On Thursday, I placed an opportunity for a freelance senior web designer on two Toronto industry group Facebook pages. One was an advertising industry page, and the other was a page for graphic designers only.
I was looking for someone to assist me on a new project. An opportunity many would covet, complete with a very decent budget for their services.
Everything I am about to say is in relation to the Graphic Design group page. On the advertising industry side, I basically got the degree of professionalism that is to be expected.
On the Graphic Design side, it was an absolute nightmare and I’m STILL shaking my head.
I had ONE specific instruction, “Post a link to your portfolio”.
I was hoping to see some ‘books’.
I then planned on spending time looking at these books in order to hopefully make a selection.
In other words, I like it when the work speaks for itself.
In today’s world, books are digital, easily posted with a direct link, and what I received, was everything BUT books.
I learned that amazingly, people DON'T follow instructions. They did on the advertising side, but maybe that’s what separates those that get in to agencies with those that don’t.
What I received were dozens upon dozens of private calls.
Loads upon loads of private messages, emails, SMS texts, and Messenger texts.
Companies sent me team introductions when I specifically asked for an individual.
No website links were posted (which is EXACTLY what I asked for).
I was sent Instagram links instead of a website. I love this one; let me get this straight…you’re applying to design a large website and you don’t even HAVE one?
And there were numerous pitches offering bargain basement package deals from those that come across like modern day snake-oil salesmen.
I’m sure my North American Telecom client would LOVE your $199 website special. Oh, and you’re currently offering 20% off the regular price? Sure, let’s talk. NOT!
Then came the private message intros (again, that I didn’t ask for) beginning with the word “Hey”.
WTF is “HEY”?
I’m sorry, are we friends?
Oh, and ending an introduction email with heart emojis? That one was a nice touch. Are we dating?
Spelling mistakes and tons of grammatical errors in the introductions, and my absolute favourite; those that have absolutely no problem telling me they are the very BEST.
Now, I’ve been doing this for 30 years, have enough awards that I stopped bothering to enter shows long ago, my work is in numerous books, they included some of my stuff in TWO different University curriculums, and never EVER would I even think of saying such a thing. Never would I have the gall to make such a statement.
Because I KNOW there are people out there MUCH better than me. I’ve even had the honour to work with a few of them.
Get over yourselves. You’re 20-something. I now look back at my own massive body of work and consider a lot of it absolute crap back when I was 20-something.
I also would like to point out that I posted my ad specifically in a Toronto-based group. I could not believe how many contacted me from outside Toronto. Forget just Toronto…the COUNTRY.
If I wanted somebody in Los Angeles, I would have reached out through a Los Angeles based group. Oh, and thank you very much for the phone calls with long distance charges.
I’m supposed to help my client get the most bang for their buck.
Paying 30% more in a currency exchange for the same work I can get here at home makes absolutely no sense.
Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE working with Americans. Because I will always happily and willingly accept greenbacks.
Maybe I should have included that we’ll be paying you in coloured money featuring a recently deceased Queen. At 30-35% off your desired rates. That may have stopped some of you from reaching out.
Every single one of these things above that I just listed resulted in INSTANT disqualification.
Every candidate that didn’t follow my instructions wasn’t even remotely considered.
Because I’m a stickler for the details. As I should be. As anyone worth their salt in this business should be. It’s what our clients deserve.
Being a successful Designer or Art Director includes placing focus and attention to the tiniest of details. At least where I’m from. Maybe that’s what honestly separates me from the rest and why I’ve had such a long and prosperous career with over 40 different agencies under my belt.
Going back to the beginning, I asked designers to post their books.
Instead, what I received was an instant education into the lack of professionalism that is to be found in the industry today and more importantly, amongst those that want to be in it.
I ended up having no choice but to delete my post. Pretty much with a sense of disgust.
One single person out of at least 60 followed my instruction and posted their portfolio website before I deleted the post.
I made sure to write her personally and congratulate her.
Call me a geezer. A dinosaur. A boomer. Whatever you want.
Because I placed an ad looking for somebody to work on a decent brand. To sit down with my client in boardroom meetings. To be part of a project they will surely be proud of.
And unfortunately, the way the majority presented themselves, I wouldn’t hire them to mop the floor.
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