How to Nail Your Next Job Interview

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By far the most common thing folks finishing up the program want to know about are job interviews. In fact, there seems to be nothing that makes people more stressed out and nervous. What questions should I ask? How much should I talk about myself or my work? And most of all, what can I say to improve my chances of getting an offer?

With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick guide on interviewing techniques to help with exactly that.

#1. The Portfolio Review is Already Over

The real portfolio review happens before anyone ever talks to you. And they don’t give interviews to the people whose books didn’t make the grade.

So if you ever get called in for an interview, remember this: You’ve already passed the portfolio review. It’s done. It already happened. And good news. You passed.

So then why do they even do a portfolio review at all? Because they want to hear YOU talk about it. They want to hear that you’re insightful, articulate, curious, energetic, and can present your work cogently. The portfolio review is about you, not your portfolio.

“The portfolio review is about you, not your portfolio.”

#2. Be Yourself

Be myself? How? What does that even mean?

But think about it. Your interviewer has probably already interviewed hundreds of other people in their career. And they’ve seen it all. All the tricks. All the Machiavellian tactics and mind games. And frankly, none of them make the slightest bit of different. Because you’re either right for the job, or you aren’t.

So with that in mind, take a deep breath, relax, and just be yourself. After all, who else can you be? You will never convince your interviewer you’re someone you’re not. And even if you could, would you even want to?

And remember: they have already indicated they’re in the “you” business. They WANT “you”! And here’s more good news: you’re the world’s foremost expert in you. So just be yourself.

“Your interviewer has already indicated they’re in the “you” business. And good news: you’re the world’s foremost expert in you.”

#3. Know your work inside and out

Even though your interviewer has already reviewed (and approved of) your work, that doesn’t let you off the hook of having to come in and explain it. The way you talk about and defend your work says more about you than the work itself.

So for every single piece in your portfolio, be prepared to talk about key insights, the project workflow, and every single design decision in as minute detail as you can. You don’t (and shouldn’t) share every single detail with your interviewer, but having all this information locked and loaded and ready to go will show your interviewer you’re both articulate and insightful, two of the most important attributes for any designer.

“The way you talk about and defend your work says more about you than the work itself.”

#4. Do your homework

And last but not least, find out as much as you can about the company (and if possible, the person) you’re interviewing with. Ask questions about their prior work. Show you’re genuinely interested and excited about the prospect of working there.

At the end of the day, there are lots of people out there who can do the job. That’s why it’s so important to remember the job interview isn’t about the work so much as it’s about the person.

So the next time you have an interview coming up, be prepared to talk about the work, point out key insights, have things locked and loaded to say about each campaign and the process of how it came together, and ask thoughtful, honest questions about the company the work they do.

You may not get the job, but that might be for any number of reasons beyond your control. But what’s gonna happen is gonna happen. The chain of events has already been set in motion, and just about the only thing you can do is to go in there and see how it turns out.

In that context, seems kinda silly to be nervous, right?

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