So you want to work at Yellow Pencil, eh? I don’t blame you - it’s a pretty sweet gig. But getting in is no walk in the park. I’ve been involved in dozens of interviews this summer and only two have snuck in so far. (Congrats, Ivan and Sam!) So what does it take to make the team? Here are my top 10 random, biased and in no way official pointers on how to land a job here:
We’re not that formal. You’ll see the occasional tie, but as long as you don’t show up in sweatpants, you’ll be fine. And don’t be afraid to show your personality. We’re a pretty accepting and good-humoured bunch, so crack a joke if you have one.
Don’t be shy
Get in front of as many Pencils as you can and say hi. They’re all pretty awesome and it certainly won’t hurt if they think you’re awesome, too. Chat up our Office Admin/Chief Gatekeeper, Brandi. Ask for a tour of the office. And most importantly, see if you can meet our super-awesome co-owners, Paul & Dave.
I know it’s popular in our industry to be all negative about clients, but we don’t subscribe to that philosophy. We work with really nice people at pretty awesome companies and we believe in treating them accordingly. Demonstrate a good attitude towards those we work with (and ultimately pay our salaries) and you’ll fit right in.
Be good, then be better
We’re looking for people who are great at their craft, but are also always ready to learn more. We put a lot of emphasis on learning here, with an education fund and paid days off for things like conferences or workshops. So maybe carry around a stack of books or something to prove how eager you are to constantly improve.
Do not be afraid to share your opinions or ideas. Is there some new technology that we should know about? A process that we should do differently? Put it out there. Our biggest company decisions are made in advisory groups that consist of rotating members from all across the company. Everyone at YP has a voice and can initiate change.
We don’t typically do simple, straightforward projects at YP. We do the stuff that other companies can’t; tricky problems that need smart solutions. As such, we’re looking for people that aren’t afraid of challenge or ambiguity. Show us that you’re willing to think and work hard to figure things out.
Whether you’re currently a marathon runner (hello, Terry & Dan!) or someone who just wishes they were healthier (hello, Self!), get ready to extend your lifespan. We offer gym memberships, healthy snacks and spots on our various sports teams. Hope you like positive peer pressure!
OK, this doesn’t apply to your interview - show up on time! But once you’ve been hired, get ready to do lots of different kinds of work: a variety of clients, technologies and processes. Also, be prepared to schedule that work around your personal life and not the other way around. What now? Yeah - you heard me.
Don’t get me wrong - everyone here works hard to produce top-quality websites. But when the work is done, we play hard, too. Be willing to be social, whether it’s Friday “beer o’clock” (even if you don’t drink beer!) or the occasional team BBQ or company ski trip. The friendships we make here are incredibly important.
One thing you need to be clear on is why you want to work here. We’re not looking for people who just want a job. We want people who are passionate about what they do and specifically want to do it at Yellow Pencil. It’s a special place; let us know why it’s special to you.
Will following these tips get you a job at YP? I can’t promise that. But if this list sounds like your thing, your chances are that much better. Get your resume shined up and let’s talk!