Hiring tactics

Okay, here’s a question for those of you who have been pounding the pavement for a while. What are some of the hiring tactics employers have used to gauge your skills and interest in the job during the interview process. I’ve experienced just about all sorts of things, from a Pro/E test to one manager suggesting that I create a sample and email it to him (which I spent hours on and still didn’t get the job). Any other stories of employers making you jump through hoops?

I had companies call me and say I was overqualified just by reviewing my resume, others don’t call period probably because they think they can’t afford me. During interviews I was tested with questions based on nothing related to the job itself which I didn’t think was appropiate. Other then making me drive 2 hours out of my way to fly from a cheaper airport to go on an interview I haven’t jumped through too many hoops. Worst thing is working hard on a portfolio and some moron who interviews you get’s jealous of your work and makes no comments.

Wow nice response. It would be hard to seem more self-absorbed than the last reply. Now that we’ve brushed arrogance aside, here’s a relevant reply.

I’ve been a part of the interviewing tactic that you mentioned before. I basically worked on sample projects given to a few selected applicants to gauge skill sets, talents, relevant knowledge, etc. These are good exercises and it helps an employer narrow down the field for a hot job. It helps them get a clear picture of your current process and what they can expect if they hire you.

Other tactics, like questions that may not seem to apply are meant to gauge the overall personality of an applicant. Companies big and small want to see if you’d fit in with their other workers and overall strategy.

Besides sample projects, I’ve actually came in for tryouts before… yes tryouts. That’s when there’s a real project they need help for and bring in a couple designers at first. After a week or two, they’ll make a decision on who works better with them.

I’m sure there’s plenty of tactics that are (hopefully) as creative as the people who are doing the screening/hiring.

Your welcome, now I’ll have a cheesesteak with more cheese please because your one cheesy fellow.

I think it’s borderline unethical to have an interested person do some sample work, it’s misleading, and in many cases a waste of time. Someone’s portfolio should be good enough to tell you about their skills.

I like the trial personally. I’ve only done it once, bought in for a day and payed cash for my services. They liked it, extended to week, then month.
If you work for someone, they should pay you for your time, even if only a “test” unless you’re going for an unpaid internship.

This may be a bit off the subject but I thought I’d share -
If you do get the gig and it is contract, nothing set in stone that’s good, but I would spend every night working on lining something else up - I did the contract thing for 2.5 years and then was let go with no unemployment, I also didn’t get any benefits - looking back I should have been interviewing the minute I started, gotten an offer and told them I was leaving unless they made me permanent.

…not only that but 6 months is as long as anyone should contract for…anything beyond that is full-time employment…from what i am hearing 2 years full-time is about all that anyone is going to be getting from now on.

I was made to do a sample project once. It appeared to be to gauge my knowledge of their product, and surprise, it was limited just as told them in the interview. It did seem misleading because of that.

Once I was asked to sit down and come up with ideas for an hour, but personally, I don’t think I’m capable of coming up with anything truly worthwhile in one hour cold. I hadn’t had experience with that product at the time.

Another hoop was a psychological test. For some reason this large employer had me in for an interview when I was clearly not qualified. I took a Psych test (word association) while there. I didn’t get the job, but I did get an idea of what I needed in the area. So I upgraded my skills and did some new projects. Now I have hounded down the HR guy 1-2 times, but I can’t seem to get an interview there. Very strange.

I would say 90% of my interviews were reviewing my work. I think you can tell alot about a designer with just them and their portfolio.

I respectfully disagree. If your interviewing with a designer, thats one thing, but the nuances of design are going to be lost on a HR guy/gal. The usual b.s. about sell yourself and present ‘value’ applies here.
I think the typical hole that designers want swim around in is to show your portfolio off and talk about why you and your projects are greater than italian proccutio. This is also the same reason that a lot of people date poorly. Zip it about yourself and what you’ve done and start talking about how your going to (in so many words) make them money by implementing your design. Be prepared to discuss the company and how your design will help them, not, and the not is key here, how great your previous work is.

As designers we are artists, and as artists we are creative, and as such we tend to (from the business perspective) have our heads stuck up our rear. HR guys around the country are sitting in a bar right now posturing that if they had a quarter for every designer who thought he was gods gift to form he’d have enough quarters to fill a sock and club over the head the next designer who walked into his office.

If you sell your creativity as a means to drive business, you win. If you sell your creativity as a reason for why your great, you loose. Its true HR guys might not know a good idea from New Coke, but an interview is not the time to let them know this. Feel free to point this out after your 90 day review.

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All metaphors in this posting are the exclusive proprety of John L.

John L is the exclusive proprety of http://CADtalent.com.

Johnl you’re awesome, i think you could become a karim rashid like person, it sounds like you love yourself, just keep up the good stuff…

Did I blame the HR guy? I hope not. He’s new since my interview about three years ago. The only thing I’ve told him is that I am qualified and think I can add value to their team. He’s seen my resume and some samples that I’ve sent.

The baffling part is that I had an interview when I feel I wasn’t prepared, and now I can’t get one when I am! On the other hand, I’ve interviewed with another large employer that I think I would be weak at, but had two rather lengthy interviews about a year apart there. Do I just not understand what my skills really are?!?!

I blame the psych test. It’s the only variable that I didn’t anticipate laughs.

As far as interviews, I think I connect design to business better than the average designer. I’ve always had positive interviews with non-designers. It has felt like I can show them the benefits. Sometimes I feel during interviews with fellow designers that they think I’m bullshiting them that design has business value. Egads! Business value!

First off, If Outsourced is comparing me to a cheesesteak then I’ll take that as a complement. I grew up on cheesesteaks, porkroll, and scrappel (I now have chronic heartburn).

I agree with alot of you. However I just wanted to point out that although we implement some art fundamentals, don’t mistake designers for artists. The best designers are those who can balance both the left AND right brain. I think employers like to see that. We are faced with challenges and puzzles that require elegant solutions. Of course employers want you to design something that fits aesthetically into their market or pushes those boundaries. However, if you can’t navigate the many parameters you are faced with (cost/component limitations/manufacturing) then what good are you to a company?

If you disagree feel free to knock the cheesesteak out of my mouth.

thank you, somebody else knows what scrappel is!!!