Tips for Candidates on Applying
We routinely hire new team members at PaperStreet. So much, that we have a process and checklists now in place for creating ads, posting, reviewing the responses, scheduling interviews, interviewing, secondary interviews, negotiations, and finally the offer/acceptance letter. Ahh….checklists.
- Follow the Instructions. We actually do use our instructions as the first test. If you fail to write a subject line properly, then you are not automatically disqualified. However, you better have a killer cover letter or resume to make up for the bonehead mistake.
- Be professional. One of our steps is always “Include a short paragraph about you in the email. Be witty, be professional, but be you.” Some people try to be too witty. Yes, we are a fun place, but don’t go outside the realms of good taste. We have the words “be professional” in there for a reason.
- Attach a PDF. We hate zip files (won’t open for virus reasons) and I never quite trust Word Documents for possible macro viruses. So keep it simple, make your resume into a nice PDF.
- Best Links First. If we ask for a portfolio, put your best work first. Often we are looking only for your top three sites. You could even wow us with just one site. So put your best first. We use the same advice when we are pitching clients – our sales team shows off our best work first, not last.
- Don’t Call. Sorry, we hate people that call. It interrupts our day. More importantly, we may not have reviewed your file yet, so there is not much to say.
- Perfect Resume. Make sure you have zero grammar mistakes. This goes for both the cover letter and your resume.
- Custom Cover Letter. Put some effort into it. I promise we read every single one that comes in and I can remember those that standout, even years later.
- Keep it Simple on your Resume. Keep your resume brief. I personally believe in a one-page resume, but I could see the need for two pages sometimes. If it goes beyond that, then you may want to start to edit and focus on what is important.
- No Photos. Honestly, don’t send a photo. We do not need to see what you look like. And if you are a designer/illustrator, do not send nude self portraits of yourself (yes this happened once).
- Same Font. A dead giveaway that you are rehashing information from bulk applications is if your fonts change color, size, and type during paragraphs. Make your cover letter look good and have the same font throughout.
Awful, Odd, Weird Cover Letters – Don’t Do This!
The following are some serious epic #fails on cover letters. No names are used and any personal info has been changed to hide the identity of those who sent this to PaperStreet. I think you will see that these are cringe-worthy statements to include in the first few paragraphs of introducing yourself to a potential employer.
- “I would probably tell you that if you’re looking for someone who can follow orders to the T, I’m probably not the right candidate.”
- “My GOD, hit me up!”
- “Im a nerd sign me up names….”
- “This could be a great fit, please see attached” [That is all they wrote and did not even put a period at the end.]
- “Delray Beach, Near Atlantic and Military.” [That is all they wrote and I am not even sure what that means – where they are located?]
- “Suppppppppppppppppppppp big dog (kidding and hello).”
We usually welcome emails in our ads with, “Include a short, one-paragraph, email about yourself in the email. Be funny, be witty, be serious, be whatever, just be you,” so I understand we may be asking for these crazy lines. However, these examples are a bit too out there.
Tips on the Interview
- Sorry, but don’t ask for directions. We have a real office on Google maps. Our address is on every page of the site, in our email signatures and you can find us easily. If you have to ask for directions, it shows you did not do some initial research on how to find us.
- Be on Time. Actually, be early. We do not mind you arriving 5 to 10 minutes early. If you are late, you better have a cool story. I was stuck at the train outside our office is acceptable, as sometimes the train stops at the crossing for 5 to 10 minutes. Of course, we can hear it outside, so when you call, we can easily verify that the train has stopped by looking outside.
- Dress Professionally. We are a casual work environment, but we still like to see a nice appearance on the day of the interview. Board Shirts (i.e. surfing shirts), shorts, and odd shoe choices will be noticed.
- Be Ready. Look up questions that we are going to ask. We ask a lot of the same ones you can find on Google. Be ready to tell us about yourself, your biggest victory, worst defeat, why you want the job, and a few other oddball questions. We do not test during the interview. However, we do have take-home tests. Sometimes we work on real projects together that are paid (i.e. freelance work).
We are a pretty casual company in terms of our environment, but there is nothing casual about hiring a new member of our team. While we can appreciate your attempt to mix with our culture, what we appreciate even more is someone who gets that they still need to impress us. Looking to hire a new person at your company? Check out our tips for finding and hiring the perfect person.