Interviewing for a position is an anxiety-inducing experience in any industry. For those working in the creative sector, it can be hard to translate their experiences, artistic point of view, and career aspirations across the other side of the desk.
The interview process doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge! Keeping tips like the ones below in mind helps to avoid a frustratingly poor interview experience.
Do your research
Being prepared is a familiar adage espoused by career coaches, but it rings especially true for creative candidates such as graphic or UX designers. This is your opportunity to show exactly why you’re interviewing for the position. Creative Bloq recommends searching creative press for mentions of the company. Are they doing anything that aligns with your creative interests or that you can tie into your professional core competencies? Showing initiative goes a long way in an interview.
Let your work speak for itself
Tech recruiter Dan Garriott told Monster in an interview centered around advice for job-hunting creatives that it’s important not to be overly fussy with the exterior presentation of your portfolio. Don’t be too elaborate with your portfolio,” Garriott said. “You should let your work speak to how creative you are, not the packaging. There’s no amount of packaging you can do that’s going to trick them into thinking your work is better than it is.”
It’s important to showcase your best work as well, with a focus on quality over quantity. Also, providing a print and digital portfolio gives interviewers an opportunity to peruse a larger collection of your work at their leisure.
Sell skills appropriately
Today’s job market encompasses a broad spectrum of different digital skills and job descriptions, but that shouldn’t mean you should stretch the truth in order to get a foot in the door by promising a skillset you can’t quite execute on.
Conversely, don’t be too humble, because the interview is certainly a place where it’s appropriate to brag about your abilities. Feeling too self-conscious about your accolades might be a wasted opportunity to play to your strengths and position yourself as a strong candidate. Additionally, make sure to relate back to the particular needs of the position/organization you’re interviewing for. It shows that you understand the nuances of the job, and would be prepared to take on the day-to-day.
Avoid novelty resume designs
Creative Bloq also recommends that prospective candidates stay away from novelty resume formats, which run the gamut from inflatable resumes (yes, they literally inflate) to intricate paper folding techniques. While being zany is a surefire way to stand out, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll be remembered for the strength of your design principles, which is what really counts.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use resume formats that are creative, however. An impactful resume for a design, content or UX position is one that is visually appealing, references clients or brands you’ve worked with, and clearly highlights unique skills.
Ask thoughtful, pertinent questions
At the end of every interview, comes the opportunity to turn the tables on your interviewer and ask questions of your own. Make them count! Asking comprehensive, role-specific questions will ensure that you get a clearer understanding of what the job entails, and prove to a prospective employer that you’re serious. Garriott comments that “A lot of people go on interviews thinking that they have to impress these people to try to get the job and no matter what, don’t disrupt the apple cart. But at the same time, you want to figure out what you’re getting into. You want to go in with half a dozen good questions that you can try to get answers from that paint a picture of what the job is really like.”
Creatives are emotionally intelligent, sensitive individuals with a unique and valuable skill set. It’s important to remember that a job interview is as much a test of a potential fit with an organization or agency as it is about a person’s suitability for a position. Even if an interview doesn’t go as well as you’d hope, it’s still ultimately a learning experience.
About the Author: Sara Carter is the Co-Founder of Enlightened-Digital, an online technology publication. She writes about emerging themes in technology and business, and their potential to disrupt industries and change lives.
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