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Graphic Design Job Interview Tips and Tricks -- Part I

tightrope-walkerKnowledge and Talent and Skills, Oh My!
Showing up to a job interview for a graphic design position is similar to tightrope walking; you have to be balanced if you want to finish successfully.

Talent is important, education from a graphic design school is important, and social skills are important.

However, interviewers also look for other essential qualities in prospective graphic designers that are key additions to the career training they receive from their design center, university or graphic design college.

In part one of this series we'll go over some of the actual questions hiring managers use and why they ask them during the screening process of  candidates for design job openings.

We'll also point out a few tips when going to your job interview to give you a leg up on the competition.

interviewer-and-job-applicantInterview the Interviewer
Many job candidates assume that a job interview is a one-way street---the human resources person asks questions and the job seeker answers. True, these are the mechanics of a typical job interview situation, but you should also be proactive in your approach during your session.

Ask questions during your interview to get a grasp of what the graphic design firm is really looking for because the job ad is sometimes only the tip of the iceberg.

Are they looking for someone with strong, specific types of skills such as animation or web design? Do they want someone that can work lots of overtime? How high is the turnover rate at the firm? (This may indicate how well the management treats their employees.)

The idea of asking questions opens up a portal to see what sort of a company you may be working for. Asking questions can place you in a positive light because you are being inquisitive and thoughtful.

Asking questions can also help put your interviewer at ease. Just make sure you don't go overboard with them.

Not Your Father's Interview Questions
The job interview has evolved to a great degree over the past several decades. Antiquated questions such as "What can you bring to the company?" and "Why should we hire you?" are queries that evoke stock answers from job candidates.

The interview process now takes into consideration a person's overall character, creativity, and problem solving skills. Here are some interesting "trick" questions you may hear from your interviewer.

superhero"If you could be any superhero (animal, cartoon character, etc.) who would you be and why?"

This type of question is asked to see how creative you are and how well you can come up with a solution to an unexpected problem or circumstance.

In this case "the problem" is dealing with a question that has nothing to do with your graphic design experience (At least we don't think so!) It tests your ability to adapt to unexpected change and how you deal with pressure.
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Hiring managers also ask this question to see if you have a good sense of humor---an important quality to have when deadlines change and are moved up.

sun-through-the-clouds"Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?"

Or to put it another way, your interviewer is asking what your thought processes and methodologies are when designing a graphic piece.

Some graphic designers are really just technicians; they assemble elements for a project, but fall short in utilizing the inspiration to create interesting graphic designs.

Your interviewer is probing to see if you keep up with the latest design trends, if you are proactive in seeking inspiration through your environment, other designers, and industry developments.

Next Time...
What sorts of technical questions can you expect from your interviewer? Which questions are the toughest to answer?

A successful job interview is like a well-written novel; it has a compelling beginning, a strong plot, and a good ending. Find out more about this in part two of Graphic Design Job Interview Tips and Tricks.

Until then, keep on designing!


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Graphic Design (AS)
  • Online and Bachelor's programs include B.S. in Advertising, B.S. in Web Design, B.A. in Interior Design, and more
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Master of Fine Arts: Graphic Design
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Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
  • Full Sail University offers online degree programs that are designed for the world of entertainment, media, arts, and technology. Full Sail's approach is centered on real-world industry experience and creative problem solving.
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Graphic Arts (AAS)

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Bachelor of Science, Animation & VFX
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