One of my least favorite parts, so far, about running my own company is the part where I look to hire new people. Posting on craigslist is the best way to go, in my opinion. In fact, that’s how I found all of the jobs that I’ve ever worked for, so I swear by it.
Posting on craigslist, however, has its ups and downs. Firstly, it’s where the serious programmers/designers go to look for work. We tend to want to stay underground and organic; Craigslist provides both of these luxuries. However, craigslist has become a breeding ground for the outsourcing companies in India or the Phillipines as well and you get a lot of generic copy/paste submissions any time you post an ad.
So, I’ve discovered a way to combat that that seems to work for the most part. I ask the applicant to answer unique questions. Most of the time the questions server two purposes, aside from being able to tell if the applicant is a outsourcing company or a legitimate local applicant. The first purpose is usually to draw the “personality” out in the person and help them feel less unsure of themselves as they submit the application. This is projective, I know, but any time I have ever submitted an application there was always that seed of doubt. So its to get them thinking about fun things. The second nature of the questions is to gain a bit of insight towards the general attitude about the person. Those questions are usually when I ask questions about other people. “Who is your hero and why,” is always a great question for that purpose because of the power of projection. The answer to that question always tells me what the person’s values are to them and what they would uphold no matter what.
Not only has this questioning process helped me narrow down my applicants to look at (which is a great thing), it has also helped for me to look forward to reading each person’s submission as well. It sets me up to look at their portfolios in a more humanitarian based way, and thus, more objectively. I think about the person themselves as I look at their samples.
If anyone else wants to give it a shot to post questions, please do post here and let me know what your experience of doing it was and how it effected you and the way you read the cover letter, portfolio submissions, etc.