“We have likely become much more stringent in our recruitment”

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In the latest edition of our series, “Dezeen Jobs: How We Recruit,” Jan Rose, the creative director at Toogood, a design studio in London, discusses the studio’s projects and its evolving recruitment process. Toogood, a multidisciplinary company, started in interior design and has expanded to include furniture and fashion. Despite its diverse range of projects, Toogood remains a small, family-run company. Currently, the studio is working on two interior projects in England and the United Arab Emirates.

On the furniture front, Toogood is focused on developing a new collection of furniture for Salone 2024. The collection will feature unique pieces not previously included in their range. The studio is also exploring the incorporation of hand painting into their furniture designs.

Over the past decade, Toogood has become more rigorous in their recruitment process. Previously, they relied on recommendations from friends of the studio and would only interview a select few individuals. However, they have now started actively seeking candidates from outside their immediate network, as they believe it brings new ideas and perspectives to the team.

Toogood has expanded its operations and hired more team members in sales, production, and development, enabling them to hire designers solely for their design skills. The studio values hands-on work and prefers candidates with the ability to work physically, despite the increased digital work in the design industry.

When reviewing applications, Toogood looks for individuals who have taken unconventional paths or have expanded their creative skills beyond their university education. They value applicants who have developed their own unique design language.

While some companies have started incorporating technology into their recruitment process, Toogood still prefers the traditional route. They believe that filtering through CVs manually allows them to discover exceptional candidates that might be missed if using AI alone.

In terms of their interview and application process, Toogood now has more defined roles, and questions are tailored to the specific department. Teams lead the interview process, with directors joining later to meet the shortlisted candidates and provide input in the final decision-making process.

Toogood advises applicants to showcase their best projects rather than overwhelming the portfolio with numerous pieces. They prefer to see the design journey, from the initial model to the finished product. An understanding of material sensibilities and an alignment with Toogood’s aesthetic are crucial. Moreover, a well-researched cover letter that demonstrates an understanding of the company and its work can make a difference in securing an interview.

Toogood has been using Dezeen Jobs for the past eight to ten years and believes it attracts the best quality candidates, making their recruitment process much more straightforward.

Toogood is currently seeking a design assistant to join its furniture and homewares team in London.

This article is part of the Dezeen Jobs: How We Recruit series, which explores changing hiring practices and future recruitment needs for companies worldwide.

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