The big mistake we all do during a design job interview.

Hello guys,
As a designer we learn how to promote our projects. We put a lot of effort in our portfolio, but sometime we face difficulties to promote ourself for a job or internship interview.
Too many junior fail at doing that following mistake during an interview, which is fortunately easy to solve.
To illustrate this, let me introduce my friend’s morning story

My friend Nico is the young owner of DABLEND, which is the friendliest Hostel in Ho Chi Minh to me ! And where Nico is now looking for an assistant.

This morning, his first interviewee just came, sit and said:

” I am interested in money. What income, increment, bonus do you have to offer” ?
 
In the first minute, the candidate won the world record of the “wtf (oops!) interview”. Nico knew he wouldn’t fit the role. Ohoh !!
Make sure to make your first impression right.
 
The interviewee was straight forward and didn’t want to waste his time. It is fine. Maybe he would had perform great in this role, we’ll never know. But the next candidate might easily convince better than him.
It is all ok to have high money expectation. However, he should have make sure first that providing a great service to Nico’s customers does matter to him. 

Don’t talk about what YOU want, but What you can bring to the company.

i love me

Many juniors do this mistake accidentally.
You might list the things YOU want. Such as I want to work for you because:
– I need experience.
– I want to learn from you.
– I want a first job experience.
– Or I heard you pay well and the benefits are huge here… 
– Or Because your company is the closest from my house… Hehe. (True story).
 

Even though all these could be true and sign of motivation, ask yourself: What do you have to give in exchange ? This is actually pretty tough when our resulme is empty, and we have not yet built confidence. The good news is that, you don’t have to be the best to be hired.

Let’s digg a bit more.


When the interviewee ask you Why you want to join them –
Understand: Why should I hire you ?
“Sit on your interlocutor’s chair” to understand HIS point of view,
so you will rise your chance to give him the “right answer”.
This is an inverse process to help you hook his interest on you. 
Don’t talk about what YOU want, but what YOU can bring to the COMPANY.
Of course, you can’t read in people’s mind. But let me give you a couple of tricks to rise your chance to get selected for your dream position even if you are not the best in the market.
Why ? Because you got other important elements to show.
 

A. How to become “THE ONE”. 

To overcome candidates who have better skills than you, don’t play the game of who has the most beautiful portfolio or “longest” resume.

If you think twice,
it actually doesn’t matter that much.

Instead, look for creating LINKS. It is like dating. It doesn’t matter if you are the richest, the funniest or the most beautiful candidate in town. You want to highlight a connection, something you have in common. So you both will feel irresistibly closer.

If you are the best at something and there is nothing much in common, you may end in the “friendzone”. ; )

 
What will make you special is how you can make your interviewer envision a great story happy together ! It is not only a question of super good skills, but to be the one who  best FIT the team.
You may be a designer and you love winter sports ? I believe it won’t be random decision to apply for Salomon.
 
You may be high sensitive to environment ? You may bring innovative ideas to the company toward your own expertise and / or vision for Phillip Starck. 
Try to explore these LINKS that are often related to values and personal interest on something beside Design itself.
That way, no one with greater skills could replace you. This is how your value will increase towards the company being THE MISSING PIECE OF THE PUZZLE. 🙂

B. Ask question. Be curious.

As you know we are not playing Mr or Miss Perfect, you should ask questions.
You will show interest and humility. You can’t possibly know everything about them. And that’s ok. They won’t see in you ignorance, but serious interest.

Once again, do not start with questions such as money, or number of days of holidays. But question that allows both of you to better project your role career and success there.

You are looking for a job you will be happy to perform with. Make sure both of you love the job first, then talk about the “details” later. If you can “bloom” in the company, the company will bloom as well. 

Did you notice something interesting in that sentence ? YOU also want to make sure the company is also the right fit for YOU. Ask question toward this direction such as the type of project they do, and how exciting they feel working on these projects and so on. Feel free to show your excitement. (No need to jump everytwhere hehe.)

In your questions, try do not add any doubts in your questions, such as What if I don’t like a project, or Do you have tight deadlines as I can’t work under pressure…

Instead, your questions should add double confirmation you are the right fit, adding many YES in both of you’s minds. Such as:
Can you tell me more about the variety of projects ?
What will be my role in the project ?
How can I help you in the creative process ?
Show you are passionate and volunteer. That the team can count on you.

The mindset you need to have is that YOU are the opportunity. And that your meeting is a Magic moment where both of you connect ! And that both parties should do their best to fusion and work together.

You target is to make both parties enthusiast at the end of the interview, that you guys can’t wait to meet up again and start !

 

These techniques are applicable if you apply for a company you feel passionate for. You don’t have to be perfect as long ad you are sincere and authentic. 🙂

 

Hope it helps !
And make sure to download the Designer Starter Kit to make your first steps in Design Sketching :).Cheers,

Chou-Tac
PS: I do have an article about your portfolio here:
How to Turn your portfolio into a marketing weapon
 
 

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About The Author

Chou-Tac

If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my career, I believe that they can also help you to learn, and help you with your projects. Whether Design is a job or a hobby it doesn’t matter, so long as you do what is important to you.

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