The Designer's Cover Letter (from Josh Perry)
One of the great things about the graphic design profession is that your first impression to employers — your résumé — is often your strongest. Unlike programmers, who generally have wait until the technical interview to show off their chops, designers get the chance to show off their background and skills in one little sheet of paper.
That said, we've posted a number of different graphic design positions over the years, and have been blown away by the response. Quite a few résumés have been on par with these ones. But there was one that stood out from the rest. It came via fax (which, wasn't even posted on the job description) and had the following cover letter.
Needless to say, that "graphic designer" was never considered.
Temporary Web Siter (from Eliot)
After leaving home and moving to Big City, it was time for me to get a real job. I was only 17 (didn't finish high school) and had no professional experience, so I was not expecting a fantastic job. In fact, I would have taken anything.
After a bit of searching, I spotted a job on the local job board for a "temporary web siter". Details were few, but the position (10-15 flexible hours) sounded like a good way to get my toes wet and build my résumé a little bit. I emailed my résumé and contact information, and soon I had my first interview.
I parked as close to the address as I could, and then walked past a row of what must have been either crack- or frat-houses. As I walked up the steps of the address I was given, I was helpfully reminded "Don't forget to poop" by spray paint on the sidewalk. The guy who greeted me was obviously in college and, when I walked in, the house smelled like an odd combination of legal and controlled substances.
He led me to a room, completely full of empty beer cans. He offered me beer, which was disturbing considering I was 17, and even more disturbing considering I looked closer to 15. Then they explained their "business plan" to me. They were going to get video submissions, choose one, and play it during the Super Bowl. They said the website was going to be "really big", with "millions of hits" per day. They needed to have room for banner ads because they were going to have "really big sponsors". They just needed me to program the "web site".
I left as soon as I could, but with a lesson: I wouldn't take just anything.
How to Scare-off Female Candidates (from Josh Perry)
At a company I once worked at, several of the developers would cycle into work each day. It was an exercise/eco-friendly thing, I guess. One of the more hard-core cyclists would often wear a full-body Lycra cycling suit for his ride... and would usually not bother changing out of it. He'd just hang out all day, wearing his spandex suit, and writing his code. Being a heavily male-dominated office (like most in the IT world), he could get away with this.
When it came to hiring a new developer, we found that rarest of gems: a qualified female candidate. Being female, she was pretty much guaranteed a job offer as soon as she sent in her résumé, but they brought her in for an interview just in case.
While she was in the interview, one of the interviewers casually joked, "so, how do you feel about working with men wearing full-body spandex suits?"
An uncomfortable silence ensued. They offered her the job. She declined.