Hi there, I’m Brian McKinney

Developer, designer, musician, recording engineer. In other words, I like to make things

How not to advertise your web design job

  • June 17, 2008

I've been paying attention to a site called Authentic Jobs for a while now. Not because I am looking for a job, mind you, but mainly because I like to know what people are looking for in modern designers. It is a great service which is kind of a hub where a lot of design-centric people go to look at potential jobs. However, one thing that has really been bothering me about this site has to do with the way people think they should go about trying to appeal to talented designers.

Apparently, a lot of job posters think that designers are all wanting to be known as 'rock stars' or 'ninjas'. More recently, I noticed a highly respected web application provider advertising a job for a designer that would 'kick their ass'. Said company even had the nerve to call out their applicants for inadvertently adding a space in between the words in their products' names. Now, I agree that mistakenly adding a space to a company's product name when you are applying for a job is an extreme oversight. But come on, you asked for a designer that would kick your ass. What did you expect?

I don't know any self-respecting web designers that would answer to the description of 'rock star', and I'm pretty sure I don't want to. Personally, every time I see someone post a job that has the term 'rock star' or 'ninja' in the description, I start to wonder what kind of a company it really is. More often than not, It gives me the impression that the company is full of a bunch of old, crusty people sitting around a desk in a huge conference room lit completely by extremely bright florecent lights. In said room, crusty old people spend the hour-long meeting brain storming how they can reach out to the 'young', 'hip' web designers that they need to build their new website that will have a really awesome 'splash' page, really cool animations, the exact colors that the crusty old people pick out, and will integrate all of the crusty peoples' circa 1997 ideas for making the website 'stand out'.

Awesome! But no thanks.

For me, I greatly appreciate companies that use respectful language to describe the skillset that quality designers have. I'd rather someone refer a talented designer with a great deal of css skills as being an 'expert' than a 'rock star' and rather than 'kicking a company's ass', I'd rather be able to impress them with my high-quality, usable design. Being respectful in the job posting tells me that the company takes design seriously, and offers the same level of respect to a talented designer that they would to any other excellent member of their staff.

I'm pretty sure that anyone that is trying to appeal to web designers in this manner just doesn't get it. I personally feel the meaning of 'getting it' is not having to try so hard to get attention for what you are trying to do. A company doesn't need to attempt to come up with the most in your face, off-color terminology if their work and company stands for itself. I am most interested in job postings that appeal to designers in a simple, professional manner. Just like the work I do - straight forward, eloquent, and professional is what peaks my interest.

But then again, maybe I'm just not cut out to be the ass kicking ninja rock star they are looking for.

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