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I'm a longtime lurker. I finally made an account because I thought this might be a group that can help provide insight to a question I've been stumbling with.
I'm going through my first experience hiring a junior designer. The applications I've received are all over the place -- some outstanding, some hilariously unqualified to do professional design work, and some just tragically bad.
I find that I receive frequent requests from the last category inquiring why they weren't selected or what they could do to improve themselves. When it's a matter of not fulfilling all the qualifications for software proficiency or having rampant typos in their resumes, writing a quick critical response is easy ("unfortunately, you do not currently meet the qualifications posted for this position", "unfortunately, your writing shows that your attention to detail and communication skills need improvement").
But when someone is versed in the programs and wrote a nice cover letter and resume .... but their work is just bad, I'm at a loss for a way to quickly communicate that without sounding like a jerkface. I work at a small business that's active in the community (chances are I might run into a couple of these people someday) and I'm a firm believer in the power of constructive criticism, but saying that their taste level lacks sophistication still just seems harsh. Am I just being a softie? I'd love to get into the nitty gritty about what missteps they're making with type, color, layouts, etc., but it would just be too time consuming.
Anyone have ideas or experiences with this to share?
How do you constructively tell a job applicant that their work lacks sophistication or that they don't demonstrate a good taste level?