We’ve grown a lot over the last year and half.
That means we have had to do a lot of hiring. While doing all that hiring we discovered that a lot of people are not really that good at getting a job. Some use a very obvious template where they copy and paste a position and company name into their cover letter. Others just don’t seem to think about the hiring process from the employers POV. So we thought it would be advantageous to help future applicants. Whether you are applying at Tilted Chair or another agency, these 7 tips should be taken into consideration.
I will say that 90% of the time we only hire people who are exactly qualified for the position. However, we found about 30% of applicants are not qualified. If the job posting says “2-3 years of agency experience” then make sure that you have 2-3 years of agency experience. Your chances of being dismissed are pretty good if you are a recent graduate or you have 10 years experience. There is a reason employers put criteria in the listing. If you told a real estate agent that you were looking for a house in the $200k-$300k range you probably wouldn’t be too happy if he/she showed you $100k or $900k house. So make sure you are qualified for the position. With that being said, our most recent creatives were not qualified for the position we were looking for. They were in the 10% of unqualified applicants that got the other 6 items on our list right.
Even if you are incredibly qualified and exactly what the employer is looking for, you should still try to be unique. By this I mean there should be some part of your application, resume, portfolio that really stands out from the rest. It might be the subject line in your email [“Hello, is me you’re looking for?”]. It might be the layout of your resume. It could even be that your portfolio is just so epic that it just pops out from the rest [screen shot of Jared and Jane portfolio]. Our last few hires all had unique selling points. Have a unique selling point in order to get noticed…hmmm, I think I’ve heard that before.
You can do this a few different ways.
- If you have a cover letter or an introductory email I personally love when the strengths are bullet-pointed or highlighted in some way.
- Paragraphs are so old school.
- We have to go through tons of applicants.
- If you can make it easy for us to find the info we are really looking for, then you are making our job easier.
- Ok, please don’t just put bullet points instead of paragraphs. This was for for demonstration purposes only.
Tell the company that you want to work for them. Austin is a great city. It’s decently affordable compared to other large cities. We have great entertainment. It’s hip. It’s educated. Low crime rates. It has been voted one of the top cities to live in by Forbes many times. We get it. Austin rocks. Please don’t tell a potential employer that you’re reason for wanting to work for them is because you want to move to Austin. If you want to move to Austin, do it. We almost always ask candidates “Why do you want to work at Tilted Chair?” and the best way to lose our interest is by replying with “Well, I’ve heard so many great things about Austin. I was there for a wedding/festival/vacation and thought it was such a fun city.” I’m sorry, but that is the wrong answer. Our recent creative team nailed their answer when they said “Well, we have been following Tilted Chair for a while now and we really love the work you all have been doing. You have cool brands, and seem share the same values as us. Plus, Austin seems like a cool city.”
So you got an interview! Congrats. You now have your opportunity to shine. I could write an entire new blog on interview do’s and don’t’s but I’ll keep this brief. First, this is as much of a chemistry check as anything else, so be cool. Smile. I know that’s easier said than done, but try your best. I’m sure not every employer will agree with us, but we want the interview to be a two-way conversation. Like a first date. We will ask you some questions, but you should ask us some questions too. Let’s get to know each other, right? And just like on a first date, don’t talk about your ex. Especially don’t talk about your ex if you did not have a good experience. Saying your last employer didn’t know what they were doing, or was too crazy, or micromanaged you just brings the energy of the interview down. Be positive. We want to work with positive people. Say you’re looking to gain leadership experience or more autonomy. Second, be memorable. We had a candidate that wrote an awesome slam poem for us. You don’t always have to be that memorable, but you should definitely leave us with something to help differentiate you from the other candidates. In her interview, our office manager shared the thoughtful email that her last boss sent to the entire company regarding her departure and the impact she made there.
This seems pretty basic, but send an email after the interview. Before we make anyone an offer, we make sure they sent us a “thank you” email. Be Lovable is one of our agency principles, after all.
Austin is full of smart, cool people. There have been lots of times we have had more than a few really qualified candidates. For our office manager position we had three awesome candidates. All qualified. All smart. All a great culture fit. Sometimes it just comes down to a flip of the coin. No, not a literal flip of the coin. Sometimes the final tipping point does come down to just a gut feeling. So if you’ve done everything else right, the last thing to do is simply cross your fingers and hope you’ll be getting an offer.
I hope this helps anyone looking for a job in Austin or at Tilted Chair. We know it can be tough out there. Keep grinding it out and keep checking our website for future job openings. Good luck!