What it took for me to find a job in 2018 – #HireKoka complete

Life takes us on some interesting journeys when we are not expecting it.

If you would have asked me just a year ago if I would be out looking for a job in 2018, I would have laughed. I was with a fun company meeting with companies around the world that wanted to leverage my insights and strategies. Of course, that had a hashtag too… #PassportsAndPowerpoint

passportsandpowerpoint_ instagram

I enjoyed the role, not so much some other aspects, but the role was a good fit. The best part was what I had learned about myself in the process. It was a good experience, I traveled the world, met some amazing people, helped a lot of companies but I felt a hole and being affected by a downsize was a blessing in disguise.

Turns out reality got the last laugh, but I also believe that everything happens for a reason. I had no control over my job loss, but I have complete control over how I react to it.

The job search process

I knew that whatever actions I took next had to have an impact. Going from job site to job site looking for a job opening wasn’t going to work. How many open roles would I apply for online that would just get lost in the sea of other applicants? I had to do something different to get the attention of potential employers. That’s what led to the #hirekoka video.

The network effect worked. Thousands of likes and comments distributed the video and subsequent updates around the platforms.

I reconnected with a lot of people and got a bunch of interesting leads to pursue.

It picked up momentum fast.

In fact, a rewarding byproduct of #hirekoka was that others built their own campaigns and I know at least one of them has found their next opportunity already.

hirekoka examples

52 companies to start with

99% of these came from you. My friends and connections. So many great introductions from all over the US. I had zero expectations when I started this process.

Take massive action and talk to as many people and different companies as you can.

At best, I was hoping the video would open up a few doors or at least just let me get some additional support from my connections. The support from my network was a driving force for me.

Most of these companies were familiar with me. Not all of them but many of them have been following my career since the inception of social selling and many that knew me by reputation.

I can’t stress enough to all of you the importance of developing your professional brand. Honestly, I attribute all of the subsequent calls and interviews to the fact that I was visible and an active voice across social media. #VisibilityCreatesOpportunity

28 formal interviews / 20.5hrs

I talked or met with companies all over the bay area. I was even asked if I would move across the country for a new role. The #HireKoka campaign connected me to so many potential opportunities that I had to build a spreadsheet of companies and then I would use Nimble to keep track of the people. I wish I also had Sales Navigator during this process. That platform would have been immensely helpful.

Companies of all sizes. 10 person startups to 5000 employee multinational corporations. The idea was not to limit my search to a size of a business. I was more interested in the type of work I would be doing. Though the size, scope, and energy increases with the size of the company, I knew I could draw from a lot of different experiences to work in any environment.

Focus on the type of work and the people you will be working with

What really mattered was the people I would be working with. I had to know that the people I was going to be spending a bulk of my hours and days with were going to be amazing. I look back at my career and believe that the roles I had the most enjoyment with regardless of my role was because I was surrounded with good people and the roles that I enjoyed what I did but still felt empty inside was because the people around me were draining my energy.

People matter. I chose this time around to be very specific on the types of people I wanted to work with. I wanted to meet anyone that I would be working next to, even in a cross-functional manner. Ultimately I had to make sure that my hiring manager was someone I would look forward to seeing every day.

There is really nothing worse than working with a person that was either a detractor or even a blocker in your career. Consider yourself lucky if you’ve been able to avoid that.

10 second round calls / 15hrs

Once I pushed through the initial barrage of companies, it became clear to me what companies could be a good fit for me. There were more companies that wanted to move to a second round and I had to cut it short because something either didn’t feel right or it was obvious it wasn’t a good fit after the initial discussion.

At this stage you are not being interviewed, you are interviewing them and answering any of their questions in the process.

This was the moment where I had to make an initial hard choice and sometimes that choice was made easier because I would get the ‘thanks for applying but…’ email, or the awkward rejection that felt completely void of personalization. I appreciated the times that these emails came quick. Disqualifying these roles was a goal so I could focus on the companies that I could excel at.


At this stage, I started meeting others on the team and ones I would be working with. That’s when it would be clear if something was off. This is when you are supposed to dig into the roles and responsibilities. You are not being interviewed, you are interviewing them and answering any of their questions in the process.

One example was a company that’s job description was positioned for a management role leading a team but when the second round calls let me dig into it, turns out there was no team (or none to be hired in the first half of the year) and the responsibilities were basic. They were looking for someone to do entry-level work but give them a nice title. That didn’t work for me.

Then there were the teams that were totally dialed in with what I was looking for. A cross-functional marketer with social and content experience along with the mind of a sales rep.

It was surprising to me how many of the companies were not interested in a marketing role that drove pipeline. So many places that focused all marketing efforts on generating traffic and building brand and nothing that measured back to sales. They either didn’t want to admit it or didn’t see an issue with operating in a silo.

4 final contenders

The 4 companies I focused on were places and people that I would be happy to work with. In fact, I found myself wanting to work with these people, even if they couldn’t pay me. That’s why they made the top 4. When you find companies like this you need to keep digging and I chased them. Each of them were awesome in their own right.

Some of them were ready to go with an offer after the 2nd interview. Some had a long process and I didn’t want to jump into a role without having all of the information from all of the others. I’m sure that sucked for the companies that I asked to be patient. Especially since their offers were very generous. I had to stick to the process. I had the time and I felt that if the company pushed me to move when I wasn’t ready, then it ultimately wasn’t the right fit.

1 dream job

All of this just to find one job. Not just any job, but the opportunity that would fire me up every day for the foreseeable future to be my best at.

That’s a tall order to fill. I knew it and I knew it might be too ambitious but that was the bar I set. Ultimately I found it, chased it and got the offer of a lifetime to be part of something amazing.

I found it. I start in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait.


I really would not have been able to meet all of these companies and ultimately find this opportunity. #ThankYou

Koka Sexton

Koka Sexton is a renowned expert in social selling. Some would say Koka Sexton is the reason social selling exists, he would say that social selling existed once buyers went online. A recognized expert in social selling that has produced revenue for B2B companies, Koka continues to make generating new business the focus of social media. Finding creative ways to plan, develop and execute content marketing campaigns that break through the noise and provide value to buyers in excess of what they expect.

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