Does it surprise you when I confess that there are lots of balancing acts behind the scenes of a successful company like Viget? As someone who helps with recruiting, I often find myself balancing priorities and expectations. I've written about our approach to recruiting before; we try to be creative in our efforts and we expect applicants to do the same, but we also prioritize some very traditional values like integrity and hard work.
Our colleagues at OnWired recently pulled back the curtain a little on their recruiting process. It's interesting - and in this case fun - to see what other companies are doing and what their results are. They share snippets of responses from design applicants to their request for "The World's Greatest Cover Letter." I love OnWired's playful tone and it is clear that a lot of applicants love it, too. I know they do great work, so I assume OnWired's recruiting strategies are paying off.
I'll admit that at Viget I sometimes struggle to peel back the layers of "personality" from applicants' cover letters and find their “real” professional identity. Out of this struggle comes my evolving expertise at balancing expectations for professionalism with expectations for enthusiasm and creative energy. With practice, I've honed a pretty nuanced sense of what “works” and what doesn’t when I review an applicant's materials. I’ve also come to feel some camaraderie with candidates when I can tell he or she is walking the same careful line; just last week someone ended a very professional cover letter that may have otherwise been lacking personality with, “P.S. I didn't think it was appropriate to add to my resume, but my Wii bowling skills are out of this world! Thanks again for your time.”
Viget really is what we describe it to be. My coworkers and I work hard to live up to the company's reputation, maintain a good sense of humor, and achieve ambitious professional goals. But the truth is that all of those things are balanced by a lot of hours spent working very hard in a sort of quiet way. I encourage potential Viget applicants to write a strong cover letter, but I challenge you not just to be creative or to show some personality; I challenge you to be authentic and honest when you tell us about your skills, interests, and experience. Balance the description of your unbridled personal ambitions with some humility and plans for growth or improvement. Be confident, but above all, be real.