How a passionate candidate “beat” skilled designers with years of experience.

Hello ! It’s Chou-Tac,

In your opinion, who got more value: 
Someone skilled with years of experience or a young passionate ?

 

In my previous company, (shoes and fashion industry in Singapore)

my colleague needed to hire someone to join her team.
But she had to go for a business trip in China.
She asked me if I could help her to preselect someone.
I said ok. 🙂
Before she leaves, we didn’t discuss much about the details of the position. And we naturally focused on one thing:
“Hiring someone whose passionate
is more important than anyone skilled with average interest.”
Why ?
We were NOT looking for the best skilled people on earth.

We hired by values.

We believe a passionate candidate would be ready to
learn and adapt himself to the company’s needs and mindset.
He would be ready to grow and giving his best to the projects.
We, together would face new challenges with excitement !
We were looking for a long term relationship. 
Instead of publishing a “preformated” online job ad and wait for candidates to apply to HR department,
I contacted a fashion school that give courses in lady footwear in Singapore.
So they could recommend us candidates
doing a first selection among their students.
(I previously met someone great working there with whom we got good relationship. Just saying network is important.)
The applications started to come in my mailbox.
I remember receiving a young candidate application.
You’ll see she did huge beginner mistakes
all along the recruitment process.
Ohoh. The journey went pretty interesting. 🙂
She did send by email a project that was extremely pink and loud.
It was a project she did for school as her own brand.
It was a perfect project for Moschino but not for us.
Her universe was too far away from our brand that is edgy but minimalist.
I could not introduce her portfolio as it is to my colleague.
I could feel in her cover letter she loves shoes though.
So I did asked her to create a project for us and study the brand and products from the website and the shop.
To be honest, I did not have specific hope on her application.
But I guessed it was worth trying.
Surprisingly,
few days later she offered something relevant.

She actually just needed some extra guidance to be on track.
She could create accordingly to a quick design brief.

We were glad to invite her for an interview. 

But she came without her portfolio… neither laptop to show her work to discuss.
She did not forgot it.
She sincerely thought by sending her work by email was enough.

But an other colleague join me at the interview to meet her as well.
She assumed I would be the only to receive her.
And she missed a chance to promote her work face-to-face.

She felt terribly sorry. Some may think I should have tell her before. But I do believe it is her responsability to come with her portfolio.
Anyway, she was here.
So we asked her few questions to know more about her.

She had a great and positive energy !
(Even though she admitted later she was actually hyper nervous.)

I do not remember the question and response she gaves.
It was 3 years ago.

And I kind of believe such typical interview questions like : “What are your 3 qualities and default ?” are useless…

What matter to me was her creativity,
her passion for fashion and shoes,
but especially the feeling we had on how she could bring
her freshness to the company and match with the team.

My colleagues backed from China welcomed her for an extra interview.
And not long after she invited her to join the company. 🙂
We believed in hiring from values, then train people. So we could build stronger team with a durable relationship, and create greater collections.
If you wanna know more about portfolios,
I did write an article to help you turn your portfolio
into a Marketing weapon:
http://www.thedesignsketchbook.com/how-to-turn-your-portfolio-into-a-marketing-weapon/
Have a nice day !
If you are a junior candidate,
remember to be sincere and give your best!
Cheers,
Chou-Tac

 

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About The Author

Chou-Tac

If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my career, I believe that they can also help you to learn, and help you with your projects. Whether Design is a job or a hobby it doesn’t matter, so long as you do what is important to you.

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