I guess you already know how to find a job in Graphic Design, and you have your portfolio and résumé prepared, now you have gotten an interview at the company you have always wanted to work, so now you’re thinking, what should I do? Don’t worry, that’s a question all of us have asked when attending an interview for a Graphic Designer position, most people will tell you to wear casual, just be yourself, however, in this post I’d like to share my personal experience as well as some tips from colleagues that are in charge of choosing new members for their teams.
Find out where you’re going
It’s not the same to have an interview at an advertising agency where you can basically wear whatever you want (even when you shouldn’t) as they are used to see all kinds of looks every day and to them, that’s not important. But if you’re going to an interview at a law firm that for whatever reason decided to have an in-house designer, then make sure you wear something less than casual, at least to look good in front of their 60-year clients visiting their bureau and doesn’t want to get a bad impression from you (Read more about how Design helped me land a job in Marketing)
Nowadays, most companies are not really aware of the design world, and they see us designers as weirdos who dress different, so they will have a certain flexibility when meeting you, in spite of their strict internal dress codes (suggested read, in-house designers vs agency designers).
NEVER wear a suit and a tie
You’re a graphic designer, not an economist looking forward to a Wall Street career. I remember a teacher say – he used to work for major companies that wanted him to help them find a designer in short notice without having time to check their portfolios- at one class: Don’t ever trust a designer who wears a suit and a tie, do not ever go to an interview wearing this! These words can make you laugh, but the truth is, he was right.
Bring your portfolio… ALWAYS!
If you have an iPad, put all your info there and bring it with you, if not, save it in a flash drive (it’d be a nice idea to have custom flash drives with your brand on them). Personally, I’ve always thought that bringing a well-presented print portfolio can cause a good impression to the interviewer, better than saying “go to this website to check my work”. If you can have a not so expensive version of your portfolio that you can just give away, that’d be great, as it will increase your chances of getting the job (obviously depending on the quality of your work). Unfortunately, I had this interview a while ago where they have already seen my work online and I took the pertinent design tests, I just needed to check the last details of my contract, but then I was asked for a physical sample of my portfolio to show to a guy who couldn’t make it to the meeting, you can’t imagine how much I yearned to have an iPad at that moment.
Try to impress them… but not so much
There’s nothing worse than the young millennial who tries to impress everyone from the moment he crosses the door, talking about his previous experiences and the vast amount of design awards he has earned. That’s a negative way of impressing someone, but don’t worry, there’s also a very effective way to leave a really good impression of you.
Picture yourself at the final stage of the selection process along with 3 other people, then everyone’s asked the same typical question: What do you like to do on your free time? Any hobbies or passions?
Subject 1: I like to party, leave the city, watch a movie or just stay home playing video games.
Subject 2: I like to write about design and share my knowledge with other people. I currently have a blog named mishes.com, so in my free time I used to write on my blog (If you don’t have a place to share the things you like in design, here are a few reasons why you should start a design blog)
Subject 3: I like to paint murals (how to paint a mural easily), graffiti and stuff. I’m part of a design group that paints murals in different places of the city, I can show you some of the pieces we have made.
Who do you think caused the best impression? Definitely subject 2 and 3 showed some interest beyond the job status.
There are a few things that make you look worse than showing up late. It’s your first contact with the interviewer, and so the least they expect is for you to be on time (same goes for them). So be ready and arrive at least 10 minutes early.
And finally but not less important
Check all your Social Media profiles. If your Twitter timeline is filled with insults to your former employer and complaints about your job, it’s very likely that you will not cause a good impression in your new job. Check the privacy of your Facebook photos (yes, especially those of you at the end of that party), delete all those who make you look bad before is too late.