14 May 2020 | 134 Comments
A few days ago, an artist messaged me on Instagram to express interest in illustrating a future project for Stonemaier Games. I thanked them for their interest, complimented their style, and asked them to fill out the job application form on our website so I could have their contact information and portfolio all in one place.
In their response, they asked for me to send them the link to the job application form. They didn’t even look for the link–if they had looked for it and told me they couldn’t find it, I would have been happy to provide it.
Instead, they were essentially asking me to load the Chrome app on my phone, navigate to our website, find the link, copy it, return to the Instagram app, and paste the link in the Instagram message. But I didn’t.
Because, if I’m being perfectly honest, one of my first filters for deciding if I will have a good experience working with someone is their ability and willingness to even try to find an easy-to-locate link on our website instead of asking me to do that for them.
Is that fair, though? Is it fair for me to judge someone’s initiative and self-sufficiency based on their willingness to try find a link on our website? I’m writing about this because I want to learn if my perception of applicants who make such a request isn’t fair to them.
Before you answer–and I’m very curious to hear your answer in the comments–here are the situations I’m considering:
- Job applicants (typically artists)
- Game submissions (game designers): I can overlook a game designer who messages me directly about submitting a game instead of using our submission page. But if I then refer the game designer to that page and they ask me to provide the link for them instead of finding it themselves, I start to doubt their competency and commitment. If they can’t take 10 seconds to find the link, how are they going to respond when I ask them to spend 10 hours writing a rulebook?
- Ambassadors (volunteers): This is a little different, because pretty much anyone can sign up to be a Stonemaier Ambassador, and ambassadors offer a variety of skills (group moderation, playtesting, proofreading, game teaching, convention presence, etc), some of which are paid roles and others are purely voluntary. But if someone contacts me to say they want to do one of those things and I tell them about the ambassador program, I think it reflects well on their competency and interest if they’re willing to find the link on our website.
Of course, these people could all say the same thing about me: If I’m not willing to take 10 seconds to find, copy, and paste the link for them, what does that say about my desire to work with them? But I think the point here is that they contacted me. Conversely, if I reach out to an artist or designer I really want to work with, I’ll provide the link for them or skip that step entirely.
I should note that Instagram–which is built for mobile–requires the most effort for me to provide a link for someone. If the request was made elsewhere–our website, Facebook, etc–it’s much easier for me to find, copy, and paste the link, which I sometimes do during my initial response, particularly if I’m really excited to work with the person.
Also, I understand that sometimes links aren’t easy to find. If so, that’s my job to fix. But all of these links are in the About menu on our website and on the Contact page. And for these applicants, the problem isn’t that they can’t find the link–it’s that they didn’t care to look in the first place.
What do you think? What are some of your early filters for deciding if you want to work with someone? My other big filter is communication–if it takes you longer than 2 days to reply to an email, that’s a huge red flag about how well we’re going to communicate long term.
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