So I decided I would like to try and target Gocompare and hopefully get a job offer from them. I also decided exactly how to go about doing this.
I created faogocompare.com – my attempt to grab Gocompare’s attention. The entire development process took roughly 6 solid hours, from idea, to domain purchase, to the last word being written on the contact page. Pretty happy with that.
I tried to keep the site as simple as possible, including only 3 pages and trying to minimize the amount of copy. With regard to the copy on the site, I’ve been advised by someone online that what I’ve written is too long-winded and doesn’t read well enough. I completely agree with this, but what I will say is that I made the whole site from idea to completion all in one day. I didn’t really have time to fine-tune any particular part of the site. I certainly did my best in every respect with the time I had available, and I am confident that I could have made the site look a little bit nicer or flow a little better etc with a few more days available to me. The point of this exercise, however, isn’t to create a perfect example of how to develop a website. The point of creating this website is simply to get the attention of some decision makers at Gocompare. With that being said, if I were to implement a similar project to this in the future, I wouldn’t do anything different. I wanted to get something (anything!) ready to show to Gocompare, all deployed and live, within a day, and not worry too much about the fine details.
I finished the site at around midnight, and immediately paid for LinkedIn premium in order to help me distribute it to some people at GoCompare. A LinkedIn “Job Seeker” account cost me £24.95 + VAT, but I definitely think it was worth it. I “InMail’d” (private messaged) the CEO and the marketing manager, proceeded to watch an episode of Spooks, and finally got some sleep.
The following day, the marketing manager sent me a nice email saying something along the lines of Gocompare not having any suitable positions at the moment, but leave my CV with him and he’ll notify me if that changes. I was happy with that result, and I deemed the project a success (even though I didn’t have a job there!).
Later that day, someone else from Gocompare sent me an email. The head of recruitment said they liked the website, and asked what area of marketing I would like to get in to. I responded immediately, and the correspondence ultimately ended up with 2 interviews being arranged for me in the following week! I was over the moon, and couldn’t believe my luck. I just had to nail the interview, and I’d have a job… Or would I? 😀
Also something interesting to note (sorry this blog post is so horribly written!) is that I didn’t purely rely on LinkedIn for distribution. I figured that the two people I messaged could easily overlook the message, intetionally or not. So i decided to utilize some other free outlets in an attempt to get some traffic and spread the site via word of mouth. Some part of me wanted the site to go hugely viral, but at the same time I was worried about being threatened with a takedown notice or something like that! So I didn’t go all out in my attempt to get traffic.
Some places I sent the site to (along with a short description of who I am and what FAOgocompare is) included local newspapers, some tech blogs, and reddit. The Reddit thread was particularly interesting because so many people were skeptical, and thought the whole thing was an exercise by the Gocompare marketing department! The thread is definitely worth a read.
I got a great response from a business editor from a large newspaper who seemed to like what I was doing, and offered me his number in case I ever need help in the future, I was really happy with this result!
Another cool result of making the website was that a local PR firm got in touch to ask me a few questions, and then wrote a blog post about it.
So I had the interview and it went really really well. The whole office seemed like an awesome environment to work in, and all the employees I met were really awesome.
The very last question in the interview was “Do any of you family work for any of our competitors, such as confused.com?”. My girlfriend works for confused.com, so of course I had to tell them! The room went completely silent for a few seconds, and I was told that this may be a problem. Apparently people had been rejected before for this exact reason, which was gutting to hear.
Gocompare rang and had to give me some bad news. Since my girlfriend worked for Confused.com, they couldn’t hire me because of the conflict of interest present. They had a meeting to discuss this with a few different departments, but couldn’t find a way to mitigate the risk, and as a result have to deny me a job. It wasn’t all terrible though, they went on to say that if it wasn’t for this, I would probably have been offered a job ready for when I leave uni. That was nice to hear at least, but the part about not being allowed to work there was absolutely gutting!
I put in a lot of work to be told I wasn’t allowed to work there, but I still don’t regret it all. I met some cool people, the Gocompare staff were really nice, I’ve got a cool story to tell when I’m older, and an extra site to add to my portfolio 🙂