Career Advice from Chuck Jones, VP of Global Consumer Design at Whirlpool

After designing office furniture at Herman Miller and copiers at Xerox, Chuck Jones joined Whirlpool in 1995 and took on appliances. Since then he has managed to turn North America’s largest appliance maker into a far more design-centric company.

1. If someone wanted to land a job at your company today, how would you recommend he or she do it?


Personal references and a connection. The market is tight, so anyone within Whirlpool who is well regarded and recommends a potential hire to me automatically has the inside track. It’s cost effective, low risk and tends to yield very high quality talent.

2. What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?

Seek out jobs and moves that others would overlook. Carve out a name for yourself in a role or an area that is emerging or totally underleveraged — and make it indispensable to the organization. I received this advice from Max DePree, when he was running Herman Miller.

3. If you were job hunting in this economy, where would you look?

I would look for a job on a yacht in Monaco! Just kidding! Actually the job market for design remains VERY strong… some sectors are better than other (e.g., medical and consumer products), but I am amazed at how corporations have found design as a powerful vehicle to drive differentiation for brands and differentiated results for their business.

About the author

Chuck Salter is a senior editor at Fast Company and a longtime award-winning feature writer for the magazine. In addition to his print, online and video stories, he performs live reported narratives at various conferences, and he edited the Fast Company anthologies Breakthrough Leadership, Hacking Hollywood, and #Unplug.