Hamish Makgill — StudioMakgill

Describe the Ideal Candidate in three words

What’s the most common mistake people make when they apply for jobs?
It always amazes me how often people write cover letters/emails that have obviously been copied and pasted from the one they sent to the other fifty design agencies. To me it is paramount that a candidate has some understanding of who we are, what kind of work we do and above all why they think they would be a good fit. Most design studios pride themselves on being different and a small amount of this kind of insight goes a very long way.

How important is your CV, compared to your portfolio?
There is a lot of important clues in a CV, so as a prospective employer, they are important. But when employing designers the real gauge for me is the quality of their work. A really strong portfolio should open the door and then it’s down to their personality and how well they can back up their ideas.

What’s more important, experience or enthusiasm?
They are both great qualities, but neither will necessarily make a great designer. Enthusiasm, however, is something that can’t be taught and an enthusiastic person in a studio will quickly find themselves a decent role. I think we all agree that it’s a tough climate at the moment and designers who are proactive and thoughtful will stand out.

Is it possible to do too many internships?
I don’t think so. I think the important thing is to make the most of the internships you get but, if at any point you feel that you have got all you can get from the internship, then it’s time to leave. Obviously a paid job is preferable, but in any period that you are not in gainful employment, time spent in a design studio will offer greater potential for learning, and I’m sure more opportunities for employment than working from home.

Do you ever give feedback on interviews?
We know what it's like to be told ‘no’ after investing a lot of energy into a project, so the first thing we always ask is ‘why?’. Without feedback you won't know how to improve your chances for the next opportunity. It is an essential part of the process of finding work, and as and interviewee you should always chase for it.

StudioMakgill is a growing (4 people), design studio founded by Hamish Makgill in 2007. We work with businesses and cultural organisations, large and small. Our focus is on the creation of brand identities and visual communication for a broad and discerning clientele. Key clients: GF Smith, Good Energy, Boxpark, The Lollipop Shoppe