Work at Job Portraits: Our criteria for evaluating job candidates

Our ultimate goal is to hire people from diverse backgrounds who bring new perspectives and who share a commitment to our mission

When we recruit at Job Portraits, our ultimate goal is to hire people from diverse backgrounds who bring new perspectives and who share a commitment to our mission: to widen access to meaningful work. To accomplish this, we designed our interview process to drill down and discover two things about you: whether you have the right skills for the role you applied for, and whether you have the characteristics we believe are generally necessary to be successful on our team. This post is about the latter.

It’s worth noting that a lot of companies keep this kind of interview criteria secret, out of fear that applicants will tailor what they say to what they think the company wants to hear. But we believe transparency will make it easier to get to know each other and sort out whether you’re a good fit for our team—and whether we’re a good fit for you.

Without further ado, here’s the criteria we’ll be evaluating, regardless of the role you apply for.

Competencies and instincts

Think like a journalist (even if you aren’t one)

You don’t need to have a background in journalism (though several of us do), but you do need a journalist’s instincts. Specifically, you need to ask good questions — of your teammates, of our clients, and of yourself — and you need the ability to identify, distill, and arrange information to engage an audience.

Treat writing as a craft

“Strong communication skills” is a common refrain in job descriptions, but in our case, we really, truly mean it. For example, we have a Slack channel just for discussing grammar and usage questions, and most of our team participates — including people whose primary role isn’t writing. Sound exciting to you? That’s a good sign.

Work well remotely

You need to be comfortable managing your own schedule. Because we’re a largely remote team with flexible hours, we don’t care where or when your work happens, as long as it’s getting done. That means we expect you to know the rhythms that are best for you.

Exercise emotional intelligence

This is indispensable. We believe vulnerability and radical candor — practiced within Job Portraits and with our clients — help build the trust and connections that allow us to excel at our work and grow into the best versions of ourselves. As a member of this team, you’ll be asked to employ not only your intellect but your emotions and empathy.

Find meaning in work (not just money)

It matters why you’re here. Your motivations don’t need to match ours, but they do need to go beyond a paycheck. We want your job to be satisfying to you, and we want you to be excited about the growth, learning, and relationship-building opportunities that come with creative work.

Alignment with our values

As a company, within teams, and as individuals, our values drive the everyday decision-making that moves us forward. They are habits of mind that bind us and protect us — including from ourselves. And most importantly, they aren’t easy to live up to. Doing so is a challenge we embrace, and we’ll expect you to do the same.
Our values are:
  • Ask good questions.
  • Know yourself. Trust yourself.
  • Take the other side.
  • Seek the truth.
  • Assume good intentions.
In a few more words: you need a deep-seated curiosity about humans and their motivations, and an ability to make both your colleagues and our clients feel heard. That includes a willingness to have difficult conversations and an ability to navigate those conversations with self-awareness and grace. You should be comfortable receiving criticism — and giving it. We appreciate people who have deep conviction and can let go of their ego, who are confident but rooted in gratitude, and who take their work seriously, but not necessarily themselves.

Bonus points: Industry expertise

It’s also helpful, though not required, to have some background in the areas of expertise our clients expect from our team:
  • Venture-backed startups. 90 percent of our clients fall into this group, so you’ll benefit from understanding the mechanics, pain points, and risks associated with rapidly scaling a company.
  • The candidate experience. This one’s easy, right? We all know what it’s like to look for a job. Our team takes that empathy one step further, combining personal experience with thorough research (and lessons learned through our work) to advocate for what candidates want and deserve.
  • Recruiting. Empathy isn’t a one-way street; we know it’s not easy to be a recruiter, either. We work directly with talent teams, which means your job will involve knowing, and learning, how recruiting works.
  • “Employer branding” and “talent/recruitment marketing.” We’re not wild about the industry jargon here, but from a professional perspective, these are accurate descriptions of what Job Portraits does. If you’re familiar with these industries, so much the better.
  • Creative storytelling. We make all kinds of things: written content, videos, photographs, and social media posts to name a few. If you’re thoughtful about creative work, can quickly learn how to serve audiences you’re unfamiliar with, and/or can draw on a background in one of our mediums — especially creating complex content for multiple stakeholders — you’ll fit right in.

What matters less

A final note: While experience matters, we’re wary of relying heavily on pedigree. We recognize that plenty of awesome, talented people come from unconventional backgrounds — including us! If an open position calls to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out and tell us why.

Interested in learning more? See our job openings or send a question to You can also read up on our interview process, meet our team, and browse every notable link related to Job Portraits.

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