In a design interview situation I have always felt quite fortunate to be a graphic designer, unlike many other jobs you have your prop, your talking point – your portfolio. This being said I think your portfolio must be ready for the interview and you must be ready to sell your work to a potential employer. They don’t just want to see the work, they want to know your thinking and reasoning behind it and probably how long you spent on it. I think this is even more important for students, for what you may lack in experience they should be able to hear in your enthusiasm for you work.
In my career I have been for many interviews, getting that first job is the difficult one, once you have a job and so the pressure is less in my opinion, interviews become a lot easier. I have a terrible sense of direction, I have often done a test run to find out where to go prior to an interview. There is nothing worse than being late, even if you ring and let them know you are lost it immediately puts you in a panicked state of mind. I think I am probably a little odd as I rarely worry about the actual interview, but will worry about finding the place.
Freelance Design Interviews
When I go for freelance interviews I tend to adjust the order and what is in my portfolio and make sure I know roughly what I will say about each piece of work. I make sure I show examples of different types of work, I will show my creative stuff, but also heavily corporate work just to prove I am able to adhere to tight corporate guidelines when required. I also often include a piece of my personal work. I recently went for an interview with a reasonable sized printers who was looking to outsource design from freelancers. In my portfolio was some of my personal children’s characters and book I had designed, a few days later they called me in and asked if it would be possible for them to pitch my children’s characters to a large hotel chain in view of using them for branding their children’s menus, with the book as a kids giveaway. Unfortunately the pitch didn’t come off, but it was a possibility that wouldn’t have emerged if I hadn’t included the characters in my portfolio.
Design Agency Interview
It is always important to have a little prior knowledge about the company you are going to see. As most companies have an online presence there is no excuse for not knowing at least a little about them.
I think its important to be honest in an interview, by that I don’t mean tell them all you weak points, but if someone asks you if you can do something and you can’t say so (unless you can learn it very quickly). If you got the job you would soon get found out anyway, so in my opinion its better to admit to it and say you are a quick learner. Be yourself in an interview too, the good about most of the design interviews I have been to is they are relatively informal, and the employer wants to know they can’t get on with you (and visa versa) as much as if they like your work or not.
What are your tips for an interview for a design job?
(see my related post What Do you Put In your Portfolio? )
Also worth taking a look at is Asgeir’s 15 resources for design students