10 Rules to Hiring a Designer
While looking for a new job I was soon reminded that graphic design is an incredibly competitive field and one in which employers don’t have to do much to get hundreds of applicants pandering to be in their very presence. And while graphic design jobs are fairly numerous, ones that seem exciting are much more rare. Going into a job search is an incredibly humbling experience and one in which you should enter with a great deal of energy and the knowledge that employers can be complete … well you fill in the blank. While egotistical design gods love to write articles for design pubs on how to impress them and win the coveted seat at their right hand, I would like to turn the tables on them. While the employers are holding all the cards at this point, I can’t help but see a future where the designer demands more respect. You could almost take what follows here as the perspective designers Cluetrain Manifesto. If designers continue to be treated as poorly as they do by potential employers, the resentment will surely create a need and desire to share with other designers. One can only imagine an online employer rating system or an epinions for design firms. While I see that getting pretty ugly, I would instead urge creative directors and principals to read the following manifesto and rethink your hiring process.
This is the big one. We are human beings. Treat us as such. You are no better than the people you hire. What you decide about our employment will change our lives drastically. Everything else in this list hinges on this fact.
Please send me a rejection letter. If you posted a job, please let me know when you decide not to hire me. I don’t need a personal phone call or a hand written note. Just a previously formated form letter will suffice. I don’t care. Hire a temp secretary for a day to send out letters to the five hundred rejectees.
Don’t play games with me. If you say in your job posting that you want a cover letter, resume and four samples, don’t reject me because I didn’t call three times and address you as Mr. Fancy Pants The III. Don’t test my interest with silly mind games. You will most definitely miss out on some great people.
If you say you will contact all qualified candidates, follow through and do so.
If someone creates a highly personalized promotional piece just for you, at least acknowledge that you received it. A harsh critique of the piece would be much better than no response.
If we have talked about an interview, please don’t leave me hanging for weeks on end. This may just be business for you, but it affects our actual lives.
If you asked me to mail a portfolio, please don’t just send it back to me without a response. There is nothing more depressing and vague than a returned portfolio. Please notify me before (or when) you return my portfolio.
Please pack my custom portfolio case like I sent it to you or how you would send you own work. Otherwise FedEx will break it!
Try your best to keep interview appointments.Remember. If you are hiring an experienced designer, they probably had to take a vacation day, or lie to their boss just to to meet with you.
If at all possible, respond to emails. Some of the biggest names in the business (even more respected than you) respond to emails on a regular basis from total strangers. If they can find the time, so can you.
The main thing that employers should take away from this list, is that old “walk in their shoes” idea. Those that are looking for a job are continually reminded of an employer’s impressive Pradas. Maybe try walking in our Sketchers for once.
And as an end note. I did end up finding a new job with a group of people that treated me like a valued human being.