Sometimes when we advertise a job vacancy we get feedback from the publisher or organisation which we can share with you. Here is some useful information from EMC Design, who have been in business for 25 years, about what they are looking for in a new designer. (They also have a number of recruitment open days coming up – see the link at the bottom of the page).
What job vacancy did you advertise?
Who were the applicants?
We always get a he variety of designers applying for our job vacancies. We have a requirement that applicants have a design qualification but we always get a real variety of applicants, some with a design qualification but also those who haven’t bit see a junior level role as a way of getting into the design industry.
What were you looking for?
We were looking for someone we can train; we are never looking for the finished article. We always look for someone who has natural creative flair.
We ask that applicants have a graphic design qualification, either HND or BA level, but increasingly we are seeing more applicants who have MA’s. We tend to favour qualifications that have a communication/typographic/editorial emphasis. And would not consider someone (at the moment) who has done a product design course as these are very different skills to those used within publishing at the moment.
What are some of the issues you face when recruiting?
At lot of the applicants seem ‘same old, same old’; they are ill prepared; they have no portfolio or a few disorganised jpegs. Usually they have an HND or BA in Design or Graphic Design and have covered both print and digital, but we have definitely seen standards drop in recent years. Most courses seem to have too much emphasis on group work and therefore applicants find it hard to present enough examples of their own individual work in their portfolio. This makes it difficult to assess exactly what creative skills the applicant has. The design courses also seem to spend a lot of time talking about the theory but not actually practically how to apply it through the relevant software.
What have you done to make sure you find the right people?
We have quite a rigorous recruitment process. We put out a lot of information about our recruitment process on our blog and suggest that applicants spend time reading about the roles first. It isn’t about ticking boxes but understanding what is required and what the job entails. We want to ensure we are recruiting long term employees who will be satisfied in the type of work we do and will have plenty of progression to grow and learn with us.
What is your interview/selection process like?
Our interview process is also quite lengthy as it gives us a decent amount of time to spend with someone, making sure we know they will be a right fit.
The first part is an hour or so long chat about us, who we work with, how we work and how we’ve grown the company through quality, accuracy and creative ability.
This is followed by a studio tour, where you get to meet our designers and see current projects in the studio at various stages.
We then ask you to show us your portfolio; we will ask you questions about your work.
Then we ask a few standard interview type questions, like what will you bring to the team, what will you enjoy about the work, what might you find challenging etc. We also ask some technical questions to ensure that you understand some of fundamental process of design. E.g. What is the difference between CMKY and RGB? Why might you use certain features of InDesign.
Then we set the candidate two tasks, a proof-reading one to assess your accuracy and attention to details. And then a creative task. Both of these are done in the studio and we ask you to treat it as if it’s your first morning with us. So ask questions, we will help guide and steer you as much as we can. Yes, it’s a test but by this stage we are already really keen on the candidate so we want to create an environment where they will do well.
Any advice for future applicants?
Very often a designer will send a CV in Word, where we prefer CVs in PDF. We like to see an organised portfolio showing a consistency in branding all the way through, and then followed through on the applicants CV.
Read up about us before you apply. Make sure you’ve read our blog posts on what we like to see in applicants.
Feel free to contact us before the day to have a chat, the keener you come across the more excited we will be to meet you!
What should anyone reading this now do?
We are hiring again but using a slightly different tack this year. As we find it difficult to see how good someone is on paper we are inviting anyone interested in coming to work with us (either in a design, art buying or production editorial role) to one of our recruitment afternoons in February 2016.
You can apply to attend one of the EMC Design recruitment sessions here: – https://www.emcdesign.org.uk/about/joinus.html