Recently, we announced the launch of our graduate trainee programme with a call for candidates interested in joining our team as an art director. The job specifications outlined that we needed candidates with skills that wouldn’t traditionally fall within the scope of art direction. The reason for this being that we are operating within a space where it is no longer enough to just be a graphic designer or a set designer. The way in which our studio is organised and works; demands practitioners who are multi-disciplinary.
We received one message which suggested the skills we demanded of a potential art director were irresponsible, however, other than that one message — the rest of the responses were overwhelmingly positive. The number of responses we received to our open call tallied at almost 200, from which we then narrowed them down to 24 for interviews. Many of the applicants who were not invited for an interview have reached out to us on social media asking for feedback on why their applications may not have been successful. So we decided to compile a list of pointers for future applications. Here is a list of the most important notes I made while going through applications.
- Our call was explicitly clear in asking for a bio, together with a portfolio of work from the applicants. However, some individuals sent in a cv instead, while others sent in only a bio and cv without the portfolio. When applying for a position make sure you submit the required documentation.
- As the position is for a creative, we looked not only at the content of your portfolio but also at the way in which it was designed and presented. We noticed that a large number of applicants didn’t pay close enough attention to the details of layout, typography and other visual communication devices but those that did stood out immediately.
- A lot of applicants sent dense and convoluted bios/portfolios. The people who were most successful were the ones that sent clear, concise and easy to navigate portfolios/bios/cv’s. Ones thats led you through the presented information and content in an articulate way — and where the key information / key visuals stood out — were prioritised.
- Applicants who edited their portfolios making sure to show a tightened, thoughtfully curated selection of strong work — rather than showing a lot of projects — stood out most.