That time I got an interview at Uber by hiding a note in their bathrooms
August 5, 2019
Getting a summer internship is not easy. When I decided to go on the tech trek in London (Nov 2018), I knew I had to do something to separate me from the rest. Especially since we were going to visit all my dream job companies (Google, Uber, Facebook, among others).
At the career fair in October, it was extremely difficult to have meaningful conversations with recruiters or employees. You only have a 20-second span to make an impression and the dress code is very formal so we all look alike. We basically all ask the same questions and the people we interact with don’t remember us. As our Dean puts it, we are a commodity.
So I started thinking. I needed to do some cool guerilla marketing to get noticed in London. It was my chance to interact with the recruiters and managers from companies I really wanted to work at. One day I came out with a plan. I would hide my CV in the bathroom while no one looks. Bold move, but I was pretty sure, I was going to get noticed by someone.
But then, I thought, a CV is just too official and formal, especially for tech companies. Some people may have appreciated the effort, but it looks more desperate than creative or inspiring. I figured I needed to leave a mark, tell a story. Showcase who I was, but not by explaining it in a lame resume. I needed to be fun, entertaining and bold.
I keep a note about all the business ideas that come to my mind. I decided I would use it as content. I wanted to show that I’m creative, that I have (good) ideas and I’m ready to share them with the world. I figured the bathroom was a great place to place something like this. People usually have time in there and it’s usually a pretty sterile environment. Apart from the smartphone people bring in there, there is pretty much nothing to distract you. I hit Canva and created a poster. This was the result:
Once I got the design, I had to print it at school. I printed several copies of three different versions, one addressed to each company and put everything in a folder. Next step: London!!
During the 3 days of the trek, I carried my folder at all times. My Modus Operandi? Be the last one in the bathroom at the end of the visits and hang the note on the hooks of the stalls.
I managed to sneak a few at Uber and Facebook. I tried to get one at Google, but the security was too intense and they almost needed to badge us in the bathrooms, I decided to hand the note to one of our hosts.
I felt pretty nervous and stupid afterwards, unsure it would leave a positive impression of our school and MBA students.
I never got an answer from Facebook. Never knew what happened to the note I hid in their HQ.
I have no idea if the host to whom I handed the note to, liked it. In the end, I did intern at Google for the summer, maybe my little scheme had an impact on a referral. I’ll never know. Maybe I’ll ask one day.
My best success was at Uber. the very next day I got an email from a Manager!
I couldn’t believe someone appreciated my bold move. Over the next few weeks, I had calls set up with HR. Unfortunately, November was a little bit too early for internships, but I was definitely on the radar. Once the positions opened in March/April, I immediately applied and got called less than 24 hours after. Here’s what happened during the Interview. I made sure to keep the communication with the manager open and reached out to him a few times to get tips to prepare for the interviews.
I believe the point of this post, it to prove that there is more than traditional approaches to finding a job. It takes guts and creativity, but hustling is ALWAYS an option.
I’m really proud to have been able to pull it off. I didn’t really think about the nickname it would get me. If I had to start over, I maybe would probably do something different. No one wants to be “Toilet guy”.
Waïna Landauro is driven to work for good, using technology through business. IESE MBA class of 2020, Google internship summer 2019, and ASICS startup adviser, he loves to be around smart and driven people. He’s currently looking for his next role – starting April 2020.