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Peer to Peer Hiring Advice from Jon Vogel

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Jon Vogel currently serves as the Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the official campaign arm of the Democrats in the House.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your career path, and your current job.

I currently serve as Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), where I provide strategic advice to Chairman Chris Van Hollen and oversee the Democratic Party’s efforts to protect and strengthen their House Majority.

I spent the past two election cycles at the forefront of the unprecedented back–to-back Congressional gains resulting in the largest Democratic House Majority since 1992. During the 2008 election cycle, I served in two senior roles at the DCCC and helped guide House Democrats to their second consecutive wave election victory. I served first as the DCCC’s Political Director where I oversaw candidate recruitment and campaign planning and strategy. I then finished the cycle serving as the Director of the DCCC’s Independent Expenditure Program, where I directed the $85 million effort that played in over 67 districts and tracked 135 races. With wins in every corner of the country, I have a unique understanding of America’s changing electorate.

I have worked extensively on Capital Hill and for Democratic Campaigns across America. In 2000, I helped elect Congressman Steve Israel in a Republican open seat in New York. I then served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Congressman Israel. In 2004, I was Midwest Finance Director for the Gephardt for President Campaign, developing a high dollar fundraising program in 11 states. From 2004-2005, I served as a Vice President at Winning Directions, a leading Democratic direct mail firm. I am a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Connecticut College with a degree in International Relations.

What do you feel is the most important information to include in a job description?

1. Job title and who they will be reporting to.
2. Description of the organization.
3. Areas of responsibility and skill sets looking for.
4. Years/cycles of experience looking for.

What steps do you generally take to find a pool of talented, qualified applicants?

I find that it is best to cast a wide net using both professional contacts and advertising on our website and at times through paid sites. That said, the best 2/3 of applicants usually come through people I know, but its worth the extra effort to get good applicants though a broader reach.

In general, which do you feel is more important in an employee:  good personality or specific experience?  Why?

Experience gets you in the door, while personality gets you hired.

What are your three favorite questions to ask in an interview and why?

1. What makes you qualified for the job? It is a good question to learn more about he applicants background while seeing if they understand what the job is.
2. What do you see as the biggest challenges of the job? This question helps me determine if they truly understand the job they are applying for.
3. What separates you from other applicants? This allows applicants to brag a little and separate themselves out.

What advice do you have for people who are hiring for the first time?

1. Check references that are not listed. In short, find people that have worked with the applicant but are not listed as a reference.
2. Ask for a writing sample. This could also include giving the applicant a written exercise of writing a memo related to the job. 

Tags:  hiring advice  interview advice 

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Comments on this post...

K Hartwich says...
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Very helpful both for applicants and hiring officers.
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