how we hire at lemonly

Editor’s note: Thanks for your interest in Lemonly! Just a heads up, we’re in the process of updating this post for 2024. Check back soon and we’ll have everything looking spick and span.

Folks often ask, “How do I get a job at Lemonly?” I respond with good, honest feedback and tangible strategies specific to Lemonly, not just your standard put your resume together and hit the pavement. However, I realized in addition to answering “How do I get a job at Lemonly?” I should be answering the question “How do we hire at Lemonly?”

So here is how we hire at Lemonly.

(By the way—if you want the real in-depth download on Lemonly’s company culture strategies, hiring included, check out our Designing Company Culture course.)

Announce the position

First, we tell people that we’re hiring. We’ve always used three channels to promote job openings at Lemonly: (1) Social Media (2) Job Boards and (3) Word of Mouth. That’s it.

Social media covers our circle of influence between friends/family/fans of Lemonly and others in the visual marketing space. It also allows us to reach further and faster than word of mouth. We only use job boards when we want to get a deep pool of candidates. You might think, don’t you always want a deep pool of candidates? I would say yes and no. When looking for a very specific person we are more aggressive in searching for that skillset. When posting a new position that doesn’t exist at Lemonly or we aren’t really sure what we want then we like to start with a large pool.

When looking for a designer, we post a job on Dribbble, a community for designers. Finally, word of mouth can be a valuable asset when looking for the perfect person to join your team. Word of mouth moves slower but can often surface high-caliber talent, people you didn’t know were looking for a new job or career change.

The position that is always open

Don’t miss out on great talent because you have blinders on.

Lemonly is a design shop. We have talented employees across all of our job positions — designers, developers, project managers, and management folks — but designers are the lifeblood of Lemonly’s work. We are always looking for the perfect visual designer, and, because of thatwe always have a job posted for a visual designer — whether we’re actively looking or not.

You may think that’s deceptive or misleading, but smart companies don’t just hire when there is an opening. Truly great companies want the best people on board the ship, and sometimes the best people come along at times when you’re not expecting them. Don’t miss out on great talent because you have blinders on.

Tell us about YOU

The HOW in this part of the process is pretty straightforward. Reach out to Lemonly if you’re applying for a position. If you’re a designer, you must include a portfolio or a link to your work online. This is a requirement, as we need to see what you can do. Don’t worry how perfect your website is — just be able to showcase your talent.

Regardless of the position you are applying for, write a personal message. Whether it’s an email, handwritten letter, or carrier pigeon note, make sure and include one. It doesn’t have to be long, but it has to be personal. I don’t want to see “Dear Company,” or “My objective is to get a job at a design company.” What design company? Lemonly or somewhere else? It doesn’t take long to personalize, but it goes a long way. The goal here is to go beyond a resumé and portfolio and strike up a conversation.

What we look for

This can be a complex answer, so I decided to distill what we look for in a Lemonly employee down to a formula that looks a little like this:

(Skills + Attitude + Super Power) / Core Values = Lemonly Employee

  1. SkillsCan you do the job, and how well can you do it?
  2. AttitudeWill you show up to work every day ready to make an impact? Will other people enjoy working with you?
  3. Super PowerWhat is the one thing you will be better at than everyone else at Lemonly? (Hint: I ask this question in the interview!)
  4. Core ValuesHow do you align with what Lemonly believes in? Our core values of Adventure, Collaboration, and Integrity are the pillars of how we make decisions and what we stand for. What do you stand for?

Making an offer

You ace the Lemonly formula, and it’s time for us to make an offer simple, right? We do this part a little bit differently than most places. Let me explain.

I mentioned above that we want any new employee to fit the Lemonly culture, but I also want Lemonly to fit any new employee. The best way I’ve found to do this is by putting together customized offers based on what is important to any prospective new hire. When we’re ready to make an offer, we first send you an email asking you to rank the following things from most to least important:

  1. Salary – How much you’re paid for the work you do
  2. Vacation – Paid time off
  3. Type of Work – The work you do, the clients you work with, and your role on the team
  4. Benefits – Everything from health insurance to the Adventure Bonus
  5. Job Title – The title you have and your status within the company
  6. Location – Where you work and live, whether you work at HQ or remotely

This list allows us to understand what is MOST important to you and how you want to be compensated at Lemonly. The truth is, all of these things are important, but I know they are important to every individual person in different ways. Now, we have to make our offers competitive to the Lemonly policies, so if you rank vacation first, I can’t give one person 30 days PTO and another person 15, but I do want to know if you value vacation more than benefits or if being able to work remotely is crucial to your success.

This part in the Lemonly hiring process has always been met with intrigue and appreciation from new hires, and it is something we intend to have current employees who have been with the company for many years to continue to answer as their needs grow and change.

A work in progress

Lemonly has been around since 2011, and in that time, dozens of Lemonheads have worked at the company. Those first 10–12 hires didn’t have a fancy formula to be evaluated on, and we didn’t even do the ranking system when we made offers. Over time we started to realize what fit our culture, and we improved the hiring process to (1) get the best people and (2) increase the rate in which we close and start those people.

There isn’t a perfect template that fits every company on how they should hire, but I wanted to share what has worked for how we hire at Lemonly.