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I never thought I’d be a unicorn hunter, but it turns out it’s something I’m pretty good at.

In my previous job I was in charge of building an entire design team. I started with one designer, proved how valuable a good designer could be to the organization, and proceeded to hire another…then another…then another…then another…then another.

By the time I left that company, I had built an incredible team of ten designers.

The Best Unicorns are T-Shaped

My magic trick was hiring what Valve Software calls “T-Shaped People” (by the way, the Valve Software Employee Handbook is the single biggest “must read” document I can suggest).  Valve defines a T-Shaped individual as this.

People who are both generalists (highly skilled at a broad set of valuable things — the top of the T) and also experts (among the best in their field within a narrow discipline — the vertical leg of the T). This recipe is important for success at Valve.

If either side of the T is missing, then a candidate won’t make it at Valve.

“An expert who is too narrow has difficulty collaborating,” the handbook states, while “a generalist who doesn’t go deep enough in a single area ends up on the margins, not really contributing as an individual.”

T-Shaped People from Valve

T-Shaped People from Valve

One of my superpowers is the ability to find the “Vertical Leg of a person’s T”, and I managed to build an entire team of people who had different vertical’s, yet who all shared the same broad set of valuable skills.

One of the ways I did this was by hiring extensively through Fanshawe College’s School of Interactive Media Design.  My best candidates came from the Interactive Media Design program, and the more intensive Interactive Media Specialist program.  I also hired a couple of individuals from Western University’s Media, Information, and Technoculture program.

The people I have always been most interested in hiring are the people I most relate to…me twenty years ago. When I graduated, I was hungry. I readily agreed to any opportunity, and absorbed knowledge like a sponge. There was nothing I wouldn’t do.  You need someone to run teleprompter?  I’ve never done it, but I will do it! You need someone to load Chyron? I did that once in school! You need someone to figure out why your webpage doesn’t work? I’m your man. You need a video edited? I can do that.

I made myself essential, I was the go to guy for anything, so much so that when the great Toronto snowstorm of 1999 hit, it was me and three other guys who ran the network for 48 hours before people could come in and take over for us. We crashed at the hotel next door, and were up at it again mere hours after we went to bed. I am pretty proud that I ran the entire website as well as edited an entire edition of Sportsdesk, ran the teleprompter, and ran tapes all over the building, and nobody was the wiser!

I’m a unicorn, I code, I design, I can write strategies, I can run a business.  Craig is a unicorn, he designs, creates kick assed ad campaigns, and has a mind for numbers that dazzles me. We both know that everything we do is marketing.

Going on a Unicorn Hunt

So right now, we’re searching for our next unicorn. We know that unicorns are rare, and that many unicorns choose to work in larger organizations, so we are looking for a very special unicorn. One who wants to experience the very beginnings of a small digital marketing company, and who wants to grow and develop with two seasoned veterans who have a great track record of mentoring others (I can give you a list of people who will say nice things about working with me).

What’s the specific position?  I don’t have an official title, but I’d call it…

Interactive Marketing DevSigner

Yeah, that’s a pretty cool title right? I like it. So what are you going to do?

In a nutshell, you love good graphic design, you understand that design is an aspect of marketing. You’re not just isoteric though, you’re practical, and you understand UI/UX, and why things need to be where they are.

You think SEO is interesting, but what’s even more interesting is the buyer’s journey.

You understand that everything is marketing.

You’re shaped like a T.

You have a portfolio, and it kicks all sorts of ass (we can say “ass” because we’re rebels).

On any given day you may do some, many, or all of these things (don’t worry, we didn’t know them all a couple of years ago either).

  • Graphic Design, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign
  • Client Presentations – Powerpoint / Keynote
  • WordPress – updating and implementation
  • WordPress – Plugin and Theme development
  • MailChimp – template building, content updates
  • Hubspot – templating, workflows, email list management, landing pages
  • Assist with Product Development
  • Answer client emails
  • Video / Motion Graphics / Social Media / Content marketing
  • GitHub, Ruby + Rails + Unicorn app server + NginX web server + Mysql db
  • Save the world…or at least change it

Okay, I know what you want, what do I get?

  • Competitive salary
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Exciting challenges in a fast growing business.
  • To be the third person on our future ten person roster.
  • You get mentored by two dudes who have been there, done that and literally have all of the t-shirts.

Who the heck are these NorthIQ clowns anyway?

Okay, you’ve read our website, you’ve trolled us on LinkedIn, you’ve seen all of the episodes of Hot Buzz, and you kind of get what we’re going for, but what are we really about?

Brian and Craig are NorthIQ, and we do cool stuff with awesome companies that we enjoy working with and are invested in their success.

NorthIQ is a digital marketing company that specializes in generating opportunities for sales teams that close higher than anything they are currently doing. We use an approach that integrates content marketing, email marketing, paid media, web design & first class back-end infrastructure into one strategy to drive our clients business forward.

Our long term goal is to run a small team, around 10 people, doing really interesting and innovative marketing things. We are magicians, but we want to be teachers because we believe the best magic tricks are the ones you show the audience your steps. We share our work, and we are passionate about the hustle.

We don’t have a downtown office with exposed beams, dogs running on hoverbikes, and super cool massage chairs.

We’re not the too cool for school kids who think terms like Unicorn, Ninja, Magician and Guru are gauche, we think they’re awesome because you know what people love?

Unicorns, Ninjas, and Magicians!

We want to work with you, we want to mentor you, and we want to help you reach your full potential.

You want to apply don’t you?  Yeah you do.  Go for it!

Unicorn Needed

  • Send us a portfolio website, your Behance profile, or something that shows us that you do cool stuff.
  • Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx, rtf, html, txt, odf.
    Should be a PDF, RTF, HTML, TXT, ODF, DOC or DOCX. You can share a Google Doc with us too, just put it in one of the forms above!

Brian Garside has been building websites for two decades and has worked on some of the largest websites in Canadian media. He focuses on creating good user experiences and building websites that make their owners money. Brian is certified in blogging and content marketing from Shaw Academy.