Last week we began recruiting for a new Director of Communications. The person we hire must be an outstanding writer, thus we’ve already spent hours combing through writing samples from applicants. Candidates have submitted a surprisingly diverse range of samples; we’ve received academic papers, articles in student newspapers, email pitches, and press releases. How can we compare these writing samples against one another, apples-to-apples? Moreover, which of these are accurate proxies for the type of content our Director of Communications will be producing?

We’re interested in stretching the bounds of the traditional hiring processes. For example, in order to apply to be a web developer at SeatGeek, an applicant must “hack” into our backend to drop their resume. As a result, we don’t get distracted by unqualified candidates and can thus spend more time on the strongest coders.

Introducing WorkAtSeatGeek.com

This morning we realized that our screening process for the Director of Communications job was broken. We brainstormed what we hope is a better solution: WorkAtSeatGeek.com. Before describing what that is, here’s a description of the role. Our PR strategy uses the mountain of ticketing data we’ve collected over the past few years. Whenever a big story in sports or music breaks, we try to quantify fan sentiment through ticket prices. Reporters love this data; we get 3-4 press mentions per week. Examples of how we utilize our data are available on our blog and press page.

If this is a role that interests you, here’s how to apply using WorkAtSeatGeek.com:

  • Email write@seatgeek.com with your resume attached
  • The email address will auto-respond with instructions on how to access a ticketing dataset
  • One you receive the data, use it to write a blog post of up to 300 words with a graph or chart. It’s unlikely that all the data-points in the dataset will be relevant the story you choose.
  • Post your article on workatseatgeek.com. You can easily create an account by going to http://workatseatgeek.com/wp-login.php?action=register For obvious reasons, we will only display the handle you choose and never your full name or email address

Readers will vote on the most compelling posts by sharing them on Google Plus, Twitter, and Facebook. We encourage applicants to accumulate these social shares by actively promoting their pieces. In fact, the strongest applicants will probably be able to get legitimate press coverage. Just as we focus on engineers that solve our developer challenge, we’ll focus our interviews on the handful of writers with the best-written and most-shared articles. Best of luck!