One of the most exciting things about running a design studio is watching it grow and needing to hire interns and junior designers. One of the biggest challenges is hiring the right talent. So we recently reached out to some skilled hiring managers and asked what they look for in their interns.
You'll be surprised to know that "soft skills" were valued just as much, if not more than "hard skills" a.k.a. Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Etc. So if you want to make yourself stand out and nail your interviews, try to cultivate these 5 things more into your life:
1. Value success of the team more than yourself.
A good design firm thrives when teams do. Hiring managers love to ask about your greatest accomplishment, not to trick you, but to see if you acknowledge that nobody achieves greatest alone. Team players are always valued more in this type of an environment more than individual superstars. Learn to work well with a team and develop your communications skills so that you can help teams win.
2. Relentlessly seek new experiences.
Directors and Managers are particularly interested in your adventures and hobbies. Healthy, interesting hobbies that push you to be creative and solve problems equate to inspiration and creativity. Be strategic about your hobbies and seek adventures and experiences that will help you grow and gather ideas from a broad range.
3. Understand there is no "work-life" just "life."
This one continuously came up when we talked to hiring managers. They don't want you to see work as just something you do for 8 hours a day, they want you to feel like work is a part of your life and life is a part of your work. This does not mean you need to work more or have work take over your life, but rather, your life should be one continual flow with principles that guide your decisions and priorities.
4. Success is fleeting, but integrity lasts forever.
Money, fame and fortune can come and go, but you will be most remembered for your honesty, how you treated others and who you become. Elite design studios want to hire people who want to make a difference and change the world through their impact. Things like dignity, honesty and integrity will help you advance in your career much further and much quicker than steamrolling your way to the top.
5. Be Humble.
There is a fine line between confidence and cockiness. Be confident in who you are and in your work, but be humble enough to be "coachable" and have the attitude of continuous learning. "If you already know everything, then there is nothing to learn" and you won't ever achieve the level of greatness you are seeking.