I'm being particular with my approach to interviewing, and to how applicants present themselves. My approach may not be the same as other firm's, but then again, they're my standards. If you're currently looking for a new job in the design field, here are some points to consider:
- An employer is not looking for an individual who thinks this is "just a job." Of course, candidates should have plenty of outside interests, so that work isn't everything. However, if the candidate doesn't convey excitement about work and passion for design in the interview, why should an employer think they will convey that for their clients?
- Proofread your resumé. Did you get that? Proofread your resumé. If there is a typo, it goes in the trash. Even if you worked for somebody well-known in the field.
- Be professional. If you don't understand what that means in the design field, please ask someone with more experience than you. The employer needs to be confident that a candidate could represent the firm to a CEO or president.
- Check your ego.
- Remember, the employer is running a design and creative business, not an outlet for your personal expression. Clients hire design consultants to solve their problems and communicate their messages in ways appropriate to their audiences. If a candidate requires personal expression, then perhaps it's time for a hobby such as painting.
- Dress appropriately for the interview. Employers are aware that business dress has become more casual, but you're trying to impress, not show off your fashion sense. If you're not familiar with the culture of the firm, dress better than you think is necessary.
- Read the qualifications of the posting carefully before sending a resumé. If the requirements are "3 to 5 years experience" and you're a recent graduate, it just tells the employer you can't read or pay attention to detail.
- A note sent via the company's contact form via the web site does not count as a cover letter. If it's not stated on the posting or on the website, it is an appropriate way to ask how to submit a cover letter and resumé.
- Always send a thank you letter. Handwritten or typed via snailmail is best. Email is acceptable, but won't impress.
- A few well-designed web pages that include your resumé, some samples of your work, and perhaps your design approach and philosophy are helpful to the interviewer. Not only does it help the interviewer pre-qualify the candidate, it saves the candidate time as well.
- Remember, a candidate not only has to have serious design talent and training, but inter-personal skills and technical knowledge are important. If your list of software skills includes software that the position doesn't require, the interviewer will need to know why those skills are valuable to them.
- Clients hire for how we think and solve problems. An employer will be looking for the same in a potential employee.
- In addition to the above, a candidate also has to fit into the culture of an organization. The smaller the design firm, the more important this is. Likability is a huge factor.
- Expect to be asked to take a behavioral profile, such as a DISC or Meyers-Briggs test. Most likely this request will occur if a candidate is seriously considered for a position.
- Show your best work. Be familiar with the quality, standards of and type of work the firm you are interviewing with does. Showing fewer well-crafted and thoughtfully-designed pieces convey the sense that a candidate knows how to present themselves and their work. Adding some pieces that are average or below-average dilutes the impact of even the best work.
Disclaimer: This is intended to make your job search more enjoyable and fruitful. If you get a better position because of what you've read, thank me. Or not.
Tags: design business