Young Man Couldn’t Get Any Job Interviews in Silicon Valley — So He Posed as a Delivery Man and Hid His Resumes in a Box of Donuts
“How did you get into the building?”
Creativity is contagious! And creativity is exactly what a 25-year-old Lithuanian man named Lukas Yla used to get his foot in the door at a number of American companies.
Lukas Yla was the Chief Marketing Officer at a startup in Vilnius, Lithuania but decided he wanted to chase his dream of scoring a job at a Silicon Valley startup. So he booked a trip to San Francisco to help make it happen!
“I knew that I might be written off because I didn’t graduate from university here or have work experience in the United States,” Yla told ABC7 News. “I had to get past the middlemen, land my resume on the desk of a decision maker and show off my skillset in three seconds: that I was creative and could make things happen. Doughnuts would connect the dots.”
Yla worried he would fail with only a resume against candidates that had work experience in California.
Infiltrating the Building
That’s when Yla hatched his idea to win hiring managers over through their stomachs! His first stop – finding a good bakery. His second? “I ordered a burger from Postmates just to check how they did their delivery,” Yla told writer Rokas Laurinavičius.
“It might look like a stunt, but it was a precisely crafted campaign, that went through multiple iterations until it started succeeding. Once I launched the campaign, I performed A/B tests on companies of different sizes, different target audiences, and with variations on the copy. I used a special URL to measure the offline outcomes and act on them to maximize the ROI of the campaign.”
He designed a T-shirt that featured the Postmates logo but had to visit a number of print shops before finding one that would make it.
“(They were saying) hey, you don’t have permission to use this logotype and this brand name,” Yla explained. But he eventually found one and started making his special deliveries – boxes of donuts with the note: ‘Most resumes end up in the trash. Mine – in your belly’, along with his resume and his LinkedIn profile.
He pounded the pavement, walking approximately 15 to 20 miles a day. With his “uniform” and box of delectable baked goods, Yla was able to hand deliver his special delivery to a bunch of top executives.
Landing Interviews With Donuts
“Most of the time they are shocked,” Yla said of the execs receiving his deliveries. “They’ve (been asking) – how did you get into the building?”
Though after a few bites, Yla said most were very receptive. From 40 deliveries, he managed to land ten interviews. That’s a great success rate!
Yla didn’t ask Postmates for their permission to use their logo but after hearing about Yla’s bright idea, they didn’t mind. “We loved it,” said Postmates Vice-President of Strategy Kristin Schaefer to KGO-TV. The Postmates CEO even heard about Yla’s gutsy move and later met with him for coffee.
Yla’s strategy did open doors – although not in the way he had expected.
“I ended up securing (a total of) 15 job interviews, which wouldn’t have been achieved by simply sending my resume,” Yla told the BBC. “A senior executive at one of the biggest US ad agencies told me that in 40 years, no one else had gone to this level of creativity in a job application.”
After the interviews, he landed three different offers and accepted his dream job with a tech firm, only for his work visa application to be rejected.
This setback didn’t stop Yla. After returning to Lithuania, he became CEO of a ridesharing startup. He is now the Director of Carsharing Operations at Bolt.
Have a Plan and Get Crafty
In an effort to help other job seekers, Yla has a few nuggets of advice. He said that it’s important that candidates understand the distinction between “attention-seeking” and “attention-grabbing” job applications. Yla reminds us that the latter is backed up with a strategy.
“This is where candidates can get it wrong – the idea isn’t to be cheesy” explained Yla to the BBC. “It’s (about) creating something new, something that shows off a certain skill set and out-the-box thinking.”
“It was a full marketing campaign, specifically targeting people in the industry to prove I had the skill set to work for them.”
Yla said his viral job application gave him experiences that definitely benefited his career. “It helped me have fruitful conversations with employers, receive messages from companies I hadn’t even considered, and gain international attention.”
Don’t be shy – go out there and make your mark!