Why is it good to prepare for an interview?
You may have a really strong portfolio but unless you can sell yourself in an interview, you may find getting that all-important job may be severely hampered. Some companies and agencies even include tests as part of the interview process to help whittle down applicants, after-all you may be one of up to several hundred applicants, preparing for them can make all the difference.
What should I prepare?
The more you know about the interview that you are applying for, the better you can prepare for it. Asking a few simple questions can immediately put you ahead of the rest of the applicants. Here are a few examples.
- What should I bring with me?
Chances are you will be asked to take along a portfolio. There is no harm contacting the company you are applying to, to ask them what they will want you to bring.
- What should I wear?
Some companies within the creative industries are very relaxed, and wouldn’t expect you to turn up in a suit. Usually a company will advise you on this, although this decision is often seen as part of the interview process. If you turn up looking scruffy what are you saying about yourself?
- Where and when the interview will happen?
Make sure you are clear as to where the interview will be taking place and at one what time, if you unfamiliar with the location its worth spending time before your interview investigating its location, and how long it will take you to get there. There is nothing worse than being late for an interview, if you are given them a courtesy phone call to explain why, don’t say you overslept!
- Who will be interviewing you.
If possible find out who will be interviewing you. Research them, find out their role at the company and any projects they may have worked on.
- Are there any tests?
Knowing if the company will test you in some manner will give you the time you need too both practice and prepare for them more specifically. You should be prepared to take some kind of test the type of test will be dependant on the nature of the job applied for, for example if you apply to a job agency there is a good chance they will run a psychometric test to evaluate your abilities in such areas as verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning or diagrammatic reasoning. With this in mind it is always advisable to undertake similar tests before a real interview.
Some tests will be more specifically tailored to the role applied for, for example as a graphic designer you may be asked to take a test on Indesign, Quark or other software so that the employers can get a better understanding of your level of knowledge, you should therefore be up to date with the technologies applicable to your selected job.
What type of questions may I get?
Be prepared for any question, included are a few examples of the types of question that might be asked of you.
- What is your strongest (or weakest piece) of work?
Of course your portfolio or showreel should include all your strongest work. You should be able to identify the strongest and weakest examples.
- How would you do this?
You may be asked to describe a process used to create a certain piece of work, this question can help employers identify your ability to use certain tools without a book or guidance.
- Where do you see yourself in five years time?
You should be as honest as possible with this question, having a career goal and focus gives you ambition, a trait which employers want to see in their staff. For example, if you see yourself being a creative director say so, but avoid saying you want to be a creative director for a company other than the one that is interviewing you.
- Why do you want to work for us?
In this case it is easier to write what you shouldn’t say rather than what you should. Never say “I don’t know” or “for the money” or “you’re advertising”. Identify what about the company interests you, and where you see yourself fitting in within the company.
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Turn off your mobile phone before the interview. It is incredibly rude to have your phone go off mid interview.
Do not chew gum. It doesn’t look professional.