A good man is (not really all that) hard to find

Thank you to everyone who responded to my hiring notice; I’ve selected a candidate and am looking forward to being able to tackle new projects in the very near future, including the much-anticipated (by myself) and much-required overhaul of my website. More details to come soon!

I received an absolutely phenomenal response, and was able to meet with a number of really fantastic people. (I wish I could have hired everyone!) That said, it was interesting being on the other side of the hiring process, and I think if I’m ever in the position of applying for a job again, I’d do things a little differently as a result.

In about a week’s time, I heard from around 60 different applicants. This was a LOT for me to process, but from what I can tell of the industry, this is actually quite a small number. So while I would have loved to pay very detailed attention to each applicant, most people didn’t even get their resume read. This, I suspect, is probably not at all uncommon. If someone’s busy enough that they need to hire, they’re too busy to spend forever finding that perfect someone to hire.

A few tips & hints for job-seekers:

  1. Never, never, never use “to whom it may concern”. Seriously, it’s there in the hiring notice, and it’s all over my website. I can already tell when you’re copying-and-pasting a generic cover letter into your email, but it’s just plain offensive if you spell my name wrong or omit it entirely. (As a side note, I know that my long-lost cat is presently listed as CEO and chairman of the board on my website…. but please stop addressing emails to her. I can’t tell if you’re trying to be cute, or if you’re just deranged, which I’m guessing nobody can tell about ME, either.)
  2. If you’re applying for a design position, your resume should probably be nicely designed. You should also have an online portfolio of some sort. If you can’t figure out how to upload some images to a website or create a pdf, you’re unlikely to find work in the graphic design industry.
  3. “LOL” is not an appropriate term for use in a cover letter. Also, please use capital letters. And form your sentences properly. And spell things correctly. Seriously, what are they teaching in schools these days? Damn kids.
  4. Follow instructions! I cannot stress how important this is. If you’re a lacklustre candidate, I’m skimming your email looking for a good excuse to toss you into the “no” pile and move on to the next applicant. Neglecting to send me any of the items I’d explicitly requested in the hiring notice (in bold, no less) gives me that excuse.
  5. Your resume is probably too long. I didn’t read any of these fully, so the more scannable it is, the better. There were a lot of resumes that listed design work, which is great, but then went back as far as customer-service type jobs. Working at McDonald’s may grow character and an irrational hatred of hamburgers, but it doesn’t make you a better designer. Unless maybe you’re designing the cheeseburger wrappers, but even then, I have my doubts.
  6. Your portfolio is probably too big. And please don’t attach it to your email; my computer goes into anaphylactic shock when it needs to download 12MB of attachments all at once. Restarting my machine makes me cranky.

And of course, chances are good that if you’ve made someone cranky, you won’t be getting an interview, no matter how lovely your portfolio is or how well-rounded your resume. A cranky employer is an employer who’s going to hire someone else!