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COVID Job Hunt 2020: Vista Outdoors Tactical Group – Presentation

“In your final 7 minutes, go ahead and summarize what you’d do in your first 90 days.”

In these moments, where the design lesson “show, don’t tell” is not possible in a voice-only interview with the key hiring manager: simplifying the complex is crucial.

Recently I was interviewing for a senior director role at a company well-known as an umbrella of brands. While I did not get the job, I wanted to share some of the process and work from that experience, hoping it will assist anyone in their COVID impacted job searches. 

Eagle Industries Blackhawk Tactical Gear - Brand Message and Campaign concepts by Lynn Twiss

What I wanted to showcase was an aspect that many interviewees don’t go into the room considering.

It’s more than reconnoitering and researching your interviewers, it’s more than knowing the brands and audiences, it’s more than who you are: it’s where you will take the company.

But speaking to it isn’t enough; the ability to show beyond what you’ve accomplished in your past is. Most executives I’ve interviewed with have a “what will you do for me” approach and view forward rather than backward. The recruiter did their job by parsing your past and vetting that against the requirements. They got you here. The executive only cares about where you will take them

In my example, 7 minutes weren’t enough for me to properly visualize over the phone where I would take them. While it wasn’t a requirement of the process, I decided to send to the hiring manager a small presentation visualizing what I would do with my first 90 days.

It’s this presentation I am sharing with you today.

[I've BLOKK font (struck out) most of the text of the presentation that pertains to the challenges I see the brands facing, as I see those as sensitive.] 

The primary risk in sending this is without the full picture of the marketplace and internal landscape, I was working purely on presumption. Basing this presumption on my past 20+ years in the industry should help put me close on target (maybe a 2 MOA variance. 😉)

I disclaim this at the beginning of the presentation. What is crucial here is articulating that even if we’re incorrect in the inputs, that we showcase the breakdown ability and process to get there, which can be corrected with precise data once brought on board.

The Brief

In all branding and marketing, it comes back to The Brief. Named because the best are succinct and clear. 3-4 challenges the company is looking to improve or face.

Discovery, Define, Execute, (Measure)

This is the guts of the presentation. Broken out by 30-day increments, across each brand. (In this case, it was Blackhawk, Eagle Industries, and Uncle Mike’s)

Explaining how you would approach the challenge ahead. In areas speaking to SWOT analysis, Hedgehog synthesis, etc.

Where are the gaps we can fill?

Show on a fundamental level, you understand the space and the market. Going into detail on the strength, weaknesses, and opportunities. Here we showed not only opportunities but also how the marketplace was not addressing all of the consumer’s needs and highlighted them.

In the firearms industry, most do not understand the difference between a ‘brand message’ and a ‘message strategy’ that addresses the audiences the brand serves. I showcase examples of this in the deck.

BLACKHAWK: TAKE CONTROL

EAGLE INDUSTRIES: REDACTED

Never forget to again reinforce your desire to be at the company. Summerize what you would bring beyond the presentation.

I hope this example helps in your job hunt. 2020 is proving to be a challenge, but always reach out to your network for help.

About the author

Author profile
Creative Marketing Director at

From building the Kimber firearms brand from virtually nothing to the juggernaut it is today; to forging Leupold Optics' first steps into digital and building a world-class team of social media, UX, and eCommerce specialists; to leading SIG Sauer's Electro-Optics marketing: Lynn has been instrumental in the leadership and development of epic brands and their growth for the outdoor and firearms industries since 1994.

Born, raised, and living in the Pacific Northwest, Lynn brings to Gunland an insightful eye to modern Design Thinking and Business Strategy. Tackling the Wicked Problems of an industry with many.

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