When you are waiting in a hallway for an interview, your palms start to sweat, on the other hand, your mouth becomes parched. So, if you find yourself in this description, don’t worry, I got you covered.
In this article, you will find tips that will help you succeed in your next graphic design interview. Now let’s dive in and see the 13 tips for a successful job interview.
13 Tips For a Successful Graphic Design Interview
1. The “Interrogation”
Typically the interviewers will try to find out more information about you, so they can assess if you’ll fit well in the company culture. That’s why you should have standard questions like: what are your greatest weaknesses and strengths prepare in advance.
There is also a trick that will give you an edge among other applicants – research the company values and connect them with yours.
For example, if you see on their page that their environment-friendly packaging will save the pandas, tell them how you recycle everything and think about the environment plus that you LOVE PANDAS!
Every question you get is an open-ended question. So, if you get a question: how do you overcome a creative block? Don’t answer: YES, but tell them a story about how you tamed it in the crucial times.
People are intrigued by stories, so almost every question you get, you should tell the story behind it.
Storytelling is essential when you’re faced with a critical question, one that might make or break you. So practice this art of telling stories will most definitely help you in the job interview.
In this article from Cleverisem, you can find the most difficult interview questions and the best answers for them.
2. Polish Your Portfolio
Having a design degree doesn’t matter as much as having an outstanding collection of graphic design works. Create an on-paper portfolio as well as an online portfolio.
If you don’t know where to set up your online portfolio, you can look into my 3 recommendations in this article HERE.
Include only your best works in it. So, if your job interview is coming up and you haven’t refreshed it in years, check out which design you should replace with better, fresher ones.
If you’ve made a lot of designs you’re proud of, don’t go overboard with adding hundreds of them in the portfolio, because no-one will have the time nor the patience to go through all of them.
Don’t take your printed version with you once the interview is over, leave it there so the future employer can go once again trough it, and compare your work with other designers.
3. Resume And Cover Letter
Have a printed resume ready for the interview, and don’t forget to UPDATE it. You don’t want to explain that the information on it is old, and in the meantime, you worked for this and that company as well.
Don’t neglect the fact that you’re applying for a graphic design position, so put your creative skills to work and carefully design your CV.
You can include a resume in your portfolio, or even better have a trifold page design, and the page that opens the most outwards should have written all the facts about you.
Some companies require a cover letter, so prepare one just in case.
In the gallery below, you can find some examples of exceptional graphic design resumes.
4. Brand Yourself
Ensure you create a logo or innovative monogram for yourself, and put it on your portfolio, CV, and email signature. Stop and think for a moment: if you can’t visually brand yourself, what are the possibilities you can do it for future customers?
5. Design Your Business Card
Yes, having a business card might sound strange if you’re fresh out of school or if you’re just starting in this creative field, and why on earth would you need one on a job interview?
But having a business card is more than having it just for the sake of your phone number and email address written on it.
It gives the interviewer an insight into your creativity, so with a great design, you present your skills, plus it something real that they can see and touch.
With the right choice of material and design, you will outshine the competition because you will communicate that you’re not only highly creative but that you can also execute a project from start to finish.
6. Set-Up Your Pitch
Knowing how to successfully answer the questions thrown at you at the interview is not the only skill you need to master, but you also need to have expertise on how to sell yourself and your work.
So, always talk about your designs when the interviewers are going through your portfolio, don’t just look at them with them and be quiet.
Explain why you created a design a certain way, what’s the story behind it, why did you use a specific style, and what design techniques you applied to it.
Tell them why are you the perfect fit for the company before they start evaluating you. Let them know why they should hire you, how your values align with company ones, and what are your strongest assets.
It’s a brilliant idea to practice your pitch with your family or friends to make sure you get it right and to make you feel more confident with your speaking skills.
7. Ask Questions
Your primary role in the interview is to answer all the questions you get, but don’t be afraid to ASK the questions about the company you’ll be working for.
Ask about the working environment, what will your tasks be, how strick are the deadlines, who will approve your work, what is the workflow of a project, and how THEY SEE YOU working for them.
Also, ask them about their projects and suggest how you would improve them, don’t criticize their work just give out ideas.
Take a look at their website, and you can give some tips on how would you refine the look of their website as a whole. If you want to take it to another level, you can redesign it before the interview and show them your draft.
If you’re not comfortable with your web design skills, you can redesign their business card, logo, packaging, or something else you find is missing a bit of creative touch.
8. Spell Check Everything
It’s a catastrophe if you have a linguistic error on your resume, cover letter, or any other documents you submit for the interview.
Spelling slip-ups will not be ignored, and they demonstrate an absence of interest, carelessness, and lack of preciseness, which is a significant trait in the graphic design field.
So have a friend or family go through everything you’ll present at least two times, maybe there’s something you’ve missed.
9. Dress To impress
Graphic design is a creative field, and it’s seen as less restricted when it comes down to the clothing style.
Some bigger companies might have a dressing code, but it’s more an exception than a rule. So most likely, you won’t need to suit up (with a tie and everything).
When in doubt what to put on, check the team section listed on their site. Go over the dressing looks of your future colleagues and see if they are dressed casual or formal.
If we like it or not, we judge a book by its covers, and you can be perceived as a designer merely by your dressing style.
10. Give a Strong Handshake
Giving a strong handshake is an essential aspect of a successful interview and often overlooked. Every job interview will start and end with a handshake and a firm one will be perceived as a sign of confidence.
Don’t shake and rip their arm off, but give them a good firm grip. Besides a strong handshake, look them in the eyes when you introduce yourself, and when you say goodbye.
11. Bring a Pad And Pen
This isn’t fundamental, yet if you take out a pad and a pen, it will look just as you are prepared. You can even top that if you bring your sketch pad and go through the pages in search of an empty page, where you will “write on.”
You don’t need actually to write something in, just scribble a few words in. The intention of opening a sketch pad is showing that you can visually translate ideas on to the paper and that you sketch before you start making the real thing.
12. Request The Interviewer’s Business Card
At the end of the meeting, ask for business cards of every interviewer, they usually have their work email and phone number written on it.
This information comes in handy when you need to send a follow-up email the same day, or ask them how far are they in the candidate selection process and if you stand any chances of you being the right person for the job.
Make this step a few days after the interview in case you don’t receive any feedback from them.
13. Send a Follow Up-Email
If you follow the tips above, the interview should go well. But don’t stop here and wait for their response, send a follow-up email to all people who gave you their business cards, and thank them for their time and ask them when will they inform you about their selection.
This step shows gratitude and care, which gives you some extra points against the others.
Final Words: Tips for Graphic Design Interview
When you’re going to the job interview, you will feel nervous, and your hearth will start pounding like crazy.
One way you can help to ease a bit is to take deep breaths and focus on breathing, but in a highly stressful situation, this is easier said than done. However, give it a try, and you might find yourself more relaxed.
Also, don’t worry, these symptoms are common, and the majority of the candidates will feel the same.
If you follow the tips in this article and you prepare yourself for the D-day, there is nothing that can stop you!