Is it just me or are creative shops around here REALLY bad about responding to folks?

Just curious what the experience is from other designers, copywriters and creatives out there but I get the distinct sense (talking to the creatives that I know) that many shops around here are woefully inept at communicating with individuals submitting work for open positions. I know they likely get flooded with applicants when they post a new job now, but this is a complaint I've heard since I moved here 4 years ago (pre economic bust-ola). Is there a lack of common courtesy? Do they not have a proper communications system set up to handle the influx of applicants? Do they think it's just OK to ignore applicants they aren't interested in (even if that applicant specifically requests a response)?

I honestly don't get it. Sure, the ad industry is known to be cutthroat but this problem seems to be worse here than other ad/creative markets in the U.S.

Let me know what you think. If it's a common problem, maybe a larger group can bring it to the attention of the shops in the market...BE MORE COURTEOUS! People like you, show some love.


I'm a photographer in town who, I e-mail art buyers and art directors in agencies. But I never have the expectation to hear back. They must be slammed with tons of e-mail from people like me. I hope they see my e-mail, go look at my work and then remember me. But thats all I ask. If they answered all the email they received they would be too busy writing e-mails and not producing work for us to help them out with.

So when I do respond it's a nice surprise.

Yes. Yes. Yes. It is a problem. I cant even begin to tell you how many well thought out emails I have sent to the shops in town with attached .pdf resumes, links to my online gallery and a request for a simple response and never heard back. The most recent one I sent out was for the open graphic design position at the Westword. Now I know they were probably flooded with emails and applicants, but just send me an email saying so!

I think it would be really nice if people sent a response back, but I don't expect to hear back. I think its just part of the nature of business. I mean its not like an audition where you hear what your flaws are or why you didnt make the cut to your face, or see your competitors. Not to mention the time it would take to reply to all the applicants (in this economy I'm guessing people like EBD and Kidrobot are getting HUNDREDS of resume's.) I don't think its important.

Agreed, it seems that unless you know someone within an agency or happen to be holding a beloved pet hostage, responses are hard to come by. A little bit of honesty would be appreciated from agencies, stating either “sorry, but we think Vin Diesel produces a higher caliber of creative work” or a response stating “we are considering you as a viable candidate and will let you know of our decision by (insert date here) if you are still eligible for the position.” A little common courtesy or direct honesty would be greatly appreciated.

I agree, responses are non-existent. I moved here four years ago from S.F. and did not have the same experience in C.A. Communication across the board has been a real problem in C.O.

I'm sorry but I don't agree with you all.

First, if we give time to everyone that wanted a few minutes of our time we would get nothing done. E-mail has become a huge problem in our world today because we think it's easy to write an e-mail, so they should respond. There are to problems with this thought process. One, no one asked you personally to send in a resume or link to a website, thus they have no obligation to respond in any personal manner. Two, Email can become death by a thousand paper cuts. Yes it takes 2 minutes to send out an email., but it takes hours to send out 60.

Second, I don't want to live a life of disappointment. So if I expect a reply and don't get one, I'm angry, frustrated and discouraged. If I don't expect one I can just send out more another day. Then if I do get a reply thats great.

I hope we all can be a little more understanding of those that we ask for time and attention. It's a better way to live.

Actually they did ask me to send them an email, with references, and a resume and a link to my website. It stated so in their job posting. I'm not talking about just sending out random emails, I am talking about the jobs I have applied for on countless local, creative job posting sites and never got a response. that is plain rude. it takes two seconds to copy paste a list of email addresses and send out a generic "you'll be hearing from us soon" or "don't call us, well call you". If you don't expect the world you'll never be let down, i get it. But I'm not one to sit down and become content with the current situation, that's no way to live at all.

But they didn't say, "hey (insert your name) send us a email with your resume." Not they had a Job posting seen by a few thousand people. That's not asking personally to send an email. And yes they could send a form email, but I don't count these things as communication. They don't give real information.

I don't think they are rude, I agree that they are just flooded with emails and it would take weeks to send a personal email to each person. Although, there are things such as automated emails that can make someone feel a little better. I also agree that in CA I have never dealt with this, and I assume they probably have a ton more emails than Denver shops.

Never been an issue for me. If they don't reply, I send an email asking for an update and they always (to my memory) reply to that.

I've always kind of figured that if you're that hard up for a response, it's up to you to elicit it.

Not to say that it would be bad to send a mass email out to the people that didn't get the job, but that also comes off as a dick move to some people. Kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.

Looks like there are a lot of opinions here. I have one as well. For the past 5 years I have been someone in the position of receiving resumes/books and making decisions as to who is brought in to interview, who get's second interview and who is offered a position. With that there are many people who are in the "not" category.

I have never "not" responded to anyone taking the time to research and thoughtfully write an email responding to a job post. I have also never been so overwhelmed in a day that I could not respond to ten or more emails. I'm sure there are people that get more than that and those people have resources to help them–templates, assistants, ADs, designers, HR, etc.

What's completely unacceptable is receiving a form email or nothing at all from a potential employer that you interviewed with via the phone and or in-person. To those folks I say "shame on you".

we're communicators by trade. if you're not getting a response, you're doing it wrong. suggestion -> try a different form of communication. stop being 1 of 1000, and start being 1 of 1.

I am in a different field, architecture, and I get lots of unsolicited resumes every week. I try to respond back to all of them unless it is clear that they haven't even looked at the kind of work that I do. I think we should all remember our first job searches and it only takes an email to respond, not a letter like in the bad ol' days.

Yes and No. I moved to Denver from Indianapolis last fall and before I decided to more here I "spammed' a few agencies with my resume and book. I never expected a reply, if I got one great but if not oh well. The people who did reply typically answered with "your work looks great, unfortunately we are not hiring at this time. We'll keep you on record" or "if we hear of someone looking, we'll forward your work on". Looking back at it, those responses were just as helpful as if they hadn't replied at all. Not being from this market, feedback was what I was really looking for. Ok, my book is “good”, but why? If you were hiring, what type of work/experience would you want to see? Coming out of college the best rejection letter I ever received came from someone who actually critiqued my work and pointed out what I was doing right and wrong.

In my opinion if you’re going to take the time to reply... really reply.

In fall of 09, I handcrafted 20 books showing my work as a portfolio teaser, in hopes of getting some positive response. I spent time and money printing the 12pg color pieces, printed business cards, cut, scored, and folded each case, bought padded envelopes, and paid for shipping. I got 1 response, who said "cool", but the position has already been filled. What incentive do I have to try to be original? How frustrating!

When you knock on the door, see the light come on, hear the TV playing and no one answers it feels an awful lot like F&*#K YOU I KNOW YOU'RE THERE BUT I'M FLIRTING WITH A PRINT PRODUCER RIGHT NOW I'LL GET TO YOU WHEN I GET TO YOU.
Yah, the market's in the crapper. Yah, lots of people send lots of emails to lots of shops. But this ain't NY, Chicago, LA or even K City. It's Denver. Not that big a place. The more poorly you treat applicants, the poorer the quality of applicants you're likely to get. Crappy behavior gets around.

just to clarify, my original interest is around the responses from shops that have a posted position they have actively promoted. yeah, if they aren't necessarily looking, i guess my stance is that you are soliciting them. but if they are actively seeking candidates my feeling is they have solicited you. therefore, even a small note to say "thanks, we got your stuff and we're currently diggin' our asses out of a pile of portfolio's" should be expected, at the very least. beyond that, i do think putting in a little extra effort to get a response is necessary in most instances. but just a total non-response, as if your work potentially went straight into a junk email folder? not cool in my book. and i once had to deal with 100's of resumes/portfolio's hitting my inbox/desk on a monthly basis. it's tough to respond but it's your job to figure out how to manage responses when you ask for them. i'll be bummed if the non-response becomes the status quo.

I've been on the other side of this: in charge of reviewing resumes for potential candidates. Every time an ad went out, I got flooded with 50+ applicants. My process was to read through each email and resume as soon as I got them in, because otherwise they would invariably get buried in my inbox. I looked at each and every portfolio site that applicants sent along, even if I didn't get a good feeling from the resume, because I felt like I owed them that courtesy. And oh dear, there were some really bad portfolios. Out of 50 candidates, I might find 30 completely unqualified candidates (sql developers applying for a design job, etc), and 2 with the appropriate qualifications and an interesting portfolio. I forwarded those 2 candidates along to the rest of the hiring team. One in 10 times, I would get an enthusiastic response back from the team saying we should set up an interview.

The fact is that there were not enough hours in my day to be reviewing resumes to the extent I did, much less time to write a personal response to every candidate. And honestly I was often insulted by the lack of consideration on behalf of candidates as well. Misspellings, poorly formatted Word docs, resumes that ran to 10 pages, 12Mb attachments that clogged my inbox, form cover letters, cover letters with overblown exaggerations of how awesome you are, cover letters that tried to be cute, resumes in 14 pt Arial, portfolio sites with broken links...

Even when you are a good candidate, there are many reasons why a company might not contact you back. Perhaps the job was filled. Perhaps you are too expensive. Perhaps you are out-of-state and the company is only considering really amazing out-of-state clients. Perhaps new client work came in the door and the people hiring have been working nights and weekends to stay above water, much less wade thru resumes. Perhaps a project blew up a few days ago and your resume got buried in a cesspool of emails. Perhaps you didn't send a link to a portfolio site and so the company totally missed how awesome you are.

I'm not going to lie, maybe the review process was broken at this particular company. I understand the frustration on the other end. However, I suspect that other mid-sized and small companies are much like we were. There are never enough resources dedicated to finding new resources.

I *can* give this advice:
You are competing with a ton of other folks and it is really daunting to keep everyone organized. Include your name in the subject of your email. Include a link to a portfolio site that is easy to find (don't make me wade thru a 3 page resume to find it). In fact, keep your resume to one page, and design it (no crappy typography -- first impressions really count). Don't send your resume in a poorly formatted Word doc because chances are I have 5 photoshop files open and having to open Word will crash my computer. Write a personal cover letter that lets me know who you are and why you are a good fit. Read the job description. Be polite, professional, and courteous. And be patient.

(Oh yeah and I am no longer reviewing resumes. Thank god!)

Some solid advice I got on my last unemployment go-around:

Somewhere out there someone just picked up an awesome gig. The company couldn't afford them, but more importantly couldn't afford to let them slip between their fingers. Your job as an unemployed creative is to make it so they'd be foolish to move forward without you.

Think that's BS? Fine. But I'll tell you one thing, true or not, that kind of self improvement attitude will serve you well.

I have no issue with the employers not responding to first contact. Canned-form emails and just plain unqualified is probably the majority plus getting 500 emails in a day is a time killer I am sure. What I take issue with in Denver is that even after a phone screen or even an in-person interview you have to hound the company for any acknowledgment that you exist. This is insane. The "left hanging" is what I find truly unprofessional about companies I have interviewed with out here since moving. Not all where ad/design companies but still. In one instance, I had 2 half-hour phone screens and a 2.5 hour interview. .... and heard nothing. That is incredible amount time you have taken from me with not so much as an email rejection. If you aren't a web2.0 developing, 3d animating, Video Editing, Oracle DBA, 4Color Print Ninja with 10 years experience you aren't worthy of being told you didn't get the job I guess.

I know that this economy is tough and competitive especially for AD/Marketing but I hope this superior "cherry-picking" hiring practice where you can ignore serious applicants comes back as some big bad karma. Like I get a position at a large company and you have to submit bids to me.. Its happened in past were I had a nasty-incompetent over-priced print shop as a customer and then they had to submit bids to me later.. I was very nice to them and they did work for my employer (granted far less than before- hence the over-priced and incompetent statement) but crap rolls down hill and you me not always be the one standing at the top...

Oh and to all the companies that are looking for interns...(Not generally Ad co's0 there are rules for internships like not replacing regular workers and more - its called Fair Labor Standards Act. You can't just get cheap or free labor just cause you don't want to pay people to do your production work.

Anyway, back to practicing my new jobs mantra "Would you like to fries with that?"

Disastor...exactly, I've heard first-hand of several instances just as you mentioned. A creative gets a phone interview or spends a few hours interviewing in the office only to face several weeks of being stonewalled. Some finally got a weak response and others never heard back...not cool at all. Looking back at the comments, it sounds like the opinion of the job searchers is that more and better responses would be appreciated. And we have a couple people from other markets substantiating that CO is worse than what they dealt with before. I don't think this is a matter of whiny, incompetent, no-talent hacks asking for a detailed and personal email back after they send in a pile of 10 year old promotional junk. Many of the people that I know are primo talent that have gotten the shaft and I'm sure many commenting in this thread are the same. I just hope that some of the shops out there are reading and taking this thread to heart because, in general, a market that gets a reputation for crummy attitudes and a lack of courtesy is not good for anyone in the local industry.

Truly a cowtown attitude in this regard. Coming from the East coast, I about fell over for the lack of professionalism around here when it comes to the entire recruiting process. Bad news.

Just called another company about design position I interviewed for last week. They told me that they would call me last week. They didn't of course..So you have to stalk them like some kind of heavy breathing freak. I didn't get second interview but was told that they still might contact me if they don't find the person in the group they are interviewing. This is second time in a month I have heard this from someone. Is this common here? Or are companies here afraid to tell people that they didn't get the job and think this softens the blow?

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