Job candidate

If you have been following our adventures, you know we recently hired Sam Von Tobel as a digital specialist. I am thrilled to have him join the team and equally thrilled to be out of interview hell.

Yes, dear job candidates, employers hate the interview process as much as you do. During this most recent search, I often turned to Twitter to vent my frustrations.

The Application

We are a social media company. I don ‘t expect new college grads to fully understand how to use social media to promote a brand. I do, however expect that if they are applying for a digital media position they will understand the basics. We ask for the link because we want to get a sense of how a candidate uses social media.

If your tweets are private, not only can’t I see how you use social media but you are telling me you don’t really understand how Twitter works. Don’t want to share your Facebook or Twitter feed? Share your LinkedIn profile instead. Maybe it is a bit boring but at least I can review what you share.

Something to keep in mind regardless of which link you share, eventually we will look at all your profiles. While we are pretty open minded, appreciate a slightly warped sense of humor and a range of political perspectives, sometimes the videos and images we see make us question a candidate’s judgement. When that happens the interview process is over.

These variations on the social theme are equally unacceptable. Why? Because you are applying for a job using social media.

  • I deleted all my social profiles when I graduated.
  • I don’t use social media for personally, but could learn to do it for business.

Work Samples

We are looking for people who are passionate about their chosen career. One way to demonstrate passion is to work at your craft regularly. That’s how you improve. If  you want to be a writer, then you need to write, even if no one is grading you or paying you. The same holds true for designers. 

If you can’t decide what you want to do that’s ok, you are young. Now is the time to try many things so you can find your passion. However, when asked for a work sample your submission should be relevant to the job you are applying for.

  • If you are applying for a writing job do not submit graphic design work, especially if it is created with Microsoft Publisher.
  • If you are applying for a graphic design job do not submit video.
  • If you are applying for a web design position do not send photographs of your paintings.

I appreciate that you may have many creative outlets that makes you an interesting person. Once I think you have the skills to do the job, then I want to know more. Just remember it is your skills that  get you in the door.

The Interview

We have fun at Roundpeg. The office is filled with interesting people who like to laugh, watch weird videos, eat popsicles and most of all are really good at what they do. When I consider adding someone to the team I look for signs of passion and interest in the work we do. The cats, cheese day, our field trips and Beer 30 sessions are a bonus.

Other ways to blow the interview:

  • Show up late or worse show up 45 minutes early. Our office is in a small building. There is nowhere to have you sit as we finish interviewing another candidate, meet with a client or finish up a project on a tight deadline. If you are more than 10 minutes early go for a walk or find a coffee shop and catch up on your email.
  • Tell me you want the job because it is close to your home or your mom told you to apply.

The Follow-up

As an agency, we make money when we are writing, designing and talking with clients. Time spent interviewing candidates and reading applications takes us away from revenue generating activities. Even though it is expensive for us as a company, everyone on our team spends time with candidates. Given the investment we are making, we look closely at the thank you note a candidate sends. It is a simple sign of respect.

In return, everyone who applies for an open position gets a note. We thank them for their interest in Roundpeg and give them some closure so they can move on.

Occasionally a candidate reaches out, asking why or what they can do to improve. We typically receive 100 or more resumes for a single job so there may be no simple answer other than we could only pick one person. If someone just blows the interview the teacher in me wants to help them do better next time. I will share a few thoughts on where they missed an opportunity to make a great impression. Usually the feedback is received with appreciation, but every now and then someone wants to argue with me.

Maybe your mom always gave you that piece of candy or your teacher changed your grade when you argued or pouted, but you are not going to change my opinion. Well not for better.

Be a Great Job Candidate

This post may seem a bit harsh, but the reality Dear Job Candidate is the hiring process isn’t about you. It is about the needs of the company, The candidates who ultimately get hired are the ones who convince us they bring something to Roundpeg that will make us better.

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