What do Creative Employers Want?

Creative is a challenging market to break into, we hear from the hiring experts on how to get hired

Its never been harder to get your foot in the door in Creative; an industry that is over saturated with talent from across the globe flocking to the UK market.

Shillington College, the home of some of the most talented Creative grads in the country called upon their alumni and creative industry leads to discuss how they can help.

‘What Employers Want: How to Get Hired’ was an invite only event for Creative grads held at Shillington College. Loris Shala, Head of UI and Product at Cogs Agency was asked to speak on the moderated panel. Loris was in good company, the panel was made up by a collection of experienced individuals from the creative industry, including Shillington Graduates and Teachers, as well as Anton Wade, Design Director at MakeDo, Kate Galle, Creative Director at Design Bridge,  James Wood, Co-founder and Creative Director of ShopTalk. 

Morgan Fletcher Principle Consultant at Cogs was asked to conduct one to one portfolio masterclasses with the grads offering support on how to present, plan their portfolio in the most commercial and dynamic ways.

Cogs follow up with Loris and Morgan to find out their top tips for getting your foot in the door in creative.

What should Grads be doing to prepare themselves for the Creative employment market?

“LinkedIn is a must, it’s a great community to connect with people and share ideas. It’s also worth noting that you need to update it regularly as it is commonly seen as your online CV. Designers should have their own online portfolios, you can build it yourself, or use Squarespace, Cargo, or Semplice which always has great showcases of current design portfolios and highlights the latest trends.

I’d also encourage designers to sign up to The Dots, it’s a platform for designers and creatives, and it is also a great way to look for new roles as clients use it to advertise open roles.”

What trends are you seeing in the job market?

“Trends are always changing in the design world, so keeping up to date can sometimes be a job in itself. T-Shaped designers are very much in demand at the moment. From a design perspective, having the ability to prototype is sought after. Also thinking and working in an end-to-end process, from concept to execution will always be welcomed by clients.”

What are some of the biggest, but easily-avoidable mistakes people make during interviews?

“Taking the interviewer through too many projects in your portfolio is a common mistake. You should look to show 3 of your proudest and most relevant projects to allow yourself time to go through them in proper detail. You also need to allow yourself sufficient time to answer and ask questions about the agency/company and the role.

A second mistake is not asking questions at the end of the interview. In almost all cases at the end of an interview you will be asked if you have any questions. The worst thing you can do is say no as it shows a lack of preparation and interest. Before the interview I would suggest preparing 8-10 questions to ask at the end. Naturally many of your questions will be covered during the interview so you need to ensure you have some left to ask.”

If designers want to add self-initiated briefs to their portfolios, what works best?

“Self-initiated projects are essential if you haven’t had the opportunity in your current role to showcase particular skills. If you want to work on more product design projects for example; take an existing product that you use and wish to improve or showcase how you would put your own personal slant on it. Make sure you are methodical in your approach and note down the reasons for your design decisions which you can explain at interview.”

How much should a Junior charge per hour. What salary should they expect?

“First and foremost unpaid internships should not exist in our market. But I can empathise with juniors entering the market who struggle to place a value on their ideas and contributions to clients. It is important that you get comfortable with charging for your time especially if you are planning to freelance.

My advice for juniors is that money shouldn’t be a main motivator when looking for a role. Focus on finding a role where learning and development is encouraged. A place where you will you be mentored and supported,so that you can fully develop your skills.  Consider permanent roles to kick start you career rather than contract.  This ensure that you can fully immerse yourself in with the culture of design teams. You will also have the opportunity to work on long term projects where responsibility be heightened.

If you would like to know more about the hiring market in Creative, or some advice on your portfolio please get in touch with the team and explore our live Creative roles today.

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