Thinking beyond your own needs.
This afternoon at Doteveryone we had 20 people in our meeting room for a few hours, drinking tea and eating cake (and our first mince pies of the season). There was a lovely buzz of generosity and gratitude in the room.
In September we advertised for a design intern. We had 110 applications. I interviewed 22 people because I just couldn’t narrow it down further, there were a lot of brilliant portfolios.
When I did the interviews I sometimes strayed off track to ask people how many internships they’d already applied for. A common number was 70 or 80. I felt sickened by the experience people were having and the positivity people were trying to bring to the interview when quite frankly, they had every right to be feeling despondent and frustrated. I ended up choosing two people to join us for 3 months but I could easily have chosen a dozen of them. And I’d probably spent at least a full week of my time on the whole process.
At the same time, I’m often asked by other people and agencies in my network whether I know of any designers that are free to do project work. I’ve been in that position myself many times where I’ve needed to find design talent and haven’t always been able to.
In an attempt to both match supply and demand, but more importantly, to do what we should all think more about doing – creating opportunity for others – I got in touch with a bunch of other design agencies.
I’ve spent lots of time sifting through design portfolios and doing interviews, how can I make that useful to a wider group of organisations beyond Doteveryone? And how can we all expose emerging design talent to an array of opportunities and connections?
At the same time I sent an email to some of the people I’d interviewed to say whilst I wasn’t offering them the current internship role, I’d been so impressed that I wanted to make sure other organisations got to meet them too.
I’m hugely thankful that Snook, UsCreates, IF, Policy Lab and the Good Lab all came along today, recognising that providing opportunities for design talent is something we’re all collectively responsible for and have a collective need for, but also something that we can do more effectively together. We’re now going to work out how we can share internship recruitment and freelance recruitment more effectively between us, starting with a shared directory and doing 4 events a year like we did this afternoon. If other organisations want to join us then please get in touch — [email protected].
My biggest takeaway was one of the graduate designers saying as they left —
Thank you for doing this, I’m so used to people palming me off, politely rejecting me, this has given me hope again.