Door: How to Bypass the Gatekeepers to Gain Greater Access and Influence. This time two things were different. First, I’m not actually looking for a job—I’m extremely fortunate to be doing work that I love. Second, I wanted to see if this strategy could help get someone the gig of gigs: A job at Google. 1,000,000. That’s the number of job applications Google receives per year. The record for Google applications per week? 75,000. That’s what happens when you’re the #1 best place to work in America, have one of the strongest brands in the world, and serve amazing food—free—from 11 on-site gourmet restaurants. I created two ad variants that incorporated humor and made my (fake) intentions clear.

Google ads  

Next, I created a custom landing page on this very blog, where…I came clean. Thanks for clicking, but...

I ran both ads for a just over two days, targeting 16,560 users “who live in the United States, age 25 or older, who graduated from college, who work at Google.” The campaign reached 6,947 Googlers, received 48 clicks (0.103% CTR), at a total cost of $30.68. My results wouldn’t impress an ad expert, but they should thrill job seekers. Forget about metrics for a second, and ask yourself, “If I was looking for a job at Google, and I could somehow pay just $30.68 for 48 Google employees to see a web page I created just for them, would it be worth it?” If you answered “no,” I’d really like to hear your strategy!

As with any job, first contact is only the beginning. Google’s interviews are notoriously difficult, and according to an outside recruiter that commented on my Facebook page, “Google hates this kind of stuff. They prefer to have you go through the traditional channels.” But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Of course employers want candidates to wait in line at the front door like everyone else. And most of us—myself included—have invested thousands of hours waiting for the front door to open for us. We’ve worked incredibly hard on the things that are supposed to open it. Somewhere, locked away in a place we’d rather not visit, is the seed of doubt. Why the hell won’t this line move? We can, in fact, choose not to compete for a place in line. We can find social media hidden in plain sight, just like this one, and let the gatekeepers do their job: dealing with everyone else.