Students: How to Have a Great Graphic Design Job Interview

Students: How to Have a Great Graphic Design Job Interview

Our talented Creative Designer & 3D Visualiser, Amy, started an internship at P&W shortly after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in Graphic Design. In just a year, Amy has demonstrated such a flair for our highly complex and sophisticated 3D visualisation software (used to render hyper-realistic packaging and POS units) that, impressively, she’s now P&W’s resident 3D Visualiser!

Amy has written a very helpful blog for graphic design students looking to secure an interview for either an internship or job at a design agency (both prior or post-graduation).

“Coming out of university or college and going into work can be a very daunting prospect. The graphic design industry can be very different to anything you have experienced before, and I hope my top tips will help you feel more prepared for what design job interview might entail.

1. Getting to Interview Stage

- You need to be proactive at searching for companies that are in the sector you are most interested in. Linkedin is a great tool for this. Remember, not all companies will be advertising for roles, however there is no harm in contacting (worst case scenario they don’t get back to you or they just say “no”).

- When contacting companies, think of innovative and exciting ways to get in touch. Richard, one of our Senior Branding Consultants, once received a tea towel with a student’s project printed on which was specific to the company he was interviewing at! This made the student stand out and showed creativity which is a trait all design companies are looking for in new employees.

- The graphic design industry is highly competitive, so ensure you are constantly updating your portfolio, meaning it can be sent to companies ahead of your peers. Send over a PDF sample of your favourite projects and double check your spelling!

- Don’t panic if you do not receive a response right away, studios are very busy and will get back to you as soon as possible. If they don’t, then send a friendly reminder to see if they received your portfolio.

- Don’t take rejection personally. As designers, we can get attached to projects and presume that if you don’t get offered an interview it’s because our work is rubbish. Do not let this get you down, I imagine there are very few designers who get a job with the first company they make contact with, especially coming into the industry with very little experience.

2. Be Punctual

Don’t be late! Research where the building is and how long it takes to get there, then add on at least one hour in case you miss your train or your car breaks down. Being late to your interview is the last thing you want after getting to this stage.  

3. Dress the Part

How you present yourself is very important. As they say, you can only make one first impression. Dress how you expect the interviewer will be dressed, for example if they are a designer they are unlikely to be in a suit. However, if the company or job roll you’re applying for involves more client meetings then smart clothing will be more appropriate.

4. Do Your Research

It’s very easy to get tied up trying to perfect your portfolio, however also remember to look into the company you want the job at. Find out as much as you can, for example: the type of work they produce, their clients, the size of the company and where they are based. It is better to know too much than too little and get caught out with a question from them.

5. Passion and Drive

As a designer starting out in the industry, the company you are applying for will know you have limited experience. However, what they will be looking for is passion for the design industry and a drive to learn. Try to portray this in the way you talk about yourself and your previous work.

6. Ask Questions

Finding out about the company will help you think of useful questions of your own. If you ask questions it will, generally speaking, show that you have given more consideration than those who have not. Ensure these questions are relevant and will lead to dialogue with the interviewer.

7. Get in Touch After the Interview

Contact the company after the interview thanking them for their time and for any advice or guidance they may have given you regarding your portfolio. This will also serve to remind them who you are and hopefully increase the chances of you getting the job!

8. What to Bring

1. Note pad and pen

2. Your portfolio

3. CV- Just because they have seen it once doesn’t mean they don’t want to see it again. Take a couple of copies and ensure they are presentable

4. Further self promotion- Whether these are business cards or something more creative, finding a different way to promote yourself could help you standout from the crowd.

5. Physical work- Bring in a physical mock up of your work (e.g.packaging if this is appropriate). It’s always great to be able to hold and look at three dimensional pieces of work.

So, there you have it, some top tips from someone who is new to the industry and has been through the whole process! Remember to ensure your personality, passion and drive shines through in both your interview and portfolio.”

We hope you found Amy’s advice useful! If you think you’d be a good fit for our team, please email our Studio Manager, Amanda Quartey (studio@p-and-w.com).

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