Yvonne Cao, assistant professor of graphic design, sat down to interview Stan Richards, founder and creative director of The Richards Group, during his special visit to the TCU campus in April as the 2019 Cecil H. and Ida Green Honors Chair. Richards sat in on graphic design classes and interacted with students before giving a public presentation to the local design community.
During the interview, Cao asked Richards about the qualities he looks for in new hires, career advice for young creatives and his take on the state of the advertising industry.
Yvonne Cao: The Richards Group was ranked the #1 place to work in DFW. So, every year you must go through quite a number of job applications. When you’re searching for young creative talent for your agency, what qualities do you look for the most?
Stan Richards: What we look for the most is a great portfolio. We want to see their work from school or from a previous job. And it’s important that that work be the kind of thing that is done so well that when I interview one of those kids coming in for the first time I can find two or maybe three pieces in a portfolio that I wish we had done—that are that good—that could easily have come out of The Richards Group and I would have been very proud if they had. So, the portfolio is the primary evidence of what they are capable of doing and we care a lot about that. In addition to that, you have to look at personality. What kind of a person is this? Is this somebody that is going to be fun to work with? Somebody that we will all enjoy having as a part of the organization? Are they likely to have good presentation skills? You can’t judge that in an interview, but it’s important that you get a feel that this person has enough confidence that they can become a highly effective presenter. And those are the characteristics I look for most.
YC: You talked about the importance of portfolio and presentation skills. What would you suggest to young creatives to prepare them? If you could give one piece of advice for people just starting out, what would you say?
SR: I guess when I talk to those kids I hope to make them understand that this is hard work. That it can be great fun. It can be exciting. One can be very well compensated for it over a career, but it’s also very hard work. And you just have to do the hard work. Spend the hours, spend the commitment, work as hard as you possibly can no matter what the requirements are. There are going to be times when it doesn’t come easily. When you have to slug it out with trying to find an idea that is a terrific idea. But you can’t just stop because you ran out of time. And you can’t miss deadlines. Deadlines are deadlines and they cannot be missed. You have to somehow figure out—how do you get to the right answer and get to the right answer in the amount of time that you have allotted for it.Read the full interview