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Backcountry Marketing

EP: 149 Passion Alone Won't Land You The Job: How to Get Hired in 2024

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It’s no secret that the outdoor industry is filled with passionate individuals. After all, how many people get to work where they play? In 2018, I remember the first car commercial that Port Side created. We had a 5 a.m. call time up at Mt. Baker and as we were driving up the windy highway I couldn’t help but think “We get to do this.”

I’ve tried to implement those five words into my daily life to practice gratitude. I get to run my own business, I get to run this podcast, and I get to throw myself up these hill repeats when my heart rate is pinned at 190. You get the the idea.

Passion, while potent, isn’t a magic wand that paves the way for you. I first learned this lesson a few years ago when a potential client was considering hiring us for a video series about overlanding. Going into the final sales meeting, I felt confident because I was passionate about the outdoors. I assumed that because I deeply loved the outdoors, this meant we’d get hired for the job. You can probably assume by this point that we didn’t get the job.

That day forced me to take a hard look at our work, positioning, and process. What role (if any) did our own passion play in the job search? After that day we embarked on a year-long journey to re-imagine the business and anchor our expertise in passion but more importantly process and results. I’ve learned that passion only gets you so far. It might get you in the door but in order to close the deal, clients aren’t looking for passion They’re looking for experience and the unique ability to solve their problems.

The same lesson applies to hiring people. The outdoor industry is navigating some bumpy water these days. Of their annual job placement volume, the Highline Outdoor Group will typically place 30-40% of people in jobs that are a result of company growth. This year they’re seeing those numbers down around 10%. In an industry that’s notoriously difficult to break into on a good day, how can people expect to land their dream job today?

Hiring is painful for both the employee and the company. In a sea of sameness, how can candidates stand out? In this episode, Tony O’Neill, the founder of Highline Outdoor Group shares his advice on how to get hired and how to find the right candidates for the job.

Here’s a hint - don’t rely on your passion.

Cole, Founder of Port Side Productions and Host of the Backcountry Marketing Podcast.

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