So far we’ve received about 80 applications to our call to hire a new web designer at 37signals. Thanks to everyone who’s applied. We’re beginning to get in touch with people we think may be a good fit.

Unfortunately it’s not all coming up roses. It’s surprising how many people don’t proofread, spell check, or otherwise pay attention to the basics when applying for a job. It’s a minority, but it’s big enough that I was compelled to write about it.

We’ve received applications from people spelling 37signals as “37 Signals” and Backpack as “Backback” and Basecamp as “Basscamp” or “Base Camp”. We even got one email from someone calling Highrise “Hi Rise”. One said how much they liked “Packcamp”.

Casual communications are one thing, but when you’re applying for a job you have to pay attention. Know how the company spells its name. Know the names of the products. Read what you wrote so you know what you said.

It’s OK to be funny if you get the basics right. It’s OK to be irreverent if you get the basics right. It’s OK to take some liberties with language if you get the basics right. It’s OK (and encouraged) to have personality and be yourself if you get the basics right.

I don’t want to be grumpy here. I just want to be helpful: Check your spelling, read your email, double-check everything. This is a job application, not an IM with a buddy. We appreciate when you take the time to apply, but it’s a waste of your time if you don’t nail the basics.

That said, there have been a handful of absolutely wonderful applications. Some people clearly took the time to put together a special portfolio page (some wisely even used Backpack). Some were bold and clear in their advice. Some were really beautifully written. These are the people who deserve an employer’s full attention. They’ve got ours.