For example, saying that you want to eventually leave to work with bigger brands and hopefully gain larger recognition might sound like a good goal to strive for, but saying as much could hurt your chances of getting the job. Of course you want to showcase your best accomplishments as a designer, as well as the positive qualities that you can bring to the workplace. Frame your strengths in a way that they are relevant to your potential employer. Whenever possible, try to tailor your responses so that they match closely with what the company is looking for.
Employers love it when employees take an interest in their company or brand, especially in the case of designers.
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Do your homework before the interview and try to come prepared with some idea of what the company is all about. Demonstrating that you share the same values as the brand helps you to look like the best candidate for the job. Let the interviewer know that you tried to find information about the company, but were unable to.
When the interviewer is done telling you about their company, reiterate your interest in the position based on your new knowledge of the company, and give some examples of why you fit in with their overall identity.
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Employers want to work with designers who are already good at what they do, but they also want designers who will continue to improve with time instead of stagnating. Have you learned new software over the past few years? Do you spend time reading design books, blogs and forums? These are all great things to mention.
You might even want to pepper in some future ideas in your responses. Like always, if you can tailor your responses to fit the particular job at hand, it will better your chances of becoming employed. This simple question usually comes with a lot of follow-up questions about how you created each piece, how long it took, what your design goals were and so on. The interviewer may or may not actually ask these follow-up questions, so be ready to give them the answers anyway.
01. Pursue formal study
Remember to start and end your portfolio with your best pieces. Pad out the rest of the portfolio with three to five other pieces that you think best represent you as a designer.
For designers just coming out of school, keep in mind that a professional portfolio is a little different than a school portfolio, and what works for one may not be great to include in the other. With a professional portfolio, you want to show that your skills are marketable and appealing. This also rings true for any design job, not just print—employers want to know how comfortable you are working in different mediums. So they want to see what you already know to gauge how much further you still need to go. If you can manage it, bring examples of your past print work for the employer to see.
Check out our tips for designing a unique print design portfolio for more information. For example, do some research on print design before the interview so you can at least say that you understand the basic concepts and limitations of working in the medium. Questions like this tell the employer two things—not only how you handle pressure, but what constitutes a stressful situation in your book. Be ready to answer this with an anecdote or example from your life that shows you know how to keep cool under pressure.
Stories about deadlines, editorial mandates or last-minute changes are good to include, because these are the kind of stresses that will naturally occur in the design field. If you have accolades, awards, academic achievements or other lofty accomplishments in your past, then this question is likely going to be easy for you to answer. However, many people may have difficulties answering this question for a number of different reasons.
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Remember why employers ask this question in the first place—they want to work with people who have ambition, because ambitious people tend to put in the work to accomplish their goals. Employers also want to understand what inspires you; what do you consider an accomplishment in the first place? Tell a story about how you achieved this accomplishment and what obstacles you had to overcome to do so.
Also, be sure to let the interviewer know why this accomplishment means so much to you. This way, no matter what your achievement might be, the interviewer knows more about what motivates you and how you utilize that motivation to get stuff done. Everybody has their own opinion on what makes a good designer, and your opinion on the subject can give potential employers some insight on how you operate.
Come prepared with a few unique attributes to set yourself apart from the rest of those being considered for the job. Interviewers can see right through that act. When you try to cover up your weaknesses, it demonstrates to the interviewer that, well, you try to hide your weaknesses instead of fixing them. Once again, you should back up your claims. Suppose your biggest weakness is that you have difficulty managing your time.
Employers are looking for designers who can not only deliver results, but do so in a timely manner. Failing to meet your deadlines can cost your employer money or make them lose face to their customers, clients and business associates. If sticking to your deadlines is something that you have a hard time with, then you need to at least show the interviewer that you respect deadlines and that you do whatever it takes to get your job done.
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Did you ask for an extension ahead of time? Did you bring in another designer to help you with the work? This way, you can answer the question positively and truthfully while also giving the employer some insight as to how you work best. Time is money, and the more time you take on a project, the more money it will cost your employers in the long run. However, this can be a problematic question to answer, because you also need to look out for your own interests. Many designers make the mistake of underselling how long it actually takes them to finish a project, which can create a whole heap of problems down the road.
However, that can also be a dangerous game to play, because it may make you look less attractive than other candidates who can work faster than you.
If it takes you longer than others to get a job done, then you need to be able to show why that extra time makes for a better final product. Break down your workflow into blocks of time so they know exactly how you work and what you use your time for. This way, if your estimation seems too high, the employer has more information to go on and it just might help your chances.
For example, if you spend a lot of your work time coming up with ideas, it might not be an issue at your new job if some of those ideas will be provided for you by a creative director.
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Plus, you may find that the employer has no idea how long the project should take and are legitimately asking you because they need to know what to expect. They may be just trying to figure out how to work you into their workflow based on their own timetable. Employers love to hear you talk about their company and the work that they do just as much as you like to hear people say nice things about your design work. Are you the type of person who naturally ends up leading the team? Are you happy to just play whatever role is necessary on the team to get the job done? Are you the type of person who can always be counted on to put in the extra work to do last-minute tasks that pop up?
These are the type of things that employers want to know. If you work best alone, find some other way that you can contribute to the team. It can be frustrating to work in a creative field and have outside factors hinder your creative expressions. However, the interviewer might try to throw in different follow-up questions or add modifiers to test how you work when treated unfairly or when given bad criticism.
Make sure the employer knows that you are open to critique and willing to listen. You should always come prepared with questions to ask at the end of the interview. Not only does this make you seem engaged and show your interest in the position, but it also gives you a chance to make sure this job is the right fit for you.
Stick to about three to five questions if at all possible. We want to hear about your graphic design job interview experiences. With his team of designers and experts, he helps customers put forth the best possible impression with high-quality collateral. What a great, thoughtful post. This is an excellent write up on what to expect in an interview. If you are a graphic designer and you hand out a business card, I really hope that it is your own design! Can you please tell me how can i increase my salary? I am currently working as a lighting technician and I taught myself graphic design Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign just to name a few way back Right now, I am in a stage where I know that I am ready to jump to another career, which is Graphic design, entry level at least.
My problem is, most companies are looking for a portfolio. I never had any chance to work for someone as a professional designer because of my regular day job. This is becoming more common and local schools seem to support it.