Beyond the #Girlbossmoment: Jessica Falborn Goes on a Hiring Spree

Beyond the #Girlbossmoment: Jessica Falborn Goes on a Hiring Spree

“I’ve been living in DC for seven years and I’m at my sixth job, which is something I wasn’t always proud to share, because it’s a town where titles, organization names and years of service are indicators of status and importance.

In 2009, I was an immigration paralegal. In 2010, an office administrator at a government consulting company. In 2011, I traveled the country slinging healthcare research memberships. In 2013 I sold memberships at the US Chamber. At the end of 2014, I landed in the media world selling advocacy research memberships at Atlantic Media. And for the last three months, I’ve been at The Hill newspaper. I’ve also been a call center manager, a waitress, a brand ambassador, a waitress, a promotional salesmodel, an overseas intern at the State Department… oh, and a waitress. And along the way, I’ve found what I’m good at and what I’m not so good at. What I’m really passionate about, and what I could do without. And I’ve accepted that it’s OK to fail, because that is where I’ve learned the most.

Earlier this year, my dad called to tell me a woman from “the hill” called my parents’ house asking for me. I assumed this was Capitol Hill, but after connecting with Meghan on LinkedIn, I learned she was the president of a new product at The Hill newspaper. We grabbed lunch in DC. She was direct about her intentions and said she wanted to hire me to run all business development and to help launch this new product. I was honored and floored. Over the next few months we brainstormed, and by late April, I came on board as the Executive Director of Business Development for The Hill Extra.

I’ve been at The Hill three months now, and we are launching our new product in September. For those of you that are policy wonks: This will be a digital premium journalism product providing behind-the-scenes coverage and breaking news from Capitol Hill to K Street, across multiple policy areas. Although the market is saturated, we work daily to identify how we will be different and how we can help Washingtonians do their job better.

When I arrived in late April, I was the third employee. We didn’t even have an elevator pitch. Last Friday, after many many weeks of resume reviews, phone screens, and interviews, I had a major #girlbossmoment: I extended three job offers to start building my sales team. At the time of this writing, one offer has been accepted, and I think the rest will, too. By the end of this year, the goal is to have five staff on my team. By next year, it could be up to fifteen. Five jobs ago, I knew I’d get here. And it was all worth it.”

What qualities do you look for when you’re hiring?

  • Confidence is incredibly important, especially when hiring salespeople. But there is a difference between being confident and overconfident. There’s not enough room for big egos on our team.
  • Positivity. Especially in a start-up environment, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and let negativity seep in. Staying positive is important and necessary.
  • Being an engaging conversationalist. Being Type A and in sales, I schedule out most of my day. If I don’t look at my watch throughout the course of an interview–and especially if we run over time- I know this is someone I could work with every day.
  • This may be a cliche, but I need to have a gut feeling about someone. I’ve learned to trust that.

Twitter: @jessica_falborn