Our guides for employers and candidates on how to navigate the entry-level job market.

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Our guides for employers and candidates on how to navigate the entry-level job market.
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Design Roles

How to hire a graduate for a role in Design

Candidate profile:

A creative minded, technical individual with a passion for design and a great eye for detail who is good at collaborating with and working with others. They should have strong communication skills to be able to clearly articulate their ideas and visions to the rest of the team. They should also be able to instigate their ideas quickly and effectively.

Any design-based course will have given the candidate a good grounding and introduction to the skills needed for a role in design, e.g. Graphic Design, Visual Art, Photography, Illustration, Fine Art, 3D Design, Communication Design. However, if the candidate has some relevant experience then the degree which they completed becomes less important.

Top skills:

  1. Attention to detail
  2. Time management
  3. Verbal & written communication
  4. Creative
  5. Technical – these will vary depending on the role and which tools your existing design team use. Knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator is a pretty standard requirement for most design roles though. Other common requirements are knowledge of: Sketch, Wireframing, UXPin, InVision and Marvel.

Non-office experience

  • Any artistic experience is a plus – this could range from drawing in their free time to having worked on a photoshoot.
  • If a candidate has built a website then this is also valuable and worth asking to see.

Office experience

  • As a graduate it is unlikely that they will have much experience, but some sort of previous office experience in design which included involvement in a live project and has enabled the candidate to build their portfolio would be very beneficial.
  • Additionally any experience in which the candidate was required to put together a presentation and deliver it is valuable as this demonstrates that the candidate has the confidence and skills required to explain and sell their ideas to clients and colleagues.

Green flag

  • Shows understanding of your brand and its values
  • Someone who can listen well and take instructions

Red flag

  • Finds it hard to communicate or think clearly under pressure
  • Their creative thinking does not match that of your company’s

At interview

  • Setting a small sample project that takes no longer than to complete is the best way to assess and to narrow down your candidates effectively by making them put their skills to use and assessing how they cope under time pressure. This could be set either before or after the interview. Alternatively you could just ask them to explain the creative process they would take to complete this task.
  • Asking the candidate to critique a competitor’s design piece and explain how they would have done it differently themselves is a good way of testing how they react when put on the spot.
  • A good question to ask is which brands the candidate most admires and how they influence their work. This presents you with a good opportunity to assess whether the candidate is on top of design trends and if they are a good fit for your specific business needs.
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