They (might) want YOU: ID alumni descend on recruitID

by New Idiom

Uncle Sam!

It can be kind of awkward, sitting across an interview table from someone you sat next to in class only last year. Such cognitive dissonance notwithstanding, over a dozen recent grads descended on recruitID this spring, to kick the tires on the latest additions to ID’s product line (i.e. you). Here’s what a few of them had to say.

Tamara Bohorquez (MDes ‘03)
Sr. Experience Planner
Arc Worldwide
Goal: Hiring interns, scouting for full time

Having attended before as a job seeker, I felt a sense of empathy. I haven’t met someone yet who enjoys a job interview. I remember the work, stress and anxiety involved in finding the right opportunity, and figuring out how ID fits in the “real world”. My goal was to keep the meeting conversational, relaxed and provide constructive feedback when possible. I hope it felt that way to the candidates. After all, its about the right fit, and that goes both ways.

This year the resume book weighed more than my laptop! Thus making it very difficult for my colleagues and myself to screen, match and find candidates efficiently. This volume has implications on the students as well, they need to think hard about how they should differentiate themselves, where their interests lie and what their strengths are. We are entering a stage where people-centered thinking is becoming popular and these methods more common (albeit, perhaps not implemented!).

We should make it easier for organizations and students to find each other, the right fit. I think digitizing the resume book with criteria that enables smart filtering and sorting would help. And the reverse, provide organizations a framework where they can submit their needs, openings and expectations for the event beforehand. Otherwise, how are students deciding where to drop off their resumes?

Enric Gili-Fort (MDes ‘07)
Design Services Team, Office of the CEO, SAP
Goal: looking for a couple of interns and 1 or 2 full time positions

This was my first time attending as recruiter and it definitely felt very different. Way less pressure (hey, you already have a job!) but it is also very exhausting to give your company’s pitch more than 20 times.

It feels like there is more people coming with non-design backgrounds, which makes it a more interesting group of people, but also it feels like the amount of people with design-like personality (optimistic, a little wacky, extremely creative) has decreased. I guess that’s the toll school’s culture has to pay for merging design and business education? As in previous years, everything was extremely well organized and students did a phenomenal job.

Taylor Lies (MDes ‘06)
Design Research Senior Associate, Lextant
Goal: not specified

I attended last year’s event as a recruiter, and I was a job-seeker for the previous three years. This year I was most impressed by the caliber of work the Foundation students are doing now. It aligns so much better with work they’ll be doing in the main program than the work I did just 5 years ago as a Foundation student. It’ll be of great benefit to have exposure to and practice with typical research, analysis, synthesis and information diagramming methods. Also, it gives Foundations students better experience to speak to with recruiters like myself, putting them on more equal footing with their more experienced classmates.

That said, I think students can always improve on clearly communicating their intentions, capabilities and interests. This starts with simple statements of intent on their resume - without the ID jargon. That’s what we look for first. It continues in the interview by clearly explaining to recruiters how the student’s background and ID experience might be brought to bear in an internship / job - and specifically with the company in question. Read up on that company, look over their position descriptions. That’ll help students to have an idea of what they could do for that company. Just like students don’t want to use the interview to explain ID, recruiters don’t want to have to tell you from scratch about their company.

Douglas G. Look (MDM ‘06)
Senior Strategic Designer
Autodesk Labs, Autodesk, Inc.
Goal: Sharing general information about working at Autodesk and internship opportunities

First time back as a company representative—I had a wonderful time meeting people, sharing interesting insights, and learning more about current happenings at I.D. I was more impressed with the graduating students than I was with foundation students. Perhaps a bit more mentoring on interview preparation and communication skills would help the newer students.

Highlights for me included: meeting students with high potential; getting a chance to discuss specific projects at the student showcase; and sharing insights with other company representatives in attendance.

P.S. Get better food.

Roy Luebke (MDM ‘07)
Director, Innovation Capabilities
Goal: Hiring an intern and hiring full time

It felt weird being back, sometimes i feel like i haven’t left yet. I think the MDM’s in particular are on their own to gain information on how and where to apply the new learnings and this is a difficult thing to do. The experience level (of the MDM’s) is probably higher than last year’s, with less prior experience as actual designers. They want to be strategists and leaders in innovation and not designers. There isn’t any comparison to other schools. I have looked for interns at Stanford’s, Carnegie-Mellon and Rotman as well, and I think MDes students at ID have broader experience and are less technical (i.e. software- or science-based).

But ID needs to get a much broader set of corporations to recruit. I don’t think many companies have the slightest idea of what ID does, what its students are about, or how to apply this type of thinking to their businesses. Many companies hire MBA types for management roles, or designers for “designy” roles, but they haven’t figured out that there is a value of blending business acumen with design thinking. With all the contacts the professors have it amazes me that there are not more high level recruiters and companies recruiting from ID.

Jeff Pollard (MDes ‘98)
Manager, Customer Experience Design
McDonald’s Innovation Center
attended with Ruben Ocampo (MDes ‘01), Design Manager, McDonald’s WW TL&D
Goal: Hiring interns but possibly a full-time person

I was excited by the diversity of students’ backgrounds and past experience prior to ID. But I was most impressed with how the students are integrating the ID tools and methods across different projects. Some of the research tools appeared to be more sophisticated and/or better articulated than what I remember WAY back in 1998… The student and company name tags were great. Fantastic idea!


Once you graduate, even if you stay in Chicago it becomes very hard to see your former classmates socially. Everyone is always super busy. But it’s amazing how many of those same people came up to me at recruitID and said “Oh it’s so good to see you!! Where have you been?” Um, I’ve been right here. Remember?