Why Chandelier Asks Creatives to ‘Make Something’ Beyond Their Portfolios When Applying for Jobs

By Patrick Coffee 

So you’ve heard of Chandelier Creative, the New York indie shop best known for its Old Navy campaigns, its holiday parties and that time founder and creative director Richard Christiansen decided to take all 42 of his employees to Japan.

Or maybe you haven’t. Anyway, a creative looking to make a change recently sent his or her resume and portfolio over and received a somewhat surprising response.

Here’s the auto-reply that interested parties receive after contacting the agency’s career line. It’s pretty much identical to the copy on the “join us” page.


Thanks for your interest in Chandelier Creative.

We’re always excited to meet new people who will challenge and inspire us. We love big thinkers and rule breakers. We don’t believe in sensible shoes or casual Fridays. We don’t care where you went to school or who you know. Be sharp, smart, and social. And be ready to give the middle finger to average work.

If you’re curious about joining the team, make something to show us how and why*. Please don’t just send us a resume or portfolio. We want you to use your two hands, and think conceptually.

*no food or perishables, please

Please note your return address, and send packages to:

Chandelier Creative, Attn: Recruiter
611 Broadway
Penthouse Suite 900
New York, NY 10012

We’re looking forward to seeing what you come up with!


The Chandelier Team

So, basically, impress us. We personally can’t say exactly how common this approach is, but the individual who reached out was clearly annoyed.

We contacted the agency, and Christiansen said that the whole submission thing is not really required. It’s more of a helpful suggestion to (presumably) help better filter the wheat from the chaff.

“Chandelier Creative, as an agency and design studio, appreciates bold artistic choices. We cherish artists with fresh voices and fearless originality,” he wrote. “One way to find those people is by letting them speak to their own vision and express their creativity within the application process itself. In many instances we’ve hired unrivaled talent on account of a customized application submission.”

Christiansen continued: “There can be a rigidity and monotony to the usual application process, and we hope that our policy is viewed by prospective applicants as an opportunity to create and distinguish themselves in a competitive industry. We’ve received submissions in a vast array of formats, and have learned about the creative mind of the applicant in the process. We’ve been delighted, surprised and challenged.”

He also clarified again that this isn’t meant to make the whole process more difficult.

“I hope no-one views this policy as burdensome, as it is entirely optional, and designed to be the opposite,” he noted. “From the letters I’ve read and submissions I’ve reviewed, artists are usually thrilled by the challenge and satisfied by the prompt to do what they do best—create.”

OK, now we want to know about the craziest things people have mailed his way.