Category General Updates


The art of employee recruiting

As you may know, I am currently looking for a new employer. As such, I have been applying to many positions at top UX, design and ad agencies. I recently had what can only be called “the worst hiring experience of my life”; So horrible that I am compelled to share this story for others to see how some employers choose to treat prospective new employees.

To help frame this post, keep in mind I have worked for a leading talent management software company for two years, my wife works in HR, and I am familiar with best practices in recruiting. I am also a human, with a reasonable expectation of common decency (I shouldn’t have to state this, but apparently, I do).

Although I applied for the position in question through LinkedIn, like any good candidate I researched the company. On this company’s website it states: “Become one with us. We’re always looking for a few good men. And women. Or interns. Get in touch with us; and help us, help you, help your career”. Since they asked, I emailed them a nice introduction stating I applied on LinkedIn and was interested in working for them.

The next day, the CTO emails me saying he wants me to complete a large 48 hour evaluation which consisted of coming up with a full campaign for a fake soda company’s contest page, complete with a fully annotated Photoshop PSD and multi-page Word document. Not only did I feel this was excessive, but as I got into it more, I realized it was not even UX work. It was marketing from WordTree, and graphic design, and web design… and maybe a tiny little bit of UX.

I emailed them for clarification. No response.

I decided to complete the work anyway and I send in the large PSD file and Word document on time. A few days go by, and still no response to my first question, nor did I even get a confirmation email to let me know that they received my work. Now I am getting worried that they are not getting my emails, especially since I was sending in a large file. So I email (using the “jobs” address right from their own website) asking them to confirm if they have received my files. The following is an unedited excerpt from the actual email I received from the CTO in response:

when you email our site, the president, the CEO, the CTO, and others all receive it. Please use ONLY linkedin to contact us further about the position. It is the same as a posting on Workopolis or any other channel. You use that channel for questions or inquiries, you don’t contact the organization directly. It has not helped your matter nor raised your CV to the top of the pile for consideration when you send through emails which have, quite frankly a haughty objectionable tone.

Also, I am uncertain as to your answer about relocation. We are not looking to build in a cost allowance for relocation into a salary consideration. So your response is a bit misguided in what would actually pertain to an appropriate offer.

I was absolutely floored by this response. How can any company get away with responding in such a way to someone who is just looking for the common courtesy of an acknowledgement email? I spent 8 hours working on a test that was not even related to UX for them, and all I wanted in return was a “Ok, we got it” to make sure it was sent properly. Instead I get an email accusing me of using a “haughty objectionable tone”, berating me for emailing their “jobs” email (which apparently, and oddly, goes to the president, CEO, CTO and others), and telling me I’m going to the bottom of the pile.

It was rude, inappropriate, and unfair to send that kind of email to a potential new employee. And I imagine it speaks volumes about what kind of company they are post-hire.

I immediately replied telling them to take me out of consideration. I would never work for a company that treats people that way.


Dear employers: Please be kind to candidates who are enthusiastic and interested in your company. They are the ones who will champion you and your work. Please have the courtesy to follow up with candidates, even with a template response. Nobody likes to be left hanging. And please be organized, efficient, and timely in your hiring process. It might mean the difference between hiring or losing your ideal candidate.

If your hiring experience is poor, you will not attract the top user experience talent.