Sunday, January 28, 2007

Designers beware: Being the interviewee (Part 1)

I have already covered a designer’s resume and designer’s portfolio in this short series about designers landing a job in Latin America. In this new blog entry I will cover the interview from the interviewee perspective. I’ll divide it in two parts.

Part 1: Before the interview…

Now that you’re in “landing job” mode, it’s time to plan the strategy for your interview.

The call.
So the recruiter calls you to ask you to come over for an interview. Have a positive and upbeat attitude, act like you were expecting the call and be ready to jot down the directions to the place. It’s a good idea to take the chance to ask a couple of questions, like, who the interviewer is, their position, if they want you to bring anything else, if there’s a dress code, confirm the position they’re calling you for. In general, get as much information as possible from that call.

The research.
Once you know who’s contacted you, do some research on the company, if you haven’t already done so when you sent your resume. Check out their web page and find out as much information as you can. Try to relate that info to the design position and how it impacts their operation. DO NOT show up without doing some research. Research will allow you to prepare some intelligent questions for your interview and will save the interviewer some time in having to explain the company business to you. Trust me, you’ll make a great first impression.

The logistics.
Rehearse the route you’ll take to get to the interview location, beforehand. I know this may sound like a bit much, but making sure you get to the interview on time is of the outmost importance. In fact, leave a window to arrive there early.

The portfolio.
If you have many pieces, select the ones that better illustrate your skills for the position in question. Be prepared to present each piece by saying how it came about, what the creative process was like and how the customer’s business was improved by it.

The questions.
Interviewers ask difficult, personal and professional questions in order to see how you handle yourself under pressure and if your personality and professional traits match the position. Here are some typical questions:

- Why did you become a designer?
- What did you expect to achieve as a designer then?
- What do you expect to achieve as a designer now?
- In what type of atmosphere/environment do you feel most comfortable working in and do you do best working in groups or by yourself?
- What are your skills? What can you offer that other designers can't?
- What are your flaws?
- What’s your creative process?
- How does your expertise relate to our company?
- How do you think you’ll help us increase sales?
- What are your salary expectations?

Prepare intelligend answers for these questions and think about them thoroughly beforehand... show that you know where you're heading, what you want, your own value and how can all those positive things have a positive impact in the company.

Next time, I’ll be covering the actual interview. Until then, I look forward to receiving some comments!

All the best!


Chris Bayiokos said...

Thank you for that extremely helpful and thorough article, Carolina. I happen to be searching for a new job this week and some of your advice makes so much sense that I am surprised I never thought of it before.

Carolina Ayerbe said...

Hey, Chris! Thanks so much for your comment! Come back and let us know if the advice was effective in landing you a job! ;-)

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