“We’re looking for people who are resilient” says Hedda Foss Lilleng

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As part of our Dezeen Jobs: How We Recruit series, managing director at Snøhetta Design Hedda Foss Lilleng explains where the studio currently stands on recruitment.

Anna Marks: Can you talk me through Snøhetta Design‘s projects?

Hedda Foss Lilleng: Snøhetta Design is part of [architecture studio] Snøhetta, but we also function as an independent design studio. Half the work we do is with the architects and half the work we do is independent. Our approach is contextual, sensory and technologically curious.

Together with Snøhetta’s other disciplines within architecture and design, we do exhibition designs and interactive experiences, wayfinding, placemaking, hospitality and retail, and environmental graphics. We also design books relating to architecture, placemaking, exhibitions and editorial design.

In branding, we handle digital projects and create web pages for brands developed in collaboration with clients. Additionally, we engage in special projects – for instance, last year, we partnered with the Norwegian Cancer Society as part of its Making a Christmas campaign.

Snøhetta works on various different design projects

Anna Marks: Where do you currently stand on recruitment?

Hedda Foss Lilleng: Recruitment is always evolving because the disciplines are always evolving and people are constantly changing their way of looking at work.

People want a flexible workspace, to have home offices and choose the hours they work but still be present, just digitally. At Snøhetta we want to create good spaces to be in so that people want to be at work. People are also increasingly looking for a place where they can make a difference.

We’ve always been conscious of diversity, but more and more our studio in Oslo is very multinational – it has 35 nationalities now. We have eight more studios around the world that we collaborate with regularly, which contribute even more to a rich and diverse array of ideas and perspectives.

Increasingly, we’re using social media to recruit and we’ve had many people contact us via LinkedIn or Instagram. We often have dialogues with people via Instagram and email initially, and keep the dialogue going if it is interesting. It isn’t really targeted at recruiting somebody, but often leads to opportunities when the right one comes up.

Snøhetta Design is part of Snøhetta, but also functions as an independent design studio

Anna Marks: Are you looking for candidates to have any new skill sets?

Hedda Foss Lilleng: As a baseline, they need to be excellent designers. But because of the changing world, the energy crisis, the health crisis, and the environmental crisis, we’re increasingly looking for people who are resilient.

By resilient I don’t mean tough or hard-working, I mean people who are in contact with themselves. All our work is done in teams, so the ability to learn from and to teach others, be curious about what other people do and have a growth mindset is important.

As artificial intelligence (AI) is taking over parts of our tasks, human empathy and our ways of being human are becoming more important. And, of course, being curious about AI itself is also important – how to use it as a creative tool, and how to achieve inspiring and engaging co-creative processes with AI at the ideation level, all while maintaining the designer’s creative leadership.

A conscious attitude and interest in sustainability have always been crucial at Snøhetta. However, I think now we’re even more explicitly seeking individuals with knowledge and curiosity about sustainable methods and solutions.

Hedda Foss Lilleng is managing director at Snøhetta Design

Anna Marks: During the interview process, is there anything you do differently than you did 10 years ago?

Hedda Foss Lilleng: We have added some things into the process and one of them is that candidates do a test. It’s not precisely a personality test, but it might have similarities with one. In many ways, it works as a learning process for the individuals themselves and it helps us to get to know them and evaluate how they would fit into the team.

The studio partnered with the Norwegian Cancer Society as part of its Making a Christmas campaign last year

Anna Marks: What advice can you give people who are looking for a role at Snøhetta Design?

Hedda Foss Lilleng: Reach out if you want to get noticed and make sure that you have a well-functioning web page, or have a good Instagram account and engage in other people’s work. Make sure to comment. Don’t send a lengthy email and no visual references.

Also, make sure that you show that you’re interested in the discipline and what we’ve done – it’s like dating, right? If you want a person to like you, don’t sit there and talk about yourself, you start having a conversation and be curious.

I get a lot of people emailing me saying “Snøhetta would be a perfect place for me to work and develop” – but I am thinking, how can you contribute? What are you truly curious about, what are your ambitions for the discipline of architecture and design and what’s the weird stuff you’re doing?

Dezeen Jobs: How We Recruit series

This article is part of Dezeen Jobs: How We Recruit, a series of interviews to mark Dezeen Jobs turning 15, which explores changing hiring practices and future recruitment needs for companies around the world.

The post “We’re looking for people who are resilient” says Hedda Foss Lilleng appeared first on Dezeen.

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