With graduation nearing, BSC Graphic Design & Communications Club members will soon be applying for jobs in the community.
Nicole Perreault, Graphics Supervisor at Basin Electric [a.k.a. my boss], recently talked to the club on this subject, sharing her “do’s and don’ts” of interviews, seen below.
CLEAN UP YOUR FACEBOOK/SOCIAL MEDIA
Employer’s don’t want to see photo’s of you doing a keg stand or playing beer pong; no matter if the photo was from this weekend, or 5 years ago – delete it. Your potential employer wants someone professional, reliable and responsible both at work and at home, so leave a good impression on all accounts.
RESEARCH THE COMPANY BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
You don’t need to know all of the company’s history and analytics, but know the basis of what they do and what they are reputable for. Researching the company shows that you are truly interested in not only the job opening, but also in their company as a whole.
DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY OTHERS APPLYING
Great jobs bring in great applicants, including you. Don’t be intimidated if your peers are applying for the same job, use it as motivation to try your hardest, stand out from the crowd and get the position.
Show friends, family, peers or professors your resume, cover letter and portfolio. This is the interviewer’s first impression of you, so have others review it beforehand so that first impression can be a great one.
PORTFOLIO: QUALITY VS. QUANTITY
Don’t settle for mediocre when you are choosing pieces for your portfolio. Employers would rather see 8 great pieces then 12 pieces where 8 of them are fantastic, and the other 4 fall short. Sharing weaker projects not only showcase your weaknesses and imperfections, but also make the employer question your abilities as a whole.
MAKE YOUR PORTFOLIO STAND OUT
Dare to be different. Include a variety of projects that fit to what the employer is looking for, and more. Digital portfolios are a great way to gain a web presence while having something the employer can come back to look at later on.
PRACTICE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Think ahead on common interview questions and practice how you will answer them. You don’t need to have a script, but being prepared for tough questions can ease nerves and smooth the interview along. Along with this, expect to have some questions thrown at you that you won’t expect. It’s okay to breathe, think, and even ask for a moment to ponder their question so that you can answer it in a way that best represents you.
This seems like an obvious one, but it is something people frequently miss. While your attire will vary based off of the prospective company’s atmosphere, it is a rule of thumb that it is better to over-dress then under-dress.
Don’t come an hour early as it will put pressure on the employer, but arrive 15 minutes early to gather your thoughts, prepare and to avoid being rushed.
WHILE YOU ARE WAITING…
Arriving early means that you have time to kill before the interview. Instead of scrolling through your phone, decide on one or two things you want to be remembered by. By making a note of what you want the employer to leave the interviewer realizing, you can focus on this and make it something that you tie into your interview. Along with this, make sure to stay calm, breathe, focus on your posture, stop rehearsing how you think the interview will go, and overall just think happy thoughts.
REMEMBER BODY LANGUAGE
When meeting with the interviewer, make sure to use eye contact, smile, nod to show interest, and actively listen. This will not only show that you are interested in what they are saying and make you more relatable, but will allow you to better understand what is being discussed so that you can find an appropriate response.
Confidence is killer when it comes to interviews. Employer’s want confident candidates to represent their company; when showing your work, sit tall and be proud of what you have accomplished, and elaborate on how you did it.
Bring a pen and any notes that you had already taken. During the interview, write down key things you want to remember, or questions that may pop up. This will reinforce your active listening skills and will help so that you don’t forget any key information.
HAVE QUESTIONS TO ASK
Asking questions is a great way to show employer’s your interest in not only the job opening, but also the company as a whole.
Some questions you may ask are:
- What have you enjoyed most about working here?
- Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
- Do you offer continued education and professional training?
- Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
- What qualities did you like in the person who previously held this position?
- How do you measure success for this position?
- Do you have a business card? (provides you with their contact info)
THANK YOU CARD or EMAIL
Following up with a thank you will remind the employer of who you are and also shows your interest in the position.
Employer’s are busy. Hiring processes can take time and patience; by calling to follow up on the status of the position, you can reinforce your interest in the job and discover what point they are at in the hiring process.
You won’t get every job you apply for, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. Each interview and application process is practice; the more you do, the better the interview candidate you will become. Learn from the mistakes you made, call the employer for feedback on where you fell short, and look at the current candidate to see what aspects they excelled in and how you can improve so that you are the first choice in the next job opening.