If you’ve had little to no experience with interviews or if the notion of going on
one makes your palms sweat and your blood pressure soar, you’ll want some
practice sessions first. You can do this informally with a friend or a working
designer or in a more formal setting, such as a videotaped encounter with a
career placement officer. While it’s definitely ego-deflating to see actual proof of
how silly you act on tape or hear how dopey your answers are, it’s a truly educational
and eye-opening experience. You brave souls who avail yourselves of this
opportunity can’t help but do better the second time around!
Another tip we offer sounds silly but do it anyway. Practice shaking hands
with everybody around you for a few days. Handshakes are a form of nonverbal
communication that reveals information about you; go for a firm but not bone crushing
approach. Women, this applies to you as well. No one likes to be on the
receiving end of a limp handshake, which indicates weakness.
Develop Your Questions
At a certain point in most interviews, the person doing the interviewing will
inquire if you have questions. Responding with a “Nope” will land you in the
The correct answer is always and forevermore “Yes, I do.” This is when you
whip out your questions you’ve carefully developed beforehand. Your questions
should definitely not focus on what the company can do for you, like benefits,
salary, vacation, or advancement. Below are some employer-centered examples
to get you thinking:
• What are the top three qualities you’re looking for in a designer? • I see from your Web site that you’re moving into more product identity work; how might this affect the work I’d be doing? • How much of my daily work would be spent on ________? • Is this a newly created position? • Who would I report to? • From what you know about me so far, what would be the biggest challenge I’d face? • I read you’ve taken on XYZ as a client. Are there plans for the company
to move into more designing for the _______ field? Wardrobe
Decide what you’re wearing no later than the night before your interview. As
you select your clothes, remind yourself of this mind-boggling fact:
You have only ten to forty-five seconds to make a first impression! Why blow
your big chance by a poor wardrobe choice?
Today’s workplace dress codes have relaxed somewhat. You’re no longer
required to wear a two-piece black or navy suit for an interview, but that doesn’t
mean you can slide. One thing they’ll be judging you on is whether or not you’d
ever be presentable enough to take along to visit a client.
An interview is not the proper setting for you to display your keen fashion
sense; on the contrary, you’ll be dressing in a way that implies you know how to
fit in, not stand out. Be aware that your choice of clothing can and does nonverbally
communicate whether you know how the business world operates or not.
Positively no jeans, no bare midriffs, no sneakers, no mini-skirts. While you’re
at it, remove the facial piercing adornments and cover your tattoos, if possible.
Your clothes should obviously fit you well but certainly not be body-hugging.
No low-cut tops for women, no heels so high you wobble, and no bare legs.
For men, we recommend bowing to the convention by wearing a blazer or a jacket
(save the leather for later) but you can leave off the tie so they won’t confuse you
with a banker. If our sartorial advice is a total turn-off, at the very least go in
khakis, a cotton shirt with a collar and a tie. “I always make it a point to wear a suit to an interview,” Michelle
Groblewski, Art Director at Supermodels Unlimited in Northampton,
Massachusetts, told us when we visited her workplace. “I think it’s important to
go in full regalia because you’re not in yet.”