Great Interview Hints and Tips for Creative Students

December 20, 2019 - Shelagh McLachlan

We have just been doing some mock interviews with the HND Visual Communications Students. It was lovely to meet them all and really interesting to hear about their learning experiences and hopes for the future.

The interviewers noticed that students were making the same basic mistakes which are letting them down when we score their application! So here are some hints and tips from a marketing employer’s perspective, that I hope will help any creative student perform better at their interview.

Don’t just tell us about your career history! Instead, address the specific job description in a structured way – giving us an example to demonstrate your skills and experience. We will be matching your skills and experience with all the essential criteria on the personnel specification and job description.

Do keep your answers concise. Keep sentences short. Make your points clearly. Don’t waffle on and on.

Do check your application/CV for spelling, grammar, spacing and typos – ask someone else to read it. Most of the jobs in our team require attention to detail, so if we spot careless mistakes it’s not going to make a good first impression!

Don’t have gaps in your career / education – make sure your timeline is seamless.

Don’t forget to tell us the name of your certificate/diploma – it is important we know the highest qualification you have achieved.

For Graphic Design students – make sure you are as comfortable using the Adobe Suite as you are with a pencil. It is an essential tool of the trade and there are lots of great tutorials online to enhance your learning. Also we would encourage you to spend more time presenting your portfolio properly; show your work in context and try to show a good variety of commercial work, even if the briefs are made up.

Do think how you can make yourself stand out from the other applicants. Everyone else who applies will have similar or better qualifications than you, everyone says they are a team player, a hard worker and reliable – so what makes you unique? – Why should we hire you? Why are you ideal for this job? Why do you deserve this opportunity? Would you hire you based on your application form? Practice a 1 minute “Elevator Pitch” that sums you up and lets us know what you can bring to our team.

Before an interview, make a list of all the questions you think you could be asked. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes – if you were hiring, what skills and personal qualities would you be looking for? Make sure these are in your answers and you can give examples to demonstrate your skills. Practice your answers.

Many of our questions will be competency based questions. In other words you need to give us evidence that you can do this job. For this you need some great examples to illustrate your answer. It might help to remember this acronym – STAR – this will give structure to your answers:

E.G. Can you give us an example of design work you have done that has been really effective in meeting the client’s brief?

Situation – set the scene. (At college we were given a brief to design a poster)

Task – what was the task or problem you had to solve? (To get people to stop dropping litter)

Action – what did you do to help? (I came up with an effective design and slogan – give details – show your work)

Result – what was the result? (I got an “A” pass, my poster won a competition and the client used my work. The feedback was terrific and the litter problem improved.)

Good luck everyone in your forthcoming job interviews.

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