Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Interview TIPS for graphic & web designers

Before Interview

  1. BRAND yourself! What is YOUR identity?
  2. Remember your interviewing for a “Creative job”, not some boring Repetitive Job!
  3. There are a million other designers just as good…or better. What separates YOU from the pack? Again…Brand yourself.
  4. Cover letter – make it brief and specific to the job and company your courting.
  5. SPELL CHECK!!!!!!!!!!!! – if you have a typo on ANYTHING you submit, believe you me, you will NOT get the interview. Have a friend or spouse review your materials as well. The more, the merrier. There is NO excuse.
  6. Don’t leave a CD-ROM behind…it’s too much trouble/hassle. Leave a great printed piece/business card/promo package that will make the employer remember you. CD’s get thrown away or lost.
  7. Online Portfolio (ok, I guess we need to dig deeper here)

    a. If you’re applying for a web design job, then your portfolio site better be tight and full of bells and whistles. Using the latest in all technologies.

    b. If you’re a print designer, it should at least be creative, simple and easy.

    c. Either way, don’t make it terribly difficult for employers to navigate through and get a feel for your work. If you need help optimizing the site, consult with a web designer friend/colleague.

    d. Please check all the links on your site. Nothing worse than broken links. It’s like having a TYPO!

    e. Pretty please, don’t make me download any fancy plug-ins. Because I won’t! Flash will do.

    f. Just like any website, browser test your portfolio site. If you’re applying for an internal marketing job, most likely the employer will be on PC’s and using Internet Explore 6/7.

    g. Last but NOT LEAST…Don’t present a portfolio website that is branded as a freelance site. Unless you’re applying for freelance work. You may come off as a competitor or cocky. It’s a fine line. Don’t walk it. An employer wants you to be dedicated to them, not out moonlighting and “burning the midnight oil”!
  8. Portfolio Samples

    a. Not too much, but just right. People don’t have time to go through your entire life’s work.

    b. Don’t give away the farm. Give just enough to ENTICE them to call you.

    c. Just pick out the BEST work.12-14 pieces is a good number.

    d. NOTE. Pick samples that; you love, you get excited about, you can speak about.

    e. NO FLUFF pieces. If it ain’t good, DON’T show it.

    f. START and END with GREAT samples. Be strategic.

    g. Each sample should be impeccable. Seriously. This is a TRUE representation of your brand and work habits.

    h. Bring a sketch book or process book. Show employers how you work.
  9. Get to the know the company - Do Research and Find out their history.

CONGRATS! You got the interview.

During Interview

  1. Don’t cancel or re-schedule…EVER!
  2. Don’t be late! EVER!
  3. It’s a given…Don’t chew gum. Pop a breath mint before the interview.
  4. Handshake – (Boys & Girls) Firm and assertive. But don’t squeeze their hand off.
  5. Dress the partdo your research. What is the company culture like you’re interviewing with? A design boutique is going to be much different than an internal marketing group. Be prepared.
  6. Smell good! Just a dab’ill do ya! Don’t bathe in it. If you smoke, don’t have a smoke until after the interview. Most people HATE that smell of smoke.
  7. Be polite. Be interesting. BE EXCITED! Don’t you want this job? Then act like it.
  8. Remember…you’re interviewing them as well.
  9. Ask good questions, like…

    a. What type of clients do you have?

    b. What is the workflow, process like?

    c. What are the long-term goals of your company?
  10. Practice all the standard interview questions, like…

    a. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

    b. Give an example of a bad experience you had with a client and how you handled it?

    c. Why do you want to leave your current job? (NEVER, NEVER, say anything negative or unprofessional)
  11. Find something personal and make a connection with them.
  12. SELL Yourself. This is your one chance.
  13. Don’t get caught off guard, have a salary range in mind.
  14. Don’t be nervous. Just be yourself. Confident…but not cocky.
  15. Ask the interviewers if they have any questions for you.
  16. BE YOURSELF - Don't interview like you are someone else because once they hire you and find out you aren't that person, it's a countdown with your time at that company.

After Interview

  1. Follow up email

    Always follow up with an email that same day or next day. Make sure to include emails to all the people you interviewed with. You never know who is making the decisions. Don’t leave someone out.
  2. Follow up card/letter

    Always follow up with a simple (but creative) card or letter of “Thanks”. It’s more work, but it’s the thought that counts. Especially for the jobs you REALLY want.
  3. Follow up calls

    Important, but be careful…seem interested, but not desperate. Once a week. Exceed with caution. Each job will be different. Play it by ear.
  4. Be Patient

Good luck! We hope this was helpful and you land that new job.

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