SECRETS TO SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEWING Interviews are yet another opportunity for you to prove that even though you’re
in a creative field like design, you know how the business world operates. Sick
of this refrain? It’s true nonetheless! Let your designs show your flair and originality
. . . but at interviews opt for the conservative approach.
An “interview” is a formal meeting between you and a prospective
employer. That said, the smaller the company, the less formal the meeting may
actually turn out to be. If you receive a phone call for an interview, take the opportunity to solicit
some basic information that may serve to calm your nerves. For example, will
this be a group interview or one-on-one? Are there any additional materials you
should bring? Will the meeting take place in the office or outside of the workplace?
How much time is allowed? What if the directions aren’t listed on the
Web site? Even if you receive a letter instead of a phone call about the interview,
it’s still a fine idea to call and ask the above questions.
Your primary goal at an interview should be to do nothing or say nothing that will land you in the Reject pile. In other words, be on your very best behavior. And bear in mind that interviews are two-way streets. Setting aside your desperation to land a job that’ll pay next month’s rent, you should be scrutinizing employers as well to see if you want them. Some employers are so overwhelmed with applicants that they conduct a ten-or-fifteen-minute phone screening first, to help them whittle the field down to a shortlist. Again, your goal is not to land in the Reject pile. In larger firms, which tend to follow stricter hiring protocols, you may be invited in for an interview despite the fact that the hiring manager has already made up his or her mind as to who the chosen candidate will be. Not that this matter is ever discussed openly—especially with you. But the design world is a small one and afterward, you may hear the true story. Your response? Be grateful for the interview experience anyway and shrug off the rejection. There are other, better-for-you jobs out there . . . and, with persistence, you’ll find your right spot. What can you expect at an interview? In larger operations, you might meet first with a Human Resources person, then the Creative Director, possibly a team of designers. There may be a series of individual meetings, followed by a group interview. You may be taken on a tour or shown a film or given a brief history of the business. Sometimes interviews may even be conducted during meals. Don’t be upset if your interview is interrupted so the employer can field an important call or make an urgent decision on a deadline-driven project. It’s par for the course.