We’ve been recruiting for new team members recently, and from our experience want to jot down a few points that will help you, and us, if you want to apply in the future.
We advertise in the Guardian and elsewhere, depending on the role and location requirements. We also advertise posts on our jobs page, and on Twitter.
We’ll produce a job description which will include the things we’re looking for. We’ll ask you to send us a cover letter and CV.
If you’re thinking of applying – thank you! We’re glad that you think you might want to join us.
First tip: It makes our life easier if the filename of your CV starts with your name. If you send a cover letter as a separate file (please do!) also start that with your name. So your files might be called something like:
Matt Parker – Lamplight cover letter.pdf
Matt Parker – CV.pdf
You probably won’t hear from us until the closing date (which is generally a month after we start advertising). Don’t worry!
After the closing date, we may do a first sift of the applications. If you’ve just clicked an ‘apply’ button without giving us any indication that you’ve read the job description, there’s a high chance that your application won’t proceed any further.
The members of the recruitment panel will each use the requirements in the job description to rank the applications we’ve received. For example, if the role description says ‘Excellent Interpersonal Skills’ we’ll look for evidence of this in your cover letter and CV. We’ll score each skill / characteristic / experience / knowledge we’re looking for, and add up the total scores. We’ll then use this in our discussions about who to invite to interview.
Second tip: write a cover letter.
Third (and main) tip: write a good cover letter.
What is a good cover letter to us? “Please find my CV attached” is not a good cover letter. You don’t need to reprise your CV. You need to make our lives easy, frankly. Pick out the role requirements from the Job Description (it’s easy, they have bullet points) and for each give us 2-3 sentences telling us how you meet that requirement. If you don’t have relevant experience in an area, tell us that too. But perhaps tell us why you’re interested in learning more about that / gaining that skill etc.
Your cover letter probably doesn’t need to be more than 2 sides of A4, and a CV up to 4 sides is digestible – more than that gets hard to take in.
We’ll hope to interview around 6 people. If we don’t feel that we can offer an interview, we’ll let you know fairly promptly, and we’ll let you know why. At the risk of cliché, up to now we’ve been really delighted at the quality of the applications we receive, and it’s often just that other people had a little bit more relevant experience etc. But if you’re putting in the effort to apply, we’ll make the effort to respond as fully and as helpfully as we can.
Two or three of us will interview you. We may also ask you to prepare a brief task related to the role, which you’ll have about a week’s notice of. This shouldn’t require a lot of preparation, just a bit of thought. We will want to get a sense of your manner and approach, and may be looking for particular characteristics in action – for example, an analytical approach, if that’s in the job description.