My Super Smooth Interview Process at GANDT

Post by Mike Staal

Applying for jobs and having different processes to follow can be a real pain in the behind, from case studies to day-long interviews, and often the result is: ‘No’.

My interview process at GANDT was nothing like that, and after having helped a few other people join our team in the meantime, it turns out that my experience was not an accident or unique; that’s how it is here. Quick, personal, connected, easy. And a ‘Yes’! Want to join, too? Check out our job page.


Job application after job application after job application…

Oh, the hassle of finding a new job. You scour all potential platforms (LinkedIn, Jobs, Indeed, the list goes on!) and find that some big companies have their own listings exclusively on their respective websites. It’s a true nightmare. You customize your CV, work on a bespoke motivation letter, to thereafter get no answer whatsoever from 7 out of 10 applications. On top, 2 out of 10 decline you with an automated email that does not say why you did not fit.

The 1 out of 10, maybe even less, is your ‘Ureka!’. You put everything into it, and you get the whole works: the interview process, case studies, studying and preparation work, third round, fourth round, just to then be declined because they realized they need to recruit for a different position. And yes, you get to start all over again.

Do you know that feeling of super excitement? Like when you see your sport-team score the winning goal in the World Cup, or hear that you won the local lottery?

To most of you, unfortunately, this sounds very familiar. Especially during COVID-19 times, when a lot of skilled, highly qualified people got laid off. The businesses got leaner, looked thoroughly at what they (urgently) needed, and that’s partially healthy in and of itself (but it’s not focused on the future nor on growth).

Getting a job 1970 vs now



Grass can be greener.

More than 10 or even 60 people applying for one job vacancy at a company that did actually weather the Corona storm is not uncommon at all. After all, the available jobs market shrank and the application supply grew significantly. Moreover, these companies are often the cool ones, that have a healthy business model, and people want to work there throughout time.

Despite the big number of redundancies at my previous employer due to the tough economic times with COVID-19, I still retained my job there. I was thankful and happy for it. But, like so many others, I was prepared to move to a better place. Grass can be greener, right?

Especially in a luxury position where I already had a job I was happy with, I could cherry-pick my applications and not get discouraged by the plentiful rejections. I could choose the jobs and companies that would be even better than the one I had.

After a few months of applying to even fewer companies, it still did not work out the way I thought or wanted. I got to the last round thrice, spending a good amount of time on several stages of interview process, and ended up short. But as always in life, the best things come unexpected.


omgomg. OMG. oh. my. god.

One of these beautiful Sundays, where the sun shines after a dreadful and long week, I meet with a good friend and former colleague at Fork & Bottle in Zürich. They’re super skilled in what they do, but fortune was not on their side when the COVID-sword struck our firm.

And, due to high supply and low demand, they were without a job for a few months already. In good spirit of this sunny Sunday, I wanted to hear them out, see how they were doing, how they were keeping up, if somehow they did get a lucky strike. And oh, boy, did they deliver on that Sunday!

They did find a job, and it was a unicorn. The more they told me about it, with all its perks, the more wary I got on the potential catch. Surely, there can’t be a company that is only perks, right? Good pay, normal hours and no overtime, potential traveling, supported self-development, super expert and fun coworkers. The list goes on.

The more we talked about how great it is at their new company and, in comparison, how “bad” other previous employers had it, the more tingles I got in my stomach and bones. Do you know that feeling of super excitement? When you just heard you passed your final exam in school, for instance? That’s what I felt after only 15 minutes, and my brain just repeated “oh my god” all the time.

Fork & Bottle Restaurant, Zürich.

Photo source: fork&bottle

This Sunday brunch place is now my favorite place to go. #memories #goodfeeling


3 weeks, 5 emails, 1 hour and 25 minutes of meetings.

Monday morning, literally at 08:53, I sent my email to the CEO of the company. I had no difficulty rewriting my whole motivational letter from scratch. And as my CV was ready to go, it was out of my mailbox very quickly.

I was just excited and leveraged that feeling onto paper. If you’ve been recruiting for a position yourself you can just tell when someone is truly interested and has spent that extra little bit of effort, compared to your standard applications. What followed was 3 weeks, 5 emails, and an hour and 25 minutes of meetings.

Two days after my initial email I got a reply to schedule a call for that Friday. With the CEO himself #nopressure. After all, he’s the decision maker and protector of good team fit and growth of the company. His external-party calendar availability is normally for 25 minutes, but we ended up talking close to 2 hours and him having to skip several other meetings!


Finding a way to work together.

During this chat, we touched base on my skill set and expertise for maybe 5 to 10 minutes, maximum. The rest was reserved for finding out where we both come from, how we got to be in the place we are now, what we value in life, and talking about funny jokes that we recently heard. Everything but your typical interview agenda points.

His perspective of wanting to work with the best experts in their respective field of marketing or similar, regardless of what that expertise is, was very new to me. Normally, you need to fit in a specific role for a specific team or client, and have specific skill sets.

With GANDT, it was rather: “Are you good in what you do? Cool! Then let’s find out a way to work together, and strengthen each other as a collective, learn and grow! We will find a space for you to develop yourself in. We just want to work together with kick-ass, fun people”. It felt like he was already saying: “Welcome to the team”.


Share your honest thoughts.

The following Wednesday, I got an email saying that he enjoyed talking to me and found me to be a good fit for the team (normally this is what the applicant sends after a week or so of no reply, right?!), and wanted me to speak a bit more about job-related topics with one of his colleagues to confirm his thoughts.

He also apologized for being off for the following week, so if we could schedule it soon, “That’d be great”. The third email in my chain to GANDT was to meet with this person from the company on Friday, planned for one hour.

We again just talked about ‘us’ as individuals and what I think I would want to do or could contribute with. In my nervous job-application-mindset I had to throw in my experiences-talk to conclude those points, but the interviewer explicitly said with a friendly, inviting smile on their face: “No need to show and tell, I know what you did already because of your CV, just share your honest thoughts”. Mind = Blown!

This was my first ever experience with two people from the same company who were just so open, so easy, and so eager-to-find-out-WHO-rather-than-WHAT I was during an interview process, it was intensely satisfying, humbling, and tantalizing!


I would love it if you could come work for us.

The call concluded as action item for them to liaise internally about me, and that the CEO would let me know once he’s back from holidays. Confirming my sincere hopes that I would hear back quickly after he returned, the CEO called me at 12:30 on Tuesday. OK, yes, that makes it 3 weeks and 1 day, but who cares! I GOT THE JOB.

In just 10 minutes, we talked about their impressions of me, that he would love it if I could come work for them, and what the action items are after this related to contract, starting date, salary and all the other details.

Remember that tingly feeling I spoke of earlier, when you see your sport-team score the winning goal in the World Cup, or hear that you won the local lottery? That was how I felt for the next three or so hours.

I stutteringly replied that I would love to work with them, too. Once it was all done, I shakily put on my sports clothes to run it off and empty my mind to think about the next steps and imagine working for them, and I blew my record time doing it. This was amazing.


The best interview process I’ve ever had.

Long story short: This was the best interview process I’ve ever had, and as my 4th job switch, it’s also the most exciting and rewarding job I so far held. Like the CEO said; all colleagues are just so incredible, smart, talented, friendly, and cool. It makes me really, really happy to work with them.

And so, after merely 4 weeks at GANDT I ran through my entire LinkedIn list of connections to see who is also awesomely skilled in the area of digital marketing. But far more importantly; who’s a potential GANDTie, who is cool, who is awesome, and who I would love to work together again with.

If you liked this story, let me know in the comments! If you like-liked this story, check out our offerings below or send an open application to

Cover photo source: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Become part of our team
Are you interested in working with great marketing experts for our digital enablement consultancy? Check out all our job vacancies.