July 21, 2009
Lindsay Wolff Logsdon, human resource manager for Frog Design, recalled a candidate who showed up for his interview in a dinosaur suit and literally sang his own praises in a musical number. Perhaps the overzealous job seeker thought it was a good way to stand out.
“Was he memorable? Absolutely,” said Logsdon. “Was he memorable for the right reason? Absolutely not.”
Frog Design has been around since 1969. Refusing to be trapped in a stodgy corporate culture, the 40-year-old international company dives into the wave of social networks to swim alongside young, hip start-ups. In a series of hand-written proclamations on its Facebook page, the company declares, “We are fanatical about improving the world ... Our work outlasts movements and fads ... Humor and spirited fun are the essence of Frog.”
So what should you do—or not do—if you want a job with a firm like this? Logsdon shares tips on using social networks, promoting yourself with blogs, and—perhaps most importantly—distinguishing yourself without jeopardizing your chances of getting hired.
Question: How do you recruit new talents for Frog Design?
Answer: I’ll be honest. In this job market, we have so many people applying that we have a pretty healthy pool of candidates to review, so we rarely do cold calls to recruit people we find on the Internet. Networking is the key in creative industries. It’s such a small community, so being outgoing or being a networker can help you find more job opportunities.
Question: With the proliferation of social networks and blogs, how should a job seeker use them?
Answer: In our online application, there’s an area to list your Web site or blog URL. It’s a great opportunity for the applicants to tailor what they want the HR person to see. Let’s say you keep two blogs. One is about cooking in your garden. That might not be relevant to your experience as an engineer, so you should steer the HR person to see the appropriate blog. Likewise, if you have a blog or a [social network] profile associated with something controversial, and it’s not necessarily a true reflection of your work personality, it’s a good idea to manage those. If you want to keep your personal life separate from your professional life, Facebook offers tools [under Privacy Settings] that help you do that. Maybe you should also put as much effort into your LinkedIn profile as you do your Facebook profile, then direct the HR person to LinkedIn, which is a more professional medium to present yourself.
Question: What else can a candidate do beside customary initiatives, like sending resumes and looking for jobs online?
Answer: We offer you an opportunity to engage with the wider Frog Design community through Facebook and LinkedIn [as Frog Design’s Design Mind Group]. You can also follow our blog, write thoughtful responses [or comments] to our posts, or attend our studio networking events. It’s a great way to learn about the company so when you’re called for an interview, you have a lot more knowledge to draw on.
Question: How do you make a decision when two candidates are equally qualified?
Answer: That’s when we look at where they’re in their career, how enthusiastic they are for what Frog Design does, and other culture fits.
Question: How important are online portfolios?
Answer: Online portfolios truly revolutionized the way we review at portfolios. For engineers and designers, they’re not just a way to showcase their work but also their skills. When we come across a strong candidate’s resume, we usually click on the link to visit their online portfolio.
Question: What are the pitfalls or faux pas candidates should avoid?
Answer: A lack of grace—being demanding, wanting an immediate response, not being flexible about interview time, showing a lack of enthusiasm for the recruitment process. We tend to remember someone who acted very graciously in an interview. Six months or a year later, when there’s a new position open, they’re the ones we want to call back.
Question: Any final advice for job seekers?
Answer: This is the perfect time to rethink what a job search really means to you. Don’t send out a one-size-fits-all resume. Do research on the companies you’re interested in and tailor your applications to those.
Frog Design maintains partnerships with niche job-listing sites like Coroflot, which specializes in industrial design, graphic design, interaction design, 3D modeling and rendering, architecture, illustration, and other similar creative fields.