Job Listings and Special Considerations

If a hiring firm wants to give special consideration to candidates from a specific school, that's its right. But then it should carry on its notification processes within the sphere of that school's alumni and career counseling office

A design job listing included this statement: Special considerations will be given for (art school name) alumni.

There is little to be criticized in having a preference for specific educational backgrounds and skill sets that will blend well with a hiring comany’s needs. Predisposition and special consideration is a common practice. In the fields of business, law, accounting, technology, science and medicine, many of which require education and on-the-job experience in order to be licensed or certified, where one went to school carries weight in hiring practies. GPAs are important qualifications and are a commonly used filter for making hiring decisions  In the design fields, GPA is not a prime consideration, but degree achievement is a common criteria. Above all, the portfolio is regarded as proof of ability and experience.

Given the academic standards, breadth and depth of curriculum, degree of excellence in design thinking and craft, and the focal strangths of individual curriculums, it’s realistic to expect much from graduates of certain design schools. All curriculum are not equal. All canddiatate are not equal. One can be a good designer and not have had formal training, but when one comes out of a school which maintains a world-class reputation, it is reasonable to expect him or her to live up to it.

The concern here is in the publication of the preference. If a hiring firm wants to give special consideration to candidates from a specific school, that’s its right. But then it should carry on its notification processes within the sphere of that school’s alumni and career counseling office rather than broadcast it to the job-seeking design population at large. Although it may not intend to exclude, it will in fact, do so. Job seekers wil assume they have no chance and therefore not apply, and it may or may not increase the pool of candidates from the preferred school.

No matter what the hiring criteria might be, it’s unwise, for a company to disclose preference for specific alumni in a job posting. Special consideration, when stated outright, does not promote equal opportunity or good will. It makes a company’s reputation suspect and can set the stage for lawsuits.

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