It’s been awfully quiet around here, as of late. And for that, I apologize.
Everyone is busy. Busy busy busy.
But I’m rarely, if ever, too busy to chat with you, gentle reader. So why don’t we get to it?
What I did get–over the past week or so–was well north of 200 portfolios. And I worked to respond to each applicant who emailed me, personally. Because I think that’s important. Crazy, I know.
But once all of those folks were in the door. That’s when the more difficult task began: selecting a few that were the cream of the crop.
Due to the sheer glut of resumes and portfolios, I quickly built a list of automatic disqualifiers. A list of prevalent mistakes. No matter how good the person seemed as a designer or a coder or a human being, these things got them tossed on their ear.
Now, I fully admit, I may have lost some really good talent. But that was a risk I was willing to take.
And that’s when it dawned on me: this tempest-in-a-teapot was a perfect micro case study for any job application. Oh my. Well, when that dawned on me, I realized it was my duty–nay my moral obligation–to share this information with you.
So how did I make the cut? Well, for this CSS gig, these were the top ten reasons I rejected an application:
- Didn’t read the instructions.
There were some folks who never sent me an email about the position. If the applicant can’t follow that simple instruction, how can I be confident they will follow my guidance on the development?
- Pitched me as a generalist.
- Didn’t have a last name.
This may seem a little weird, but I don’t hire people who don’t have a last name. So, yes, it’s true, neither Cher, Madonna, nor Cedric the Entertainer will be coding my CSS. Sniff. My loss. You see, I use Highrise to manage my contacts, and when I fire an email over there and just get one name for the contact? It kinda makes me mad. No, not kinda. Word to the wise: When you’re applying by email, make sure your email address has the necessary info attributed to it. Sorry info@ you didn’t make the cut.
- Showed no personality whatsoever.
This was often the case when it was a salesperson–excuse me “business development” person–from an agency. I use humor as a gauge for personality. Sue me. I’d rather have you insult me by trying to be funny than have you send me your generalized drivel about how great your company is. Who cares? What can you do for me? (This is also known as coddling my ego. Remember, everyone has one. No matter how self-deprecating they may seem.)
- Assumed you knew the project.
I can’t tell you how many folks told me they could redesign the Return site. Um. I… Nevermind. Nuff said.
- Didn’t employ the techniques in which you claim to be expert.
When someone is seeking an expert in a certain discipline, they generally want some indication that the person–at the very least–understands the discipline. I don’t claim to be fluent in Spanish because I can order off the Taco Bell menu. Don’t claim to be a CSS guru because you can write some styling code. Better yet, don’t claim to be anything that you can’t back up with examples. Actions speak louder than words. Lead by example. And any other platitudes you want to throw at that one. Those table-based layouts, folks? Like what I was writing back at the turn of the century–or maybe even last week? You’re out. But so am I. Admittedly, I’m no CSS guru.
- Thought you were more important than me.
I can’t tell you how many times I started resizing type on some of the pages and the sites went all whackity whack. While I doubt the developer was intending to insult me, they did. Seems pretty narrow-minded to think that no one is ever going to resize the type on your site. Or pretty short-sighted. One of the two. Maybe both. I want you to care about my concerns. I want you to build stuff so that I find it useful. I am the most important. Me. Just ask my mom.
- Showed an attention to detail that was only skin deep.
Resizing the type was my first test. If that seemed to go well–or even reasonably well–I did a little looking under the hood. Oy. When I say “elegant, standards-based CSS,” that means in the code folks. I don’t care if your site renders like a champ, knocks the eyes out the best designers, and seems to be super accessible, if your code looks like garbage. Code can be as beautiful as design. Or to take it to a more general-populous level, your resume can be elegant. I can’t think of anything much more code-like and standards-based than a resume. So I’m picking that.
- Called me.
Where, exactly, in the gig description does it say to call me? I’m not a huge fan of phone calls. They’re hard to queue. And I get a lot of random calls. A lot. Most all of them are important. So I feel obligated to pick up. When you send me an email and then call me after I respond? Rude. If your code doesn’t speak for itself, no amount of your yammering in my ear is going to convince me otherwise. Gone.
- Didn’t have a clue.
I literally pulled the Craigslist posting after about 6 hours. Because I was getting overwhelmed by this. But, these clueless types were still arriving. When I said “take advantage of our desperation,” did I say being desperate made me a complete idiot? If I’ve stipulated what I expect from the applicant, then maybe you should have something remotely in common with those stipulations. I’ve often been accused of having an overactive ego, but what unadulterated hubris drives some of these folks is beyond me. You would be shocked, my friend. Shocked at some of the stuff I saw.
So that’s my top 10, so far. And, admittedly, it’s pretty negative. Maybe once I get through all of these things and the project is off and running, I’ll sit back, smile, and write a hugs-and-kisses, right-things-to-do kind of post.
Maybe. Don’t hold your breath.
This was eye-opening for me because I usually have a first line of defense before I’m reviewing portfolios and resumes. Not this time. Ouch. I can’t imagine what a recruiter or HR person goes through on a daily basis. Oh my.