I recently hired a junior web designer who will work with me to deliver awesome web projects.
Here’s the thing though, I’ve got pretty high standards, and when I’m looking for someone to work with me, I’m looking for something very specific. I want someone who’s basically a junior version of me, a mini-me if you will.
So I got to thinking, and I figured I’d put up what it is exactly I’m looking for when I hire someone to work for me. I’m not unique in this, I’m sure that even though the postings don’t say this, anybody who’s in my position and is looking for a kick assed front end designer/developer, you’d see a pretty similar posting.
Interesting sidebar, when I worked at TSN I had written a job description similar to this one but the HR department said that it was too “cute”…it was really frustrating for me because this was exactly the person that I wanted, but instead of that the job description ended up being for someone with an “Excellent knowledge of websites and website best practices”, which means basically nothing. I don’t want that person to even interview. I wanted rockstars. Dudes who would roll up in stretch limos with portfolios longer than my arms stuffed with websites that blew my mind. Instead I got a bunch of kids who had never built a website, some old timers who were interested in the exposure, and a few in-betweeners.
In the middle of that mess I found Kate, who has turned into a Rock Star at TSN, and whom I’d hire again in a heartbeat.
So this is what I’m looking for when I’m hiring someone for web development.
You live, breathe, and eat the internet.
You have a shoebox full of cd’s of work you’ve done in the past.
You understand web design, not just “design”, but specifically web design. If you’re reading this and saying “Oh come on, print and the web aren’t so different”, then this please don’t apply.
You visit and use Design Float.
You have profiles on social networking sites I don’t even know about.
You have a CSS Zen Garden design (this will be your skills assessment test, and it should already live in your portfolio).
You have a significant bookmark collection on Delicious.
The names Dave Shea, Douglas Bowman, Erik Meyer and Jeffery Zeldman mean something to you.
Yeah, you have a portfolio (though it’s probably not finished because you’ve been too busy…you know, working).
You can show me five specific examples of things you have done that live on websites. If those websites are dead, you have archived copies of them on your portfolio site.
In the interview you mention two sites I love.
In the interview you mention a site I didn’t even know existed (but now I can’t live without it).
You know what I’m talking about when I say “rich user experiences”. You understand that less is more. You have a ridiculous amount of bookmarks. You think that Hotmail’s come a long way, but you can point out ten specific instances where Yahoo Mail is better.
You don’t fear “cloud computing”, but you probably don’t hold a lot of faith in it ever becoming a reality.
You have an Xbox Live account.
You have ONE remote control in your living room (and you have twelve stories of why I need to buy the remote you have).
You count the storage in your home in the terrabytes.
When I ask you if you’d mind doing a quick skills test, the right answer is “No, not at all.”
When you DO get the skills test, it comes back to me that same night. Bonus points if it comes back to me at 3am.
Your computer is a Core 2 Duo with about a bazillion gigs of RAM.
You know how to draw.
You do initial wireframes on paper, but you don’t print out your final designs.
You bring exactly two pieces of paper to your interview. They are both copies of your resume.
You can tell a joke.
Alright, I admit I’m a pretty tough nut, I want a lot, but I’ve had some pretty spectacular experiences, and you’re going to learn more working for me in the first month than you learned in your four years of college (trust me, I taught at college and the first thing I did was unlearn them of all the bad habits that they had learned).
If you come in prepared to do this kind of stuff, I guarantee there’s a bunch of guys out there just like me, we’ve all got about 12 years experience, we stumbled and staggered through the first five years, but now we’re ninjas and can make your life awesome if you come prepared to work for us.