How I Hire

Nov 12, 2012 by

Over the past month, I have been asked to both hire a professional photographer and a resident superintendent. In both cases, I received dozens of applications and ultimately had to winnow the applicants down to one individual. I later realized that I asked myself similar questions in both cases:

  • Did the applicant provide me enough information to assess their ability in their application? Given hundreds of applicants, an inadequate application resulted in an automatic reject. I did not have time to ask photographers to send me links to their photos, nor did I have time to ask superintendents to tell me about their work experience and training.
  • Did the applicant provide me the ability to assess their abilities efficiently? One photographer sent me a 15 minute video of their work, while several others sent me a set of static albums containing hundreds of photos. While I was only able to review a handful of photos in the video (as I do not have 15 minutes to sit around and watch when making an assessment), I was able to rapidly review a few dozen photos from the photographers who sent me the static albums. I likewise did not seriously consider applicants that forced me to view their work in a timed slideshow that I could not control. Applicants should consider the time of the interviewer when making their case.
  • Did the applicant provide me an adequate body of work for me to comfortable with their consistency and experience? A number of photographers sent me fewer than a dozen photos to evaluate their work, or simply a highlights reel. Neither is useful. When making a decision about hiring, it is far more useful to see a complete body of work. When a photographer shows every photo they took for two hours, it is possible to assess both quality and consistency. A highlights reel provides no such assurances. Great applicants provided a large body of work that I could review at my own pace.

Although superintendents provide a somewhat different sort of service, many of these issues were overlapping. When reviewing superintendent applications, I only considered ones that contained a resume or other references to work experiences. If an applicant provided limited information and suggested that I call them to learn more, the applicant failed to use my time efficiently. When considering work histories, I gave preference to applicants with relevant work experience. While I am sure the physicist that applied to be the superintendent was brilliant, he simply did not have the experiences or training necessary for me to be sure that he would be successful on the job.

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