Strong Towns is hiring a Content Manager, someone to help us manage our content production process, support our Content Team, and help us grow our movement. This is a full time position. We all work remotely, so, beyond a retreat twice a year, you can work from wherever you want. We do require you to reside within the United States.
The application deadline is Friday, July 19.
About Our Hiring Process
We’ve received quite a bit of feedback—almost all positive—on our hiring process, which is likely different than anything you’ve experienced before. It comes from my experience as an applicant and as an employer, as well as my reading of human psychology and an understanding of innate biases. Let me explain what we do and then I’ll explain why.
All applicants for Strong Towns provide just their email address and location. That’s it. That’s the first step in the application process and all the further that roughly 25 % of applicants go in our process. We’re casting a wide net, and we want to get everyone who has any potential interest in the position into our process with the least amount of friction possible.
We’re then going to invite you—along with every applicant—to an online Q&A session where our team will talk about the position, how it fits into our overall strategy, and what our expectations are, and then answer questions. If you can’t make it, we’ll record it and send it to you. We want you to know what this position is so you have a well-informed notion of whether this is a good fit for you.
If you’re still interested, we’re going to send you—along with every applicant—a questionnaire. We send it Monday morning and we want it back Thursday afternoon. The questions will, as closely as we can, simulate the kind of things you’ll need to do to be successful in this role. It should take 30 to 60 minutes to complete.
What we want here is to see if you can do the job. It’s astounding how many people can’t, so it’s a little like a weeding out process in that regard. We also want to see your style and approach so we can understand how you would do the job. We’re not asking for a resume, references, or anything about credentials at this point. We’re only interested in whether or not you can do the work.
This is a really important place to pause and note that competence, as well as genius, is found in a lot of different places, very few of which require an expensive degree from a prestigious university, lots of initials behind your name, or decades of experience to obtain. We firmly believe—and there is good research to back this up — that the standard prerequisites to getting most jobs do more harm than good, sidelining good people unnecessarily. We want to hire the best people, not the best resumes, so we focus on people and what their skills are.
As a critique of our process, I’ll note that the qualifications hurdle is one that is used to weed people out of the process, an expedient way for management to shorten the pool of applicants to only those they are confident are qualified. That they miss a lot of talent for expediency isn’t well appreciated—especially by those who judge their own worth based on their resume—but we also must bow to expediency. We’re going to ask eight questions. No matter how genius our questions, that’s no way to judge a person. I know this, but I do feel it is a better way to judge someone than a high bar of entry and a resume.
At the questionnaire stage, we will again only ask for your email address. We still don’t want to know anyone’s name, gender, race, mannerisms, background, etc… I’m keenly aware that we all fill in the blanks based on our impressions of an individual, how we size them up compared to our experiences and understandings. I want our team to look clearly at your work, your submission, with the canvas as blank as possible at that point. I don’t want any of my limited intuition to limit my capacity to see what has been submitted.
If the past is any indication, we’ll have dozens of submissions to pour through. We create a team to do that. I read every one. We’ll rank them internally in a kind of pass/fail approach and then extend an invitation for a percentage of those people to move onto a second round questionnaire.
In the second round, we’re more interested in work habits and life experiences. We have a unique work environment and we’d like to get some sense of how you’ll function in it. This isn’t perfect, but it’s served us fairly well up to this point. The questions will again go out on Monday and come back on Thursday and we’ll spend the next few days reviewing them, still blind to who submitted them. It’s only at this point that we’ll ask a handful of people for their resume, references and then schedule an interview.
This process has yielded some unconventional results—people I likely wouldn’t have picked had I met them first—but those results have been consistently amazing. Our team is exceptional, full of people who blow me away with their talents and abilities. Some have credentials while some don’t. Some had extensive prior work experience while some didn’t. What they all are is motivated, talented, and generous in spirit. I love working with them.
If that sounds like you, and if this sounds like a fun place to work, and if the position of Content Manager fits your skills and interests, than I hope you’ll take the time to apply. At this point, all we ask for is your email address and location.