What Do Employers Like To See?


ajpeacockdesign

New Member
So, what do employers like to see in an interview?

What sort of thing do you like/expect to see in someone's portfolio?

When I was at Uni, I knew someone who grew his own font.

Yep, GREW his own font.

I have serious Designers block. This lockdown is doing nothing in the way of providing any inspiration.

Thanks in advance. :)
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
I look for honesty. I smell bullshit a mile away. I'd prefer someone just said, "Actually, I haven't had much experience with this, but I'm very open to new experiences and I'm a quick learner."
I'd then look for an example of something new they had to learn.

Portfolio - depends on level of hiring and what role.
Regardless - I hate seeing stock products, or brochures laid out with watermarks still on images. I hate seeing mistakes in a portfolio, whether it's something labeled wrong, spelling errors in the layout - or even worse, mistakes in their portfolio work, like a misspelling, or a some general error.

If someone told me they grew their own font I wouldn't be impressed, unless it was a job for a type foundry or something like that.
I'm not a font aficionado, but I do appreciate that others are. But if someone was talking 6 hours to pick a font that's a different story.

The other thing I hate to hear is when someone shows their "masterpiece" - a poster that is glorious, or a booklet, something that is faultless. And I ask them how long they spent on it and the answer is always looming as something like "4 years, it was a college project".

I expect that done in 4 hours, not years! This industry is so fast-paced.

Not joking, I was explaining to our intern yesterday, who is about 15 years younger than I - and explaining the way it was when I started just 20 years ago (I'm not even 40 (yet!))

We had files sent in on CD or Zip disks, there was no PDF workflow, no email system. We loaded files from disks sent by post or hand-delivered. We then set the text, printed, proofed, amended, reproofed. Printed out on large plotter, cut, fold-down, staple, insert to an envelope.
Then it was either a courier if local - or have it at the train station before 3pm if going to the rural areas.

We received the proofs back by post, marked-up on the copy, and completed the changes, proofed, amended and then reprinted and sent out the pages in an envelope with a sheet that they had to return confirming all changes are made and ok.

Nowadays, I would be lucky to have 2 hours to do anything!

This morning I had to create artwork for a presentation that someone was giving at lunchtime, involved creating 3x 1920x1080px images, and animating them.
I got the work in at 9.30 am and signed off by 11.30 am.


I really don't want to hear that someone spent 4 years on a poster or an 8 page booklet.



Advice:
Know your own CV inside out. Rehearse your experience and summarise it verbally beforehand.
First question is usually - tell me about CV.
Know it.

Make eye contact - if 2 or more - pan to each and talk to all of them, but particularly the person who asked the question.

Pick a favourite piece from the portfolio, have a good reason ready.


Years ago - I was asked what would be my weakness in design.
My answer was - I make mistakes.

They were shocked - they were like "You make mistakes!!!!" *gasp* *shock* *horror*

The truth is what I told them "Yes I make mistakes, and if someone comes in here and tells you they don't make mistakes they are liars. They are not being honest with you. I know I make mistakes, that's why I take my time and check my work, and even ask someone else to check it over. Mistakes happen all the time, especially when the work plate is loaded and under pressure."

I rattled on for a while - but I got the job!
 

ajpeacockdesign

New Member
I look for honesty. I smell bullshit a mile away. I'd prefer someone just said, "Actually, I haven't had much experience with this, but I'm very open to new experiences and I'm a quick learner."
I'd then look for an example of something new they had to learn.

Portfolio - depends on level of hiring and what role.
Regardless - I hate seeing stock products, or brochures laid out with watermarks still on images. I hate seeing mistakes in a portfolio, whether it's something labeled wrong, spelling errors in the layout - or even worse, mistakes in their portfolio work, like a misspelling, or a some general error.

If someone told me they grew their own font I wouldn't be impressed, unless it was a job for a type foundry or something like that.
I'm not a font aficionado, but I do appreciate that others are. But if someone was talking 6 hours to pick a font that's a different story.

The other thing I hate to hear is when someone shows their "masterpiece" - a poster that is glorious, or a booklet, something that is faultless. And I ask them how long they spent on it and the answer is always looming as something like "4 years, it was a college project".

I expect that done in 4 hours, not years! This industry is so fast-paced.

Not joking, I was explaining to our intern yesterday, who is about 15 years younger than I - and explaining the way it was when I started just 20 years ago (I'm not even 40 (yet!))

We had files sent in on CD or Zip disks, there was no PDF workflow, no email system. We loaded files from disks sent by post or hand-delivered. We then set the text, printed, proofed, amended, reproofed. Printed out on large plotter, cut, fold-down, staple, insert to an envelope.
Then it was either a courier if local - or have it at the train station before 3pm if going to the rural areas.

We received the proofs back by post, marked-up on the copy, and completed the changes, proofed, amended and then reprinted and sent out the pages in an envelope with a sheet that they had to return confirming all changes are made and ok.

Nowadays, I would be lucky to have 2 hours to do anything!

This morning I had to create artwork for a presentation that someone was giving at lunchtime, involved creating 3x 1920x1080px images, and animating them.
I got the work in at 9.30 am and signed off by 11.30 am.


I really don't want to hear that someone spent 4 years on a poster or an 8 page booklet.



Advice:
Know your own CV inside out. Rehearse your experience and summarise it verbally beforehand.
First question is usually - tell me about CV.
Know it.

Make eye contact - if 2 or more - pan to each and talk to all of them, but particularly the person who asked the question.

Pick a favourite piece from the portfolio, have a good reason ready.


Years ago - I was asked what would be my weakness in design.
My answer was - I make mistakes.

They were shocked - they were like "You make mistakes!!!!" *gasp* *shock* *horror*

The truth is what I told them "Yes I make mistakes, and if someone comes in here and tells you they don't make mistakes they are liars. They are not being honest with you. I know I make mistakes, that's why I take my time and check my work, and even ask someone else to check it over. Mistakes happen all the time, especially when the work plate is loaded and under pressure."

I rattled on for a while - but I got the job!
Thanks for this; you have some really good points and insights.

I agree on the time scale thing, no poster should take 4 years, haha!

I have no actual work experience ( not for the want of trying) so I can only talk about the stuff I did at Uni and the stuff I do in my own time; so I'd have no choice but to admit that, they'd soon find out other wise if I lied!

Thanks again :)
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
I have no actual work experience ( not for the want of trying) so I can only talk about the stuff I did at Uni and the stuff I do in my own time; so I'd have no choice but to admit that, they'd soon find out other wise if I lied!

Thanks again :)
I've had people come in swearing they know InDesign and no problem at all. Then they started work and asked on the first day "How do I put text in InDesign?"
Kicked out day 1.

Another guy said he had worked at this design studio for 2 years, turned out he was working for himself in his bedroom out of his parent's house.


What type of work are you looking for? My advice is to find out what you want to be doing. And go door to door knocking on businesses that you want work with, hand in CVs, portfolios, etc.
Emails are easily dismissed.

If businesses are not open, slip them through the letterbox.

I know it's hard these strange days.


My brother went for a job in a pub once, he as 17 and I was 14. He was asking door to door in local pubs and a good few said they weren't looking and he was all ready to give up. Then one of the last we went into the manager took his name and number and wrote it on the back of a folder with lots of documents in it.

My brother got dejected and said it was pointless and wanted to go home. I just said to him, hey that last one might be a good shot. He rejected it saying that he wrote it down but was dismissive in his manner (I'm being polite).
I just reminded him, hey he didn't write it on a scrap of paper - he wrote it on a folder, with lots of documents in it - he will keep that folder - if it was on a scrap of paper he could lose it or throw it away.


I don't know what my point is - I guess it's keep going, and look for an opportunity and chance to get your foot in a door - keep your eye out for signs of positivity.
 

ajpeacockdesign

New Member
I've had people come in swearing they know InDesign and no problem at all. Then they started work and asked on the first day "How do I put text in InDesign?"
Kicked out day 1.

Another guy said he had worked at this design studio for 2 years, turned out he was working for himself in his bedroom out of his parent's house.


What type of work are you looking for? My advice is to find out what you want to be doing. And go door to door knocking on businesses that you want work with, hand in CVs, portfolios, etc.
Emails are easily dismissed.

If businesses are not open, slip them through the letterbox.

I know it's hard these strange days.


My brother went for a job in a pub once, he as 17 and I was 14. He was asking door to door in local pubs and a good few said they weren't looking and he was all ready to give up. Then one of the last we went into the manager took his name and number and wrote it on the back of a folder with lots of documents in it.

My brother got dejected and said it was pointless and wanted to go home. I just said to him, hey that last one might be a good shot. He rejected it saying that he wrote it down but was dismissive in his manner (I'm being polite).
I just reminded him, hey he didn't write it on a scrap of paper - he wrote it on a folder, with lots of documents in it - he will keep that folder - if it was on a scrap of paper he could lose it or throw it away.


I don't know what my point is - I guess it's keep going, and look for an opportunity and chance to get your foot in a door - keep your eye out for signs of positivity.
I think some people either over estimate their confidence and capability and under estimate how time consuming mastering Graphic Design is; thats why they lie about their ability.

I can't think of anything worse than bigging myself up in an interview, only for them to find out I was lying. If anything, I tend to be a bit self deprecating, which isn't great either!

I have applied and contacted quite a few businesses over the last few months and had no reply. It is disheartening and makes me want to quit.

I like the idea of sending a CV and work through the post, maybe I'll give that a try!
 

fisicx

Active Member
I needed someone to help with a project. There was a lot of imagery and design needed doing so I put out a tender.

Once I had filtered out the time wasters I called each of the prospects. It was how they presented themselves on the phone that made the difference. The CV and portfolio was only used as an initial filter.
 
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