What was so impressive about your new hire's portfolio?...

All excellent comments, I totally agree that you need to know your audience going in, but the question still stands, are you seeing more electronic presentation and/or requests to make sure the proper facilities to do so are available?

I’m interested in seeing if there is a trend here in preference of a more formal projected presentation regardless of the numbers or titles of the interviewers.

That’s all, just curious.

I’d say 50/50, most electronic presenters just present on their laptop. When I do it, I ask if I can get a projector in the room, or bring it on a thumbdrive to run on their machine/projector.

As stated, always bring back ups and prints!

Thanks yo! Sorry to draw this thread out on the topic of presentation medium; to me it makes more sense to present my work in a way that I would present a project or a concept as an employee, and yes this means back-up concepts and more detailed illustration, why not take advantage of a storage device? Yo, would this be why you look to ensure that you can present this way?

As people have said, if you can sell yourself you can sell ideas and concepts, how many designers present these things in their day to day job with a flip-book? I love having a printed piece that I can share 1 on 1 or let someone flip through while I present my electronic format to a larger group, there’s something nice and tactile about it, but I also feel that a printed piece is antiquated and that it is how artists might present their work. No hate on artists, but designers as part of a product development team would do well to show legitimacy past this archaic method. Non-designers might find some novelty in having “creative work” presented to them in this way, but I feel it doesn’t really help add as much credibility as a format that the audience is accustomed to when being presented or sold something.

That aside, I realize that the putting together and presenting of a printed portfolio piece is sort of a time-honored tradition amongst designers, but in the past this was done out of necessity, or the simple reality that there was no other way to do it other than to present actual sketches and renderings, if you were really slick you could photograph your stuff and present with a slide projector. I’m just pondering if it doesn’t make more sense now to present in a way that is more in-line with more current technology and expectations. There is always the concern that formats outside of print are not as reliable, but this is becoming less and less of a concern. My questions really center on newer grads that have gone through their educations accepting electronic presentation formats as the norm as well as this being the norm within organizations.

Holy Hell, yes, absolutely this, and some people put up a really good front in interviews, it IS always a gamble.

Greenman, I’m with you there when you talk about loving a printed piece. I think work can look better when when it’s printed nicely … makes it seem more important and special since you took the time to make it a physical thing

On the other hand, I hate the thought of the time & money it takes to print… and especially if you want to have some kind of custom book. I’ve heard stories from older designers about all kinds of complicated books with laminations and bindings, etc that must have taken amazing amounts of time - luckily It is getting easier now with Blurbs and others. One story I heard was of a designer who build some kind of portable portfolio projector that showed his work… true story and he got the job, but apparently might have been a dud in the long run.

Too much emphasis on the the presentation method seems like it’s missing the point

Thanks again everyone for the insight.

I’ve got some more questions about the “ideal hire”. Now its already been stated that a lot boils down to being able to plug someone in and have them do the junior designer ‘jobs’ with minimal hand holding. Is there much consideration given to how someone might develop and perform years down the line in promoted positions, or is this something that is evaluated over time?

Of course, there has to be potential for growth AND the ability to come in and hit the ground running. But in the end, you hire someone for the job required, not the job you might have 5 years from now that the person might not grown into.

Thinking about this this evening, you can be candid right in the door and speak to what you bring immediately (strengths) and how it benefits the organization, cut to things about your skill set that you want to improve (weaknesses) over time there and how that will benefit, and then be more speculative about how learning those things within the organization could propel you into other roles and specialties based on mutual interests.

This might eliminate the ubiquitous questions like, “what are your greatest strengths/weaknesses”, and, “where do you see yourself in 5 years”. Honestly if you get asked those questions, you may want to re-think your interest in working there.

I’ve seen some slick resume/portfolio info-graphics that of chart out skill sets and interests to help employers see where a candidate stands, i’d say that is one of the more impressive techniques that i’ve seen.

I remember seeing someone do something very similar to the back of the old Transformers boxes where they used to have the little 3D statistic cards:

But they had changed all the stats to things like “Sketching, Modelling, Research” and done little bars to indicate their strength level. It was pretty slick from a geek standpoint.

Nice idea. It is great to have a few things like that to really differentiate yourself, and have fun with it. But remember, that is gravy. Gravy is fantastic, but you need a turkey to put it on. Make sure your Turkey is cooked right before you start putting the gravy on top.

good analogy. I also have heard it likened to the sizzle vs. the steak. All sizzle, no steak is just as bad as all gravy, no turkey :slight_smile: …not sure where the stuffing or garlic come in…


Haha the steak/sizzle one gets used too much in my industry, salespeople always want you do “add more sizzle”. Nice, i’ll get right on that with my sizzle tool in Photoshop.

I was told by one head of a small manufacturing business that the most important thing for a graduating design student is an evidence that design work can produce a real profit. So this evidence can only be in the form of a business plan of a concept and real, hard facts that show how much money were made from this product. Renderings and technical drawings are not good enough. Neither is a good styling solution alone. If there is no business plan behind it, it is never good enough.

This was in Ireland, but I’m curious as to what the hiring people would want in USA or Canada or any other country outside UK and Ireland.

Fortunately, the heads of small manufacturing concerns don’t hire designers much.

Sales is not an indicator of a good designer, otherwise you would have a poster of a beige Toyota Camry on your wall.

ouch. but true.


I laughed to bits when I read this.

But on a serious note, that’s what the Irish government wants - anything that generates revenue. Producing extraordinary work that doesn’t make commercial sense isn’t good enough. If marketers are not going to like it, then it will never ever get beyond the drawing board, cos marketers are kings.

One British inventor who tried to file a patent for an engine modification failed to do this in Britain, but a Chinese university has shown interest in his work. In some respects, China may have less freedom of speech, but it has a better attitude at recognising the potential of peoples’ creative work.

Luckily the Irish government also doesn’t hire many designers. Not sure I would last long there…

If this is the case, what kind of qualities do you look for from applicants outside the US and Canada? I’ll be going there this summer to find an internship. As I’m coming from a country that doesn’t hire many designers, all I have are college grades and gallery exhibits when it comes to design-related work. I haven’t been able to find work in design, so I wouldn’t have the same level of experience that a typical design student form US or Canada may have.

So do you reject foreign applicants that don’t measure up to the level of work experience of their US counterparts or do you look for specific qualities, such as creativity, level of skill in software applications, etc?

To bear in mind when hiring overseas work there is alot of admin work. Especially going to the US. The US can be an absolute nightmare to obtain work permit. (long term). Comapnies have to prove why they need someone from a foreign country and why they cant use someone within the United States.

However, I am of the opinion that if your good and i mean rockstar good you’ll get employed anywhere. I would always question before jumping ship to another country why you cant get a job in your native land. I appreciate the no. of product design consultancies in Ireland are few and far between but there the few there are, are actually pretty good. To me the UK would be a much more logical conclusion to look for work.

There’s always the ‘outsider unique perspective’ and mystique. I mean, any foreign designer in a given culture has an edge because of their accent and the fact that creative teams like diversity. I was down in Austin early this year visiting design teams with an ID class and more than half of them had a Brit/New Zealander/Australian on their team.

It would be fun to work overseas, but long-term I’d like to stay in the U.S. so I’d better get really good, really fast.