Interview skills: How to impress at an interview!
We’ve had a great response to our blog post Tips to apply (and land) your ideal Graphic Design job! Prompted by requests, this article is for those of you who have received that exciting request to come in for an interview!
THE WEEK BEFORE THE INTERVIEW:
Research the company you are going to meet.
You can do this their website, Google and LinkedIn. Try to understand their requirements so you can impress them with how you can fit in! (Note, this is not a hard sell: “Hire me I’m the Best Graphic Designer In The World”, rather a “I see that you have a focus on Market Research graphics. I love designing infographics so creating for that industry is particularly interesting to me.
Prepare your portfolio:
Make sure your portfolio is up-to-date and relevant. Show pieces of work which you are proud of and you can explain your role in each piece. If you are going to present your portfolio on screen, make sure to ask your interviewer if they have a projector. Or if you need to use their laptop, ask for it ahead of time. Try, however, to borrow a laptop or tablet so that you can ensure no glitches. If you are presenting a physical portfolio, make sure it’s not dusty (!) or dirty and that your pieces are in the order you want to present.
THE DAY BEFORE THE INTERVIEW:
Confirm your interview time:
Send a mail to your contact to confirm the interview. eg:
I’m looking forward to meeting with you for our graphic design interview tomorrow. I’d like to confirm our meeting at your office at 11am tomorrow morning.
Work out your timing:
Make sure you know how to get to the venue and work out how long it will take you to get there. Make sure to allow time for traffic (if driving through rush-hour) and signing into security (if in a complex). Make sure you have a contact number for the person you are meeting.
ON THE DAY OF THE INTERVIEW
Arriving on time is a game-changer! Make sure you leave home/ work etc early enough so that you can arrive on time. If you are too early, wait in your car /outside and aim to knock on their door five minutes before. If you are running late, call the person you are meeting when you know you are running late, not when you already are. It’s a sure-fire way to start off on the wrong foot when your interview has been sitting, wasting their time in the boardroom.
Be well presented!
Put some effort into your appearance, because, like it or not, first impressions count. If you are in the creative industry you have more leeway so unless you are in a client-facing corporate role, you can show your individuality through your appearance. But remember to keep it professional – a nose ring we can live with – having it connected to your ear with a giant chain, maybe not so much!
It’s okay to be nervous, we’ve all been there. So don’t beat yourself up about it. And it’s okay to be yourself. We want to know who you are. Because we’re going to be spending 8 hours a day with you, its important that we like each other!
It’s hard not to like someone who smiles. And it’s hard not to want to hire someone you like. A great smile can break the ice and give you the edge over another great designer!
AFTER THE INTERVIEW
Say thank you:
You can send a mail or even a letter (how NICE that would be! – but ensure that your snail mail is going to arrive in three days or less). A simple thank you for their time will help to ensure that you stand out amongst the other job seekers and shows good manners.
Unfortunately, you are not going to be successful at every interview. There may be hundreds of other people applying for that job so just getting an interview deserves a high five! Treat it as a learning experience and enjoy the process. Practice makes perfect, so each failed interview is merely the preview for your dream job 🙂
From the team at our design agency, Halo Media, we wish you all the best to Nail That Interview!!