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Charlotte and Keren

Why this girl I met at a Christmas fancy dress party now works here at TLD!

Could it be fate?

Today seemed a perfect day to talk about this, as this is the day of LOVE and I love my work, my company and my team. We have been looking to “add to our brood” here at Top Left Design, but kept hitting a wall. In November/December we interviewed 13 separate candidates, all of whom had been interested in our vacancy of “Eye for Detail/Appreciation of Design Project Manager” or “Super organised designer who can also write good emails”. But for various reasons – no luck there!
The role here at TLD and the nature of our work we need a very specific set of skills We hire on attitude and train skills. And we’re super super picky on all the details!

So, back to the party.

I had reluctantly gone to the “Debauched Christmas” party of a friend of a friend. Luckily my friend Joanne White does face painting and is so talented, Anders and I were ready without needing special outfits. I have to ask his permission before posting a picture of his face, but it was super cool.
Most of the people in the party were in their early to mid-20s so we did think “this party is so young” and I certainly didn’t go “let’s use this as a recruitment drive”
During the night, I started chatting to Charlotte, and she told me how she hasn’t really found the right career for herself, she’s still looking, but she knows that if she got something interesting, she’s the type to give it her all.  And she just wants time to learn to do things properly.
This is what really resonated, so I had a thought, and seconds later, the thought came out – “why don’t you come do a 2 week internship at TLD?”
We talked more about the role, and felt more and more happily hopeful. I really liked her and sensed she matched the TLD values (explained here)!
And I know the cynics around me would be like “is a party the best place to judge these things?”
We told a few other people that night about our hatched plan and then on Monday she wrote a very efficient text message to follow up! Proactive and reliable – tick!
Charlotte's text message
She came for a 2 day intensive training and believe me there is a lot to learn. Then stayed for a month internship. When the others in the team met her after the break, within a week I had them raving about how much they love her!
Last week, we made it official, and she is now a full time member of the TLD team. I will be asking our photographer Nada to come and visit and update our team page soon, but meanwhile I had to announce to you.

For anyone else hoping to run into me at a party, what I liked was:

  • Modesty: Charlotte didn’t mind admitting this would be a completely new role for her. I prefer this than when candidates come and are over confident about their design/PM abilities. There is ALWAYS more to learn and each company is fully unique.
  • Efficiency: Charlotte texted after the weekend PLUS again after the Christmas break.
  • Willingness to do everything: From jumping up to answer the door, offering and making tea, mocking up things in Photoshop, coming with me to meetings, typing up briefs, learning InDesign, making storyboards, writing blog posts, she gives everything a go with enthusiasm.
  • One of us: Not only the values thing, but instantly gets along with the others, she has an amazing personality and clients and the team like her!
  • Happy to practice: there is a lot to learn but Charlotte knows things take time and repetition to make things like Photoshop shortcuts and design rules second nature.

I asked Charlotte 6 questions to describe how it’s been for you, and here’s what she said:

A quick inteview with Charlotte:

What happened at the party when you met Keren?

We met at a debaucherously themed Christmas Party. I was dressed as a priest and Keren (from what I can remember) a glittery bauble. We were both hovering around the makeshift bar, I think still both in the in between stage where you aren’t quite ready to throw yourself onto the dancefloor. So we got to talking, little did I know what this conversation would lead to.

What went through your mind as Keren started to mention there was a potential job?

When Keren mentioned there was a job, my heart leapt. I had been unemployed for two months, due to dropping out of my Masters in Psychology. What had started as a week of lie ins and self-development quickly turned to boredom and CV tunnel vision.

How had you felt about your career before?

I had had a clear view of my career, which was going to be in Clinical Psychology. So during these two months, there was a lot of soul searching, and I was really looking for a new start. I wasn’t sure what or where I wanted my career to go, but I knew that I wanted to join a company from the bottom and work my way up. Find someone who I could learn from.

How do you feel now about your career?

I feel excited, and very lucky. I had no real experience in this industry, and now I am learning from one of the best in their field!

What did you expect?

I can honestly say I had no expectations, I just hoped I wouldn’t disappoint.

What has surprised you about working at TLD?

The mutual respect between everyone, and the autonomy you have over your work. Each day the work is diverse and very interesting but I think most importantly it’s a great office environment to work in.

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  1. Claire

    Lovely post Keren. And good luck to Charlotte! It’s so rare to find good people – great story and great outcome.