AJ Vollmoeller Jr.: “How To NOT…”

Throughout the course of creating the book I hit many roadblocks and hurdles being I had zero experience in being an author or publishing a book. Even though the setbacks and learning curve was at times overwhelming, I am glad that I am now understand the entire process and the work involved in creating a […]

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Throughout the course of creating the book I hit many roadblocks and hurdles being I had zero experience in being an author or publishing a book. Even though the setbacks and learning curve was at times overwhelming, I am glad that I am now understand the entire process and the work involved in creating a book. This made it comforting and much prouder moment seeing my name on the cover of a book knowing that I also built it.

As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know to become a great author, I had the pleasure of interviewing AJ Vollmoeller Jr. Arnold “AJ” Vollmoeller Jr was born and raised in Eastern Long Island, NY. After attending college at University of New Haven he moved to Orlando, FL where he began his outside sales career. That career path eventually transitioned into recruiting. After gaining years of experience in both the staffing agency side and the internal corporate recruiting side of the industry he branched out on his own and opened a headhunting agency, Future Force, that focuses strictly on small and medium businesses that have niche level, hard to fill, or urgent back fill needs. He often refers to himself as a “poacher”. Throughout his recruiting career AJ collected numerous funny stories and resumes which he recently compiled into a self help coffee table book titled How To Not Get Hired. The book features funny resume blunders, hilarious interview failure stories, and illustrations. All with the intent of helping the reader learn what to do while interviewing or resume writing by remembering the comical stories of what not to do. In addition to AJ’s professional career, he was a Reality TV personality on Lifetime TV’s hit reality show Married At First Sight, season 8 where he met and married his wife Stephanie.

Thank you so much for joining us AJ! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

My career started in outside sales but I found myself wanting to feel more helpful in my career path. I transitioned into recruiting and fell in love with helping candidates better their careers and lives. While working on both the staffing agency side and internal corporate side of recruiting, I began to collect all the funny resumes that were submitted to me and jot down all the interview blunders I often saw. Fast forward 10 years, I am now the owner of a headhunting agency and have seen more than my fair share of resume and interview faux pas. Last year I decided to compile all of these into a self help/coffee table book that helps readers learn what to do by seeing what went horribly wrong for others.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

I had an entry level candidate who was on, what I assume, was his very first interview after graduating college. As he sat down in my office I could clearly see that he was beyond nervous, so I made small talk to ease his anxiety. About 10 minutes into the interview I noticed a wet spot on his khakis that was getting bigger. Once I realized I hadn’t given him anything to drink, I knew there was only one other explanation… He promptly stood up from his chair, looked at me with embarrassment and confusion, then without saying a word, left the interview and the building.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming an author?

The biggest challenge I faced in my journey to becoming an author was not knowing how to turn my material into an actual book.

How did you overcome it?

I joined forces with a very technically savvy friend and together we built the book completely independently and learning every single step of the process along the way.

Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?

Throughout the course of creating the book I hit many roadblocks and hurdles being I had zero experience in being an author or publishing a book. Even though the setbacks and learning curve was at times overwhelming, I am glad that I am now understand the entire process and the work involved in creating a book. This made it comforting and much prouder moment seeing my name on the cover of a book knowing that I also built it.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started recruiting I thought that I needed to be overly professional and serious at all times. This wasn’t working in my favor but I didn’t know any better UNTIL I had a candidate decline to move forward in the interview process after speaking with me because I was told that I am was too uptight, monotoned, and gave the impression that the company culture and working within it would be extremely boring. The candidate then continued to tell me that if he worked there it would make him want to think of excuses every morning to avoid coming into the office. It was at that point I learned, no matter if you are the interviewer or interviewee, you need to bring your personality with you to the interview.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’m working on turning “How To NOT…” into a brand by making it a series of books that shine the spotlight on hilarious stories from different industries. ie “How To NOT Get Arrested In An Airport” with a TSA agent guest author for his/her stories. Similar to how the “For Dummies” books cater to just about everybody.

Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

It’s hard to pick just one… Early on in my career I interviewed a less than acceptable candidate who I politely dismissed at the end of the interview by suggesting he gain more experience first and then re-apply. I closed the interview by saying “make sure you keep in contact so we can revisit this interview again in the future”. I’m not sure why the candidate misinterpreted that to say “please check in multiple times a week”, but he did and with a report of the experience gained in his current job on a DAILY basis. Not only did the candidate keep a journal on a shared drive I had been requested to accept access for, I was consistently called, emailed, snail mailed, texted, and even an unannounced stop in to say hello. After letting that candidate know that this level of aggressiveness to stay relevant in a job search he was already dismissed from was borderline harassment, I unfortunately had to have him trespassed from the office property when he SHOWED UP in person to apologize, after being asked to cut communication. There is a fine line between persistence and desperation.

What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?

Ultimately it is a self help book that teaches the reader what to do by seeing others hilarious mistakes. There are tons of resume and interviewing tips and tricks that I hope will help readers advance their career or get that new job they want.

Based on your experience, what are the “5 Things You Need to Know to Become a Great Author”? Please share a story or example for each.

In full transparency, I’m not sure what the secrets to becoming a great author are nor do I think I have earned the title of “great author” yet. For me, becoming an independent author was time consuming but enlightening… I created a book that not only fits my personality (comical and helpful) but is also on a topic I am extremely passionate and knowledgeable about, my career. I am the type of person that likes to learn how to do something new from start to finish so I fully understand every aspect of the process rather than hand it off to someone else to complete my work and then just put my name on the cover, but for others that might not be the best option.

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?

Curiosity! My career gave me the material for the book, but my curiosity as to how a book is published and if I could actually create a book that can help people succeed in their career or job search is what the driving force behind me becoming an author was. In theory, teaching people valuable lessons through comedy is an effective way to make the lesson sink in since the reader will remember a funny story they read when faced with the same challenges. I’m curious to see how much of a positive impact I can have on the readers

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why? I am a big fan of self help books for business people.

The more I read the more realizations I have and the more light bulbs turn on for me. Zero to One by Peter Thiel inspired me to try new things and try them differently than the status quo. I’ve referred back to this book many times in my life when starting a new venture. It helped me start my staffing agency, it helped me write a book, it helped me take chances and try new things in my career I was hesitant or scared to do.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I see hundreds if not thousands of resumes per week and every one is significantly different. Some are similar and in correct resume format with all the pertinent information front and center, but most look like artwork designed for a refrigerator, or so generic that it’s clear this resume has been sent out to hundreds of jobs. I would like to start a movement that brings about a uniform resume format that everyone uses. This will even the playing field and not get candidates passed on simply because they were never taught resume writing skills but have good experience in their job field. Resumes are looked at for an initial 6–8 seconds before the reviewer makes the decision on whether or not to read further, pertinent information needs to just about jump off the page or it gets overlooked.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Instagram @AJ_Vollmoeller

Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!

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