At Thunder, we have an extensive hiring process, which a candidate must go through in order to be considered for employment with us. It basically goes like this:
- Apply – Candidate sends in resume, any applicable writing samples, and answers the questions attached to the job posting.
- Phone Interview – A short case study is conducted over the phone with candidate.
- In-Person Interview – A work skills interview is conducted in the office or via Google Hangout, if the candidate is unable to attend in person.
- Casual Meet & Greet – Candidate is invited back to the office to meet the entire team and spend time one-on-one, ensuring a good fit with the team’s culture and values.
Over the past couple of years, we have seen some stellar applications (most of whom are our current Thunder Cats, of course), and we have also seen some not-so-stellar candidates. I’m hoping this post will help both future employees of Thunder, as well as people simply trying to break into the interactive marketing industry, and land the job of their dreams!
Image: Gabrie Coletti
Keeping it Relevant
So, you’ve seen a job posting that has sparked your interest, what next? This may seem silly, but I think it is incredibly important to mention: Do you have a relevant background, education, or skills that make you qualified?
Perhaps your degree isn’t in interactive marketing, and if that’s the case, tell me why you’re still a good fit for the job. Maybe you manage social profiles for your internship or part time job? Maybe you run your own blog that already has a huge following? Maybe you have excellent grammar and writing skills? (Yes, that counts!) Maybe you’re a website nut and love coding and building websites? All of these skills are relevant and appreciated in a potential Thunder Cat.
Attention to Detail Counts
Now that you’ve decided you’re qualified, please don’t miss the most important step of our hiring process! Answer all questions attached to the job posting and provide all relevant materials (your resume, writing samples, etc.) with your application. This is your interview before the interview! We will not even consider your application if you don’t answer the questions fully or provide us with all the documents we’ve requested. (Yes, I’m serious.) Even if you are the very best candidate for the job, we will not put you through to the next round if you goof up here.
Once you’ve compiled all your documents and written exceptional answers to our questions, it’s time to actually apply! Put some thought into your application email and cover letter. What is going to catch my attention and make you stand out when I’m receiving several emails a day, all vying for the same position? Show your personality and make me remember you. Fitting in with Thunder’s culture is a BIG part of our hiring process, so make sure I get a good feel for who you are and why you’re awesome — besides your kick ass social skills, of course.
Next up is one of my personal favorite tips: Know that I am going to find you on the Internet… on every social network possible. Yes, I am a Senior Social Media specialist and creeping on social profiles is what I do best. No, seriously. If you love to post photos of yourself drinking, partying, half-naked, or in other less-than-professional settings, you should probably make sure your profile is private. (Or, here’s a thought, perhaps just don’t post that type of stuff in the first place!)
Image: Mitchell Weinstock
I have literally seen it all: bikinis, beer bongs, bong bongs, smoking, drinking, videos of profane cursing, you name it. And sometimes, people have actually provided me with the links directly to those social profiles — I didn’t even have to go snooping for them! If you’re applying for a social media position, I’m going to check out your social profiles, so you should probably make sure the content you’re posting is professional and appropriate for a future employer.
If you don’t know how to make your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram private or you aren’t sure what content strangers are able to see on your profiles, allow me to help you out:
Adjusting Your Privacy Settings on Facebook
Go to your profile page and click on the sprocket/gear next to your Activity Log in the bottom right corner of your cover photo. Select “View As”. This will show you what your profile looks like to people you are not already friends with on Facebook. You can then go through your privacy settings to make sure your activity and photos are not public. Unfortunately, cover photos are always public, so you may want to keep that in mind, or delete some of your older ones.
Protecting your Tweets on Twitter
Click on the gear/sprocket in the upper right hand corner, then click on Settings, and finally, Security and Privacy. Click “Protect my Tweets” if you wish to tweet in an unprofessional or private manner. Your tweets are now safe from the eyes of future employers like myself.
Keeping Instagram Photos Private
Click on “Edit Your Profile” when you are on your own Instagram profile within the app. Turn the switch from off to on for “Posts are Private”. Your Instagram posts are now also free from judgmental eyes.
While an inappropriate Facebook post will not automatically disqualify you from the running for a position at Thunder, it will definitely be considered when we’re evaluating your social savviness and professionalism.
To summarize, here are some things that I really liked during our last interview process. The candidates who did the following all received gold stars from me:
- Showed personality: The best candidates showed passion for our industry in their application cover letters, and it was clear they didn’t just need this job to fulfill an internship requirement or pay their bills.
- Maintained appropriate social media profiles: Many applicants shared links to their social media profiles with great updates and engaging images. Who doesn’t love a good food pic?
- Did their research: A few superstars clearly did their research on Thunder (and me!) by checking out our company’s social profiles and the Thunder Blog. Several even referenced specific tactics shared in Thunder blog posts during their interviews. (Automatic brownie points!)
- Answered our questions thoughtfully: As we’ve mentioned, the questions are important, so someone that takes the time to answer thoughtfully is a plus. This doesn’t mean the responses need to be long! Just thoughtful and insightful.
- Didn’t have grammar errors: We ask for writing samples, but the entire application process is an opportunity to see your writing style in action. We are huge grammar nuts around here, and people who share my love for the Oxford Comma automatically receive high fives, respect, and admiration from me. (See what I did there?)
Image: Doug Stephens
- Stayed honest: Don’t tell us you have experience in a certain field if you don’t. Tell me you’re willing to learn instead.
- Thanked us: Following up with a thank you email or letter never goes unappreciated at Thunder. This may seem old fashioned, but it WILL make a difference if we are trying to decide between two candidates. (Trust me!)
- Didn’t play games: Following up in a timely manner is important, always. Don’t waste my time or leave me hanging if you are no longer interested in the position.
And now some things I did NOT like (although they were very entertaining):
- Inappropriate social profiles: Some candidates shared links to social profiles with totally inappropriate content like nudity, alcohol, drugs, videos of profanity. Really?
- No attention to detail: If you’re applying to a job, you should probably attach the right resume, amiright? Was it mislabeled on your computer perhaps? Double — nay — triple check all of your documents before you hit send!
- Not answering the questions: You’re out.
- Outdated writing samples: It’s 2014, anyone can have a blog. Don’t send us outdated content from your 2011 journalism class, show us something you created last week!
- Grammar fails: If you have spelling and grammar errors in your cover letter, answers to the questions, or resume, you’re probably out. We need to know that we can trust you with our biggest clients’ social profiles. If there are typos in your application, we’re already off to a bad start.
While this post may not touch on every “do” and “don’t” in Thunder’s hiring process, I do hope it gives you a glimpse behind the curtain as to what makes an ideal future Thunder Cat! Help me help you by following these tips and I’m sure we will be co-workers in no time. Good luck!
Also, a special congrats to Michael who just recently made his way successfully through Thunder’s hiring process!