How to Not Hire Someone Via Craigslist

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After reading my posting about how to get a job on Craigslist, my buddy Danny Kay sent me a link to illustrate what employers do wrong. I was amazed by the example that he sent me from the New York edition of Craigslist:


We seek a talented, highly motivated & resourceful individual skilled/experienced in web and print design.
Minimum 1-2 years professional experience and examples of work done are mandatory for all applicants.

Requirements:

  • Degree in Graphic/Web Design with minimum 2 years of Web/Graphic design
    experience with both print materials and web site design/development.

  • Exceptional portfolio that showcases solid conceptual, color, layout graphic design skills as well as fully functional web projects.

  • Proficiency in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe ImageReady and Macromedia Dreamweaver.

  • Solid experience with hand-coding HTML, CSS and basic JavaScript knowledge required.

  • Experience in InDesign and/or QuarkXPress and good understanding of requirements, specifications and concept of the print production design.

  • Experience with Macromedia Flash and action scripting is a plus.

  • Must be a highly self-motivated team player, able to work independently and with direction as part of a team.

  • Work on PC based platform.

  • Supervisory experience.

Compensation: Commensurate with experience.


First, let’s analyze the compensation. I bet it pays $15-20/hour based on the line, “Compensation: Commensurate with experience.” This is recruit-speak for “we think we can hire someone great for peanuts, and we’d rather hire cheap, lousy people than expensive, good ones and risk screwing up our out-of-touch pay ranges.”

Second, let’s examine the desired qualifications. I don’t think that even The Russell Brown of Adobe would qualify for this position:

  1. Proficiency with Photoshop, Illustrator, ImageReady, Dreamweaver, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, InDesign “and/or” QuarkExpress, and Flash. Only the kids of John Warnock who were suckled at the breast of Adobe could know all these applications.

  2. “Exceptional portfolio,” experience with graphic and web design plus familiarity with print production. Sounds like someone who’s been in the business for twenty years to me. But how hard could it be to master these skills?

  3. “Supervisory experience”—so in one to two years the successful candidate has learned those applications and processes as well as supervised people? In my first two years at Apple, all I did was carry Mike Boich’s (the first Macintosh software evangelist) bags.

Oh I almost forgot, the candidate should have gained all this expertise while using the PC-version of applications. What self-respecting candidate is going to admit that? What candidate is going to want to do this kind of work on a PC?

This job posting is fundamentally flawed. It casts far too big a net, so it will intimidate or exasperate the little fish (ie, people starting their careers), and the big fish (ie, people who truly qualified) either aren’t reading Craigslist or will smell a rat: “Compensation: Commensurate with experience.”

This is my advice:

  • Use the right tool. Craigslist might not be the best place for senior positions and for senior candidates at established companies. Better places are Creativeheads.net, Creativecircle, and I.D. However, it is great for contract work and entry- and mid-level positions.

  • Write honest job descriptions for honest job titles. Don’t try to entice candidates with promises of greater responsibilities or opportunities than is true. And don’t delude yourself: If the cat drags in over-qualified candidate, are you really going to expand the job?

  • Match the job and the background requirements. If you have an entry-level job, then write entry-level specs. If you have a mid- or upper-level job, then write more demanding specs such as five or more years of experience. Unfortunately, most help-wanted ads contain unrealistic demands for the position.

  • Sell. Almost every help-wanted ad focuses on buying, not selling—that is, the qualifications that candidates have to meet and the fences that they have to jump over. However, in the war for talent, this is ass backwards. This ad, for example, should mention things like “award-winning shop,” “work alongside famous designers,” “interesting projects for Disney, Apple, and Audi.”

  • Give young people a break. In the past of great employees are managers who gave them a break. Maybe they didn’t have the ideal educational or work experience—for example, an ex-jewelry schlepper. What’s more important than what’s on screen is what’s in the mind, soul, and attitude of candidates.

By the way, if you’re a wunderkind and want to apply for this job, go for it. $20/hour can add up.

By | 2016-10-24T14:19:10+00:00 August 27th, 2007|Categories: Human Capital|50 Comments

About the Author:

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Formerly, he was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple. He is also the author of The Art of Social Media, The Art of the Start, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

50 Comments

  1. iaind August 27, 2007 at 8:44 am - Reply

    It’s much worse than you’d think. I’ve got an entire blog devoted to the subject. Take a look at some of the really bad job ads.

  2. st_labrat August 27, 2007 at 8:45 am - Reply

    Amen

  3. D. Lambert August 27, 2007 at 9:02 am - Reply

    This sort of job description is really common in IT positions, and IMO, it’s completely counter-productive.
    In close to 15 years hiring and managing developers, I’ve found that good hires are made on fundamental skills and character traits, not specific technical skills.
    Technology is changing quickly, and the pace is increasing. Any decision you make about a specific technology is guaranteed to be obsolete – probably before this person’s one-year anniversary.
    I’d much rather hire someone who’s demonstrated an ability to learn new technologies while employing solid fundamental skills.
    Personally, I think this trend stems in part from the proliferation of contract workers, where it makes more sense to bring in people experienced in the tools you’re using for a project, and from interviewers’ inability to accurately assess fundamental skills. Managers have simply forgotten how to hire good people.

  4. Brendan August 27, 2007 at 9:12 am - Reply

    Oh, brilliant!!
    I work for a youth job services agency, and part of my job is to go through the postings each week to try to find positions that teens and young adults could apply for (I’m doing it right now…I read this blog post during a short break from the tedium, haha). So many of these positions that could easily be filled by our clients are ruled out because the poster has listed absurd requirements.
    Granted, what I’m talking about is slightly different than what’s being posted here, but the point is the same: a large percentage craigslist postings are laughable. Everyone wants an inhuman candidate…that golden, shining “incredibly creative, extremely well-organized, totally 100% flexible, impeccably punctual” employee-Adonnis. News flash: THAT PERSON IS NOT REAL.
    Oh, and I know this is a very tired complaint, but can we *please* quit with the all-caps entries and ############################### +++++++++++++++++ ************************ b.s. in the title lines? I have to read thousands of posts a week…my brain is starting to hurt from all those symbols.
    (iaind – Great link! I’ll be reading this one for sure!)

  5. Mario August 27, 2007 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Dear Guy,
    The following sites I consider to be the best to read and post jobs:
    * www.thelathers.com
    * www.netshare.com
    * www.linkedin.com
    * www.boardcrunch.com
    * www.kornferry.com
    Although your tips are sound, the real security is to apply through reputable places and very secure companies.
    Remember, most of them use recruiters. Think that your ability to get a good position depends on the ten seconds from these expert people on reading your CV and cover letter.
    Be proactive rather than reactive on the verge of not being disturbing.
    Do not get down with turn downs, it is not to your person: you have to kiss plenty of frogs before you kiss a prince!
    Mario Ruiz
    @ http://www.oursheet.com

  6. Marc Duchesne August 27, 2007 at 9:53 am - Reply

    I’m afraid this is a classic of the Post-Bubble Era. Worldwide and cross-industries/economy sectors tough, which is a shame.
    Two trends I’ve noticed over the last few years whilst looking for a senior position myself here in Europe :
    a) the one highligted by Guy’s post : “we think we can hire someone great for peanuts, and we’d rather hire cheap lousy people than expensive good ones and screw up our out-of-touch pay ranges.”
    and b) the one consisting of those job ads where “7+ years in a similar position”, “mandatory experience in the xyz field/market”, and “outstanding results in the same position” are the motto. In other words : “We want to hire a senior manager working since years at one of our competitors so we won’t take any risk with the new position we create for us to catch up with those guys.”

  7. Mark August 27, 2007 at 9:59 am - Reply

    As a designer, I can say that is a pretty tame ad. I’ve seen people asking for skills as far-reaching as .ASP, Java, Perl and Php mastery, copywriting, illustration and assorted other talents. I assume that it is the work of an over-extended HR person who, not familiar with the technical mumbo jumbo, is just trying to get enough keywords out there that someone will bite.

  8. Patrick Burt August 27, 2007 at 10:02 am - Reply

    I hate to be a bitch, but people graduating from the Graphic Design program at a college where I live, and where I’m also a graduate has all those skills. Of course, without the 1-2 years experience.

  9. RayC22 August 27, 2007 at 10:08 am - Reply

    “Compensation: Commensurate with experience.” This is recruit-speak for “we think we can hire someone great for peanuts, and we’d rather hire cheap lousy people than expensive good ones and screw up our out-of-touch pay ranges.”
    On the nail! I also like (in your book) your reply to the hotshot is asking about the salary range, “What is your current salary level?”

  10. mike August 27, 2007 at 10:21 am - Reply

    the fundamental flaws in asking for the moon and the stars (when you really only need the moon) are:
    1.) you will never find that golden unicorn candidate. sorry.
    2.) even if you did – asking them to forget half of what they know upon accepting your job will make them: a.) not take it in the first place, b.) quit, or c.) resent your bait-and-switch maneuver every day they’re at their unchallenging, unrewarding job.
    your thought process for writing a good help wanted ad should start thusly-
    The ideal candidate: should be able to do the job.
    then proceed to describe what the job IS.

  11. BeReasonable August 27, 2007 at 10:36 am - Reply

    It’s easy to say people are out of touch, but here are two trends that you don’t seem to touch on. People are encouraged by friends and professionals to apply for jobs they aren’t 100% qualified for, because “no one who has all of that would apply for that job.” Companies know that’s what people do and can use the candidate’s lack of experience in Arcane, Proprietary Language X to deny them the pay amount the HR analyst identified for the position.
    This way a person who is actually qualified for the job gets the job and the hiring manager gets a person for less than what the HR analyst priced the position at. Everybody wins!

  12. Susanna August 27, 2007 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Actually, I know all that software and all those scripting languages. I’ve also been a supervisor. And that’s because I have 10 years of work experience.
    I may meet the qualifications, but something tells me this employer probably wouldn’t be willing to pay me what I’d ask for.

  13. Bill August 27, 2007 at 11:37 am - Reply

    “Oh I almost forgot, the candidate should have gained all this expertise while using the PC-version of applications. What self-respecting candidate is going to admit that? What candidate is going to want to do this kind of work on a PC?”
    Was this really necessary? That’s just ignorant fanboy propaganda.

  14. crazysheep August 27, 2007 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    I use the PC version for these applications…I cant stand Macs….
    Seriously, they do not make life any easier.
    We all know you worked for Apple, good for you. Doesn’t mean any graphic/print/web designer needs to use a Mac to be proficient at his/her job.

  15. Richard August 27, 2007 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    There is another possibility with this type of ad – and so many others you will find these days for any IT-related position.
    The ad is being posted simply to comply with Federal guidelines/requirements with regards to importing foreign workers.
    There are IT-related ads so broad and diverse that no one could possibly meet the requirements.
    Here’s a link with video to get you started in uncovering the real reason behind such ads:
    Fake Job Ads
    BTW – Love your books – you must be a hoot to work alongside!

  16. Rich Lewis August 27, 2007 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Nice job on this one Guy, especially the part about selling the job. Alot of this is common sense, but you’ve put it all together well.

  17. Joe Clark August 27, 2007 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    The kinds of skills for which the advertisement driftnets are associated with longtime Macintosh graphic designers, not the dilettantes who manage to figure out how to lay out side-by-side columns in Quark for Windows.
    A Windows habitué with all those skills will be at the pinnacle of a very small mountain and could name their price. They are, moreover, not checking Craigslist for leads.

  18. Brady J. Frey August 27, 2007 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    “I hate to be a bitch, but people graduating from the Graphic Design program at a college where I live, and where I’m also a graduate has all those skills.”
    You may think your graduates have all those skills, but I’d take the pepsi challenge against that opinion. Every designer I’ve ever trained, including the 2 in my office, have had to be re-trained; from dated coding experience in websites, to proper production usage of the tools, to experience in general design. Supervisor experience I would argue may plant but does not sprout in college.
    Nothing personal, you could very well have surpassed your peers in skill (and aside from cringing on a full flash layout for those of us running flash, your skillset is better than some of the designers I have), but that can’t be a generalized opinion of all your students. I’ll give you this though, it’s a pleasure to see a graduate who understands wordpress and has a proper grasp of CSS and HTML (though those wordpress templates almost always have a case of divitis), but there’s always room for growth and improvement – on both our ends – the above job reference leaves little wiggle room and smells like a middle manager without said knowledge.

  19. d-mac August 27, 2007 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    Guy,
    Thanks for posting that ad.
    The ad is very typical of what I’ve seen on Craigslist, both locally and nationally.
    The two most typical ad “types” I see on Craigslist are (translated to reality):
    (1) We need someone who is left-brain _and_ right-brain dominant, someone who is an engineer _and_ an artist, someone who is expert in all industry-standard software tools, comfortable in totally unrelated skillsets, such as advanced typographic design and engineering/scientific analysis, plus expert in programming languages…
    (2) We need someone who is an expert in whatever field, especially in video/film production or Web design, knows every tool at an expert level, has a pro level resume that would make a twenty industry veteran weep, etc. We would like you to work for ~20% of the average, entry-level industry wage…
    The common thread usually involves no pay or horribly insufficient pay (unethical pay offers, really)… The other thread is that the employer wants someone who would have to possess traits you would never find in a single person, no matter how much experience he/she had (at an expert level, course)…
    Now, you may find someone who made a drastic career change at some point, but I doubt that the same person would still be expert in something which they haven’t done in years…
    I would say that I haven’t surveyed other more “professionally-oriented” sites, such as Monster.com, etc.
    I just love it… “We want to hire someone with the equivalent of several disparate graduate-level degrees, a few dozen years of experience, an expert in several fields, someone whom would really cost over $300K/year if they even existed, but we will only pay $15/hour…
    Anyone would posts that kind of ad should be cross-checked hard enough into the boards that they don’t get up for a long time… (sarcasm)

  20. Paul August 27, 2007 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    Be mindful of the law of unintended consequences – today I received a response to a CL post for a warehouse lead position stating he could do the job, but only for 10% more than the top end of the salary range posted. Then only 2 minutes later he had the gall to send a follow up recommending we review this blog with the simple comment “This may prove helpful to you.” and the link. He failed to take it upon himself to sell his ability to exceed the demands of the position to the benefit of the company and thereby justify his worth. Selling yourself in the job search doesn’t end when you submit the resume.

  21. Ryan Anderson August 27, 2007 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    I’m not defending how well-written this job posting is, but I think you’re being a little harsh.
    In my own day job, we wouldn’t even consider a junior designer who didn’t have all of those qualifications. My suspicion is that they’re looking for people who understand flash, HTML and PHP, but not who would be primarily coders. If you’re an interactive shop, all of your designers have to understand how the final design is going to integrate into the finished product. And most interactive shops use PC – simply because that’s what the majority of site visitors use.
    Also, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a design job that asked for a mediocre portfolio, so I think “exceptional” isn’t too hyperbolic an adjective.
    For the record, I’m a PR Guy, and I consider myself proficient with all of those tools, so I wouldn’t overestimate the severity of the qualifications.
    That said, I agree with all of your points on how to write better job posts… handy, since we’re hiring like mad right now.

  22. Rob Mathewson August 27, 2007 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    The last time that I answered an analogous ad that seemed to shoot for the moon while asking for 1-2 years experience, it turned out that the recruiter was collecting resumes two positions. Both junior (1-2 years experience) and a senior candidate(a bunch of practical experience)were being sought. In the end it it became apparent that the hiring company didn’t know what they wanted.

  23. dMix August 27, 2007 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the post, I agree 100%
    I have limited qualifications and some experiance and I still created my own social application with no funding. (contrastream.com)
    I found that no job would understand what I’m offering (mostly on craigslist) so I took the time to take my own route.

  24. Sam August 27, 2007 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    I don’t see it as too much to ask for, necessarily, for a couple of reasons.
    1. They never say how proficient you should be. I can do a wide variety of stuff in Photoshop and Illustrator, and anything I can’t do I can learn. I’ve used Dreamweaver, Flash and Quark before, though I don’t use them as regularly as the others. I’m familiar with Java and can learn JavaScript no problem (I just haven’t ever needed to do much with JavaScript.)
    2. “I need experience on a PC? Yeah I’ve had experience on personal computers. I’ve never even used a mainframe. Oh, IBM-compatible? Yeah, every time I do a web site I pop over to the nearest Windows computer to see if it works (because if Internet Explorer on Windows doesn’t screw it up, you’re mostly good.)” Also, Linux and (now) Mac run on IBM-compatible hardware. So, pretty much, any OS you want to use works fine.
    So the problem with that ad is, in my opinion, that it’s vague. I’m nowhere near a degree in graphic design, and I’ve not got two years of experience, but if I did spend the next two years of assembling things in Quark, fooling around with HTML and CSS, editing pictures in Photoshop, and getting together a team of students for a project under my supervision, I could put my best work in a portfolio and say I was qualified for the job.

  25. Pedro August 27, 2007 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    “the candidate should have gained all this expertise while using the PC-version of applications. What self-respecting candidate is going to admit that? What candidate is going to want to do this kind of work on a PC?”
    Mind you that outside of the US, any Apple product costs us an arm and a leg. The vast majority of print designers I know here in Brazil learned all they know in a PC. And some of them are very good professionals.
    You sound like a mac fanboy on that one…

  26. Smittie August 27, 2007 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    I have an excellent understanding of the computer software development cycle. I have been a successful participant in the software development processes of Microsoft and Apple. I have experience as a developer, a QA tester, a localization/internationalization support specialist, technical project management and product development.
    Yet, every time I have to go job hunting I become fairly convinced that I am not qualified for any jobs in the software industry as I read the skill sets most companies claim to be looking for. Moreover, I have always found it interesting to compare the people hired with the job description posted.
    Some thing terrible must have happened on the way to the office because the person who showed up for work is definitely not the wunderkind described in the job posting.

  27. Andrew Smith August 27, 2007 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but real designers don’t use tupperware computers. Or even spaghetti strainer ones.
    (ducking!)
    😛

  28. NY August 27, 2007 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    This is actually pretty tame for NYC Craigslist. Here’s one the wilder ones: “Hot Greenwich Startup seeks Web Development Maniac!!!” – http://newyork.craigslist.org/fct/eng/405670052.html
    (Love the classy “OK, listen up!” opening :))
    Long lists of required skills usually hint that whoever wrote the ad isn’t technical – should be a warning sign. The ads I really don’t like are those looking for “Rockstar xyz Developer”. Always make me think of spaced out megalomaniac Spinal Tap types in control of the products’ schedule. I’m hiring a coder now: rockstars aren’t that hard to find, decent people you can trust and communicate with are.

  29. Bert August 28, 2007 at 2:02 am - Reply

    There’s no chance you can become proficient in using all those apps in 1 or 2 years. But actually the ad is not that bad. I’ve seen worse. The successful candidate would have to be an expert in system and database administration (Oracle, MS SQL server, MySql, etc), would be an excellent Java programmer, would be familiar programming in .NET and of course would have a strong design sense and a couple of years of experience designing and developing state-of-the-art websites.
    I actually applied, because I was desperate back then.
    They told me how much they wanted to pay me.
    I almost fell off the chair laughing.
    They actually hired someone.
    I believe companies that put up job ads like that target desperate people who just need a job more than anything.

  30. Enrique Burgos August 28, 2007 at 2:36 am - Reply

    It’s not so inusual Guy, many job offers are published in this way, incredible experience with dissapointing compensations. In marketing offers are very similar to this one.
    In my 9 years of experience I have saw locally (Spain) and internationally the same way to manage recruition, with some exceptions, but today with the global internet recruitions possibilities, companies can reach more people with less efforts.

  31. Noelle Chun August 28, 2007 at 5:16 am - Reply

    Sounds like they’re looking for someone who went to a j-school or design school for undergrad. One of my friends is at Parsons in NYC, and they teach her how to use all the applications listed and how to put together an “exceptional” portfolio. J-schools are leaning more and more that way, too, with this new “convergence” trend–that is, teaching students how to use a gambit of media to tell stories. Many of my classmates teach themselves design/flash/html/photography or take extra classes for it. In the coming years, my school plans to make it a part of the formal curriculum. Proves helpful when trying to land that first job. And we all hope the peanuts are not too small…

  32. Joel Mueller August 28, 2007 at 6:02 am - Reply

    Actually,John Warnock probably has very little idea how to use Photoshop. Yes, I know he was the CEO of Adobe. But did you ever go to the MacHack conference to hear him speak? He brought someone that works for Adobe to answer real questions about the product. It was almost as if he had no clue about specifics of “his” own app. Oh yeah, and he didn’t know what Cocoa was, among other things. So “Only the kids of John Warnock who were suckled at the breast of Adobe” probably doesn’t mean anything at all!

  33. Zaid Rasid August 28, 2007 at 8:08 am - Reply

    It seems there are a lot of companies that want it all for the pricing of nothing. It’s unfortunate. To me, honesty is a two way stream. If you post a job description like that, then you can expect a lot of candidates who will most likely fabricate their qualifications. It’s about finding a balance. It’s about reasonable expectations and fair compensation. Sure I’ve worked with all of the above listed programs but do I use them all at once? Not likely. And am I proficient in all of them. I don’t think so. It’s better to be an expert in maybe one or two of those programs.
    Thanks for the great post and sticking up for some of us designers:)

  34. George Talev August 28, 2007 at 10:36 am - Reply

    There is a nice joke about how computer/software specialists are hired. I am translating it from Bulgarian (couldn’t find it in English) and I will do my best to make it sound funny in English also.
    ==========================================
    If the bus drivers were hired like software developers:
    Job position: Driver
    Requirements: professional skills in driving normal- and heavy-freight cars, buses and trucks, trolley buses, trams, subways, tractors, shovel diggers, contemporary light and heavy tanks currently in use by NATO countries.
    Skills in rally and extreme driving are obligatory!
    Formula-1 driving experience is a plus.
    Knowledge and experience in repairing of piston and rotor engines, automatic and manual transmissions, ignition systems, board computer, ABS, ABD, GPS and car-audio systems by world-known manufacturers – obligatory!
    Experience with car-painting and tinsmith tasks is a plus.
    The applicants must have certificates by BMW, General Motors and Bosch, but not older than two years.
    Compensation: $15-$20/hour, depends on the interview result.
    ========================================

  35. Eddie Baki August 28, 2007 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    In Germany there is a similar joke. It goes like: … Applicant age: 20-25 years,Experience: 30+ years … I think many companies don’t know what they’re looking for. I also suspect that many companies use such job ads to impress people and the competition by showing that they only hire the best. Eddie

  36. Max August 29, 2007 at 6:02 am - Reply

    The thing that got me was the requirement for a DEGREE in web/graphic design. Many, many successful designers never earned a degree in the field, and this seems particularly ridiculous for someone at a level of only 1-2 years’ experience. Sigh, when will employers learn?

  37. Red Ditto August 29, 2007 at 6:54 am - Reply

    Rule #3: Learn how to write a jobdescription

    I can’t tell you how many managers have no idea or experience in writing a job description, and leave it to the HR department to do so.   Managers forget that candidates tailor their resumes to a posted job description when applying.  Often, you 

  38. JoLaine August 29, 2007 at 6:59 am - Reply

    I have seen way too many wasted resources on companies writing job descriptions. It’s called business 101 — learn how to do it and do it well. And, please, don’t leave it to the HR department to do it for you.

  39. Planning, Startups, Stories August 30, 2007 at 1:02 am - Reply

    How Not to Get Hired Via Craigslist

    Guy Kawasaki posted earlier this week both How to Get a Job on Craigslist and How Not to Hire on Craigslist, and Sabrina Parsons posted a related piece Honesty is Not Always the Best Policy. Then today I get the

  40. Blog of Ultimate Power! August 30, 2007 at 6:16 am - Reply

    The IT Recruitment Dance

    Guy Kawasaki has an interesting posting, How to Not Hire Someone Via Craigslist, in which he describes some practices for creating a job posting.  Technical recruiting can be tricky when recruiters and HR professionals get involved in hiring for pos…

  41. oxygen August 30, 2007 at 9:38 am - Reply

    This is really funny, but I am the person who created this “unrealistic” (as some people feel) ad.
    And surprisingly, I am not “some HR person” who put it together, I am a senior designer working for the company who is hiring, and I am not considering myself a genius. But based on my personal experience, a designer with the formal design education, not only have to be able to use all the listed applications, know CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and some Flash, as well as work with print products and have a solid portfolio, but be able to learn something extra…(is it really to much to ask? How did you guys, who didn’t have all these skills end up employed as a web designer anyway).
    Regarding PC platform – in software development field it is mandatory, design for web applications have to be done on PC, since most of the web users are using PC. I think that for a good and talented designer, who is not “carrying bags”, but actually working, 2 years of professional experience is enough to master the software skills he learned in the school and have all the qualifications I listed above. And I feel that real world designers will agree with me…
    And finally, I lead a team of 5 designers who were hired in last 2 years using the same ad… maybe it is just luck or maybe your “comments” really does not make any sense

  42. timoni August 30, 2007 at 10:43 am - Reply

    When I first started looking for design jobs after college, I worried a lot because my degree was in literature and so many ads called for BFAs in graphic design/IT. My older friends told me to ignore that part: “They don’t mean it. They don’t really care. As long as you can do the work, it doesn’t matter.”
    As it turns out, they were right. Portfolios are the key selling point. So why do HR reps continue to post degree qualifications?

  43. blipsman August 30, 2007 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    Even worse are the more freelance-oriented job postings, which want HTML, CSS, ASP, PHP, Flash, databases, etc. and are looking for “students” or “can’t afford to pay much but it’ll look good in a portfolio.”

  44. Shava Nerad/Shava Suntzu in SL August 30, 2007 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    I was chief software engineer for the first commercial multimedia development group (IVIS at DEC in ’82), have a great publication list, 25 years of Internet experience, ran my own interactive agency, successful dotcom exec (through the bubble to 2003, with strong growth et al), dabbler in most of those programs on either platform, and now doing marketing/business strategy for virtual worlds, social networking and gaming communities in convergence…
    …but I wouldn’t qualify, because I don’t have a degree and likely never will. If you are willing to take “degree or experience” say so — and if you don’t, you’re passing over a lot of talent and initiative (or, possibly, you have so much faith in a piece of paper vs. ability to produce, I wouldn’t want to work with your team anyway).

  45. Torley August 30, 2007 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    I gotta say, that Russell Brown quote is an instant classic — is sure ranks amongst my alltime faves now. The man is a living legend!

  46. JC September 1, 2007 at 5:52 am - Reply

    The problem with the ad is that it combines many diverse technical skills (a problem in its own right) with “design” skills. Either they need a designer with an “Exceptional portfolio that showcases solid conceptual, color, layout graphic design skills” or; a web production person (with technical skills for that kind of digital work) or; a print production person (with technical skills for that kind of print work).
    The type of person with design skills and the type of person with such a large range of technical skills is a rare combination.
    Also, it is much easier to train a skilled designer or artist to use software than to turn a software engineer into a designer or artist. (And that is a slightly paraphrased quote from a lead creative director at Industrial Light and Magic!)
    Hire a designer and/or hire a tech. Assume you will not find both. Cheap or expensive.

  47. Rachel September 2, 2007 at 11:39 am - Reply

    So true! As someone who’s been doing this for around 8 years, when I see job posts like this it makes me cringe. Actually, I *have* mastered all of those applications, plus a few others. But clearly this employer is not prepared to offer the salary I’d ask!
    And the reason I’ve been able to learn all of what I know, and gotten to this point in my career, is a boss who was willing to hire a 19 -year-old attending community college and throw whatever resources at me he needed to, so that I could learn it all. I wish more managers understood that!

  48. Geo September 5, 2007 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    As an H.R/Recruiter type person I would like to give some perspective on “Compensation: Commensurate with experience.”
    First off – Not everyone is evil.
    For one thing it gives companies some flexibility. Most companies will budget a range for a salary. We don’t wish to be locked in to a salary for someone who may be under qualified but we are willing to invest in training.
    For some companies publishing salaries can open a whole can of worms. News Flash: People can be petty, and knowing that your new web developer is making $70,000 and you’re not (even though you may not be on that team) can be a cause for resentment.
    Finally believe it or not, some organizations simply don’t know what they want to pay, or can afford to pay. This is especially true of nonprofits and small businesses so “Commensurate with experience” may be a place holder until they figure that part out.

  49. jim peake September 7, 2007 at 8:46 am - Reply

    in my experience the best jobs are not advertised but referrals. i have found job sites to be non relevant in 99% of what they claim to be. chet holmes has the best advice for hiring in his new book “the ultimate sales machine” which is a really bad title and should be called “how to build the ultimas business machine from soup to nuts.”
    chet has a chapter called “hiring superstars” and it is the best information any recruiter or company will find in my humble opinion. he’s a couple of example questions on pp 90
    what events or influences from your childhood shaped who you are today?
    what are some of the biggest challenges in your life? (they need not be work related)
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1591841607?tag=mysuccessgate-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1591841607&adid=1F0P73V5XA3GB9VFZA6B&

  50. anon September 7, 2007 at 9:17 am - Reply

    I can do all of what was posted in the ad, but I have 12 years of experience, and tend to work/learn all the time.
    I also charge $150 per hour. Also, who works for $20/hour?! The teenager that mows my lawn charges more than that.

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