Edenspiekermann provides branding, digital products and service experiences for top companies around the country. Think Red Bull, Hello Giggles, Mozilla.
The agency has offices in Amsterdam, Berlin, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Singapore — so chances are, they have a job opening somewhere you’d like to live.
I love the spunky vibe of Edenspiekermann. Browse their site and you’ll get a feel for their attitude and confidence, which I’d imagine makes clients enjoy working with them and designers enjoy working for them. Robert and Sebastian would know better. Robert is a partner at Edenspiekermann and Sebastian is the people & talent director. Both were kind enough to answer my questions about getting a job where they work.
Hey Robert and Sebastian, let’s get right into it. Looking at your current design team, how many of them came through internal referrals and how many came through the traditional application process?
It’s hard to say, as we don’t specifically track this — and one doesn't exclude the other. Sometimes people tell their friends to apply, but we only learn about this referral after the hiring decision has been made. Both have their advantages: referrals are a safer and easier hire, but strangers can bring things to the table that we didn’t even know we were looking for.
Would you say many of your hires are headhunted/pre-selected then, or do you get a lot of cold applications as well?
A lot of the people who apply have been in touch with us before, be it at conferences and meet-ups or through knowing someone who works or worked with us. We sometimes hire former interns after they graduate, too, but cold applications always have the power to surprise.
Say we decide to reach out with a cold email. What kind of message gets a reply? Any secrets for us? Should we just fill out the job posting form?
Any message gets a reply. But if you send out an impersonal email to a list, don’t expect a 2-pager in response. I of course prefer the job posting form, but that’s just because it means all applications are in one place and I know where to find you across Twitter, LinkedIn, Slack, Email, Facebook, WhatsApp or even phone.
How important is a visual and complete portfolio for you? Do I get away with not having a portfolio when interviewing at Edenspiekermann?
A portfolio (or, for developers, a Github repo) is the best way to show what you can do and what you love to do. You can read more about how we hire in this little article, but spoiler alert: we need a portfolio.
Besides having a portfolio, do you like the idea of designers being invested in other things? For example being active bloggers, or otherwise outspoken in their community?
No. We want the boring, quiet, uninspired hermit type of designer, with the most narrow horizons imaginable (or not, as the case may be).
Tell us one thing you never want to see again on a portfolio website. Anything you wish you saw more?
We want to see all the things you worked on and are, or were, passionate about — don’t hide anything just because it might seem outdated now. It’s still part of who you are, and we only judge your work in regards to its fit for our current and future projects, we promise.
Say I make the first pass and get invited to an interview. Can you describe the interview process as briefly as possible?
We try to keep it short and simple: that means no design exercises. There will be one interview, and it will be with HR and, ideally, two of your peers. Sometimes we might add a developer or account manager, and sometimes we might go for a second interview if the first didn’t answer all of our questions. I wouldn’t exactly call it a process — that sounds very impersonal, and a bit intimidating. It’s more like a conversation. With snacks.
What are the biggest mistakes you see designers make when applying for a job at Edenspiekermann? Are there any specific things that keep bothering you? Please complain to us! (:
Don’t waste creativity on your resumes; only the HR person reads it, and they just want the cold, hard facts. There are great templates out there to download. Instead, focus the time and energy on your portfolio: tell us what you did on each project and why — and if your portfolio isn’t finished yet, hold out on the application.
Any favorite story of an application that really stuck with you?
The one person who wrote an email to every single person in the company with a ginormous zip file attached. We did not hire them.
Would you hire someone who is a cultural fit over someone who has more industry experience and hard skills?
If we have to decide between two candidates, one who’s more skilled and another who’s a better cultural fit, we’ll always lean toward cultural fit. Skills can be learned, but attitude can’t.
What are the secondary skills you look for in a designer, besides common soft skills? For example, do you prefer business skills over coding skills?
Don’t make me choose! Business skills come in handy because our work doesn’t just touch the surface of our clients’ businesses; it goes deeper into content, meaning, and purpose, and this impacts the core business case. Coding skills always help because our designers and developers work so closely together. And our developers have a thing for design, too
Last question: How do I get your job one day? 😉
You don’t. 😉
Thanks so much, Robert and Sebastian! I enjoyed how much of your company’s personality shined through in this interview.
If Edenspiekermann feels like your type of place, take note of this advice from Robert and Sebastian:
Nr. 1 - Don’t waste your creativity on resumes. Robert and Sebastian even suggested using a template for your resume, since HR are the only ones seeing it. Save the time and effort for your portfolio, which brings me to my next point.
Nr. 2 - Don’t apply without a portfolio. This is true for almost every company we’ve interviewed in this series. You must have a portfolio, and it should make an impression.
Nr. 3 - Include everything in your portfolio. This is opposite advice from several other interviews in this series, but it’s what Edenspiekermann wants. They want to see it all, from your best projects to the old and outdated ones, to the weird ones. Give them a complete picture of your work and skills.
My tip here would be: Focus on your best work first, but make sure you have an archive of your older work available to show to specifically to Edenspiekermann.
That’s all for now! More exciting companies coming to this series soon. And if you have a request, just shoot me a note on Twitter @vanschneider.