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Understanding the Hiring Process



Author: Bill Fischer
professor of Digital Media, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University.

Image: Student of Kendall's Digital Media program: Jacob Gladfelter



 Understanding the hiring process  

Understanding the hiring process can inform everything that you do. Because everything that you do ultimately leads to a resume and portfolio which becomes integral to... the hiring process.

The events outlined here are derived from my personal experience with the hiring process at Kendall, as a small business owner and as a department head in a large corporation. My many interviews with other industry people that are in hiring positions have confirmed that my experiences are not unique.
 The Rounds:  

Round 1
It's not unusual for an office assistant to look at each application and remove any candidates that have not followed the submission requirements exactly. That reduces the pile a bit and weeds out people that can't follow instructions. Software program are also being employed in some cases to search and sort resumes by key-words.

Round 2 
30 seconds to 3 minutes. That is the amount of time that a manager or committee will usually have to spend during their first portfolio review of all the candidates. Most candidates will not make it past 30 seconds. Because of the competitive nature of the industry, if 2 or 3 marginal works are encountered, they will likely move on, having dozens more portfolios to look at that evening before they can go home to their family or their hobby or whatever else it is that they would rather be doing. Hiring is typically an extra workload, over and above an already busy schedule.

Round 3
A second look, of the round 2 winners, by the manager and other people on the staff that have a vested interest in hiring the right person for the position. 3 to 6 minutes is about the average look here. Resumes of the most promising candidates from this group may now be read in addition to the portfolio review.

Round 4
3 candidates are typically interviewed. Their portfolios are each scrutinized for 5 - 10 minutes and their resumes are reviewed closely before they arrive. The purpose of the interview is to see if you are articulate, enthusiastic about the position and if you are someone that will be easy to work with. The latter being absolutely critical.

Round 5
An offer is made. These days it's typical to be hired on an intern or trial period of 3-6 months. This is to see if you are productive and easy to work with. It is really an extension of the interview process.


 Take Aways:  
  • Resumes, cover letters and portfolios should be extremely succinct and to the point.
  • Always put your best work first in your portfolio.
  • Follow submission guidelines to the tee.
  • Look for key words in job postings and include them in your own customized resume and cover letter.



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