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kitki83
Feb 12, 2008, 09:58 PM
Hello,

I just had my interview and basically it was all about hypothetical questions on the position I applied (graphic designer for a bank). Now the thing was I talked about my past work experience (my jobs during college). Never did I get to show my portfolio, nor a leave behind, or show samples pieces. It was just 2 hours on what I do and what will I do given the scenario. At the end I was gonna get the "well call you" for follow up interview to see the portfolio.

Do people have interviews where the portfolio was not shown or not the important thing during the interview. If you had this, do you think its because there is a lack of knowledge on how design works?

Just want to get some knowledge on interviewing for designers since I been out of the loop for a while.

Thank you.



MechaSpanky
Feb 13, 2008, 02:55 AM
I have had that happen too. What makes me mad is when I go to an interview and the company wastes so much time talking about irrelevant things and then they only give me 10 minutes to present my portfolio.

A good portfolio will catch their attention but it won't always get you the job. I addition to a good well rounded portfolio, I think the presentation of your portfolio is what really seals the deal. If they don't allow you to present it, I think it makes it more difficult to get your foot in the door.

I think most human resource people ask for your portfolio on CD or DVD so they can look at it at their leisure. Many of them don't even know what they are looking at but they still ask for one (once an interviewer asked me "what is a table tent"). What kind of job are you applying for (print designer, web designer, art director)? Sometimes depending on the job, they don't ask for a portfolio.

I hope that you do hear back from them and you get the job. Good luck!

kitki83
Feb 13, 2008, 01:41 PM
Funny thing I had a leave behind and she did not want it. This title is for a Senior Graphic Designer for a Bank. I get the feeling its nothing different from Graphic Designer just hype it up. Since we only talked about my past employment and didn't get to my current job role, she gave the well call for a follow up interview. Everyone told me for a 2 hour interview she must of liked what I was talking about.

Wee Beastie
Feb 13, 2008, 02:32 PM
...A good portfolio will catch their attention but it won't always get you the job. I addition to a good well rounded portfolio, I think the presentation of your portfolio is what really seals the deal. If they don't allow you to present it, I think it makes it more difficult to get your foot in the door.

I think most human resource people ask for your portfolio on CD or DVD so they can look at it at their leisure. Many of them don't even know what they are looking at but they still ask for one (once an interviewer asked me "what is a table tent"). What kind of job are you applying for (print designer, web designer, art director)? Sometimes depending on the job, they don't ask for a portfolio.
...

Hell, I didn't know what a table tent was until I got a job where I had to occasionally design them...:p

Any thoughts on what makes a great portfolio presentation? I think this fits with the OPs question.

bluetooth
Feb 13, 2008, 03:39 PM
Not uncommon.

Sounds like you were being screened by HR. A lot of larger companies will have HR do the initial interview for screening and if they see potential in the person they will pass the feedback onto the hiring manager who will then setup a second interview where they will talk more about the position and your design skills or competencies etc.

If you are applying for a senior level position, don't be surprised if you have 2-3 interviews, not uncommon in this day and age.

If it went 2 hours, then sounds like they liked you so you should be getting that second interview.

LeviG
Feb 13, 2008, 04:37 PM
Another thing to consider is also (and I've seen this) that the company is after 'ideas' which they can then get their current staff to work with.

An example (product design): what do you see the future trends/colours/materials being in the next few years.

Its a very cheap and clever way to get lots of ideas without paying a think tank.

Jim Campbell
Feb 13, 2008, 04:57 PM
Funny thing I had a leave behind and she did not want it. This title is for a Senior Graphic Designer for a Bank. I get the feeling its nothing different from Graphic Designer just hype it up. Since we only talked about my past employment and didn't get to my current job role, she gave the well call for a follow up interview. Everyone told me for a 2 hour interview she must of liked what I was talking about.

Forgive me, but one of the most important things for a designer is typography, and I don't understand how one can approach typography without a sound understanding of punctuation and grammar, an understanding of how text just works ...

"I get the feeling it's nothing different from Graphic Designer -some kind of punctuation required here- just hype it up. Since we only talked about my past employment and didn't get to my current job role -job or role, one is redundant-, she gave -"me"?- the we'll call for a follow up interview. Everyone told me - "that"? - for a 2 hour interview she must have liked what I was talking about."

You have to live and breathe this stuff. Seriously. It's not an optional extra. If you have a laid back approach to punctuation and grammar in forum postings, but are more rigorous in real life, then fair enough. If not, then you really, really need to work at it.

Cheers

Jim

ChicoWeb
Feb 13, 2008, 05:13 PM
Forgive me, but one of the most important things for a designer is typography, and I don't understand how one can approach typography without a sound understanding of punctuation and grammar, an understanding of how text just works ...

"I get the feeling it's nothing different from Graphic Designer -some kind of punctuation required here- just hype it up. Since we only talked about my past employment and didn't get to my current job role -job or role, one is redundant-, she gave -"me"?- the we'll call for a follow up interview. Everyone told me - "that"? - for a 2 hour interview she must have liked what I was talking about."

You have to live and breathe this stuff. Seriously. It's not an optional extra. If you have a laid back approach to punctuation and grammar in forum postings, but are more rigorous in real life, then fair enough. If not, then you really, really need to work at it.

Cheers

Jim

This is quite the critique. Do you write copy for a living?

I have a bad time with spell checking, grammar, etc, but I just hate doing it. I'm not sure how that effects my graphic art ability, but interesting observation.

stainlessliquid
Feb 13, 2008, 05:15 PM
Forgive me, but one of the most important things for a designer is typography, and I don't understand how one can approach typography without a sound understanding of punctuation and grammar, an understanding of how text just works ...

"I get the feeling it's nothing different from Graphic Designer -some kind of punctuation required here- just hype it up. Since we only talked about my past employment and didn't get to my current job role -job or role, one is redundant-, she gave -"me"?- the we'll call for a follow up interview. Everyone told me - "that"? - for a 2 hour interview she must have liked what I was talking about."

You have to live and breathe this stuff. Seriously. It's not an optional extra. If you have a laid back approach to punctuation and grammar in forum postings, but are more rigorous in real life, then fair enough. If not, then you really, really need to work at it.

Cheers

Jim

I dont think you what what typography is if you think its about grammar. The 2 things couldnt be further apart. Stale, boring, and uninspired typography will have perfect punctuation, actually scratch that, it wouldnt be called typography, it would be called regular text. Typography is an art form thats meant to be creative by using text in a bizarre and unusual way, which means breaking the rules of grammar and punctuation. Look up typography on google images, its a punctuation nightmare.

ezekielrage_99
Feb 13, 2008, 05:36 PM
If they don't ask to see your portfolio and sample they are not looking for a creative person they are looking for someone to "assemble" templates (BORING).

Or there's the other POV, one of my best friends from University was offered a job with a very large international computer company as the Lead Branding Director. He lasted one month there before they fired him, they gave him no input or reason to what he was doing right of wrong, they just got rid of him.

After a bit of research he found that this company has hired branding people for product identity for a month, he discovered they have done this for the last 9 years. His conclusion was that all they needed was a cheap think tank for ideas to get them through to following year.... One year on and this company has advertised for another Lead Branding Person.

The reality is most organisations don't take the "branding and design" thing seriously, instead they do it as cheaply as possible and don't want to listen to the designer.

In my experience the best companies that I've worked for have done 3 things:
- Portfolio
- Education/Experience background
- And had a quick chat with me about what I could bring the company, career goals and general interests

17th Hole
Feb 13, 2008, 07:16 PM
First, I am a Creative Director at a financial company (not a bank, but pretty close) and have interviewed and hired graphic designers in the past. Sounds like you may have been pre-screened by HR, although our HR typically does it by phone. Once they narrow it down to 3-5 candidates, they send me the resumes and let me choose any I would want to interview. Alot of the stuff we do is fairly "dry" financial stuff (annual reports, quarterly performance reports, etc.) that is mostly text, numbers and graphs. Since they don't take a whole lot of creativity to produce, we mostly look for candidates who know the software inside out and upside down, and can work fast and accurately. The second most important thing is personality. If you have a good attitude and can work well with others, you have a much better chance of landing the job. So, on that basis, a portfolio isn't necessarily high on the list, although I like to see one usually just out of curiosity. Hopefully, you'll get a call back and get to meet with the Art or Creative Director at which time you can show off your portfolio. I remember when I first interviewed with my company for a Copywriter position. It was alot of "what would you do in this situation" kind of questions. I think if you have a "can-do" attitude and the wilingness to do whatever they tell you how they tell you, you have a good chance of getting the job. With banks, speed is usually more important than creativity since chances are the stuff you'll be designing is time- and market-sensitive.

Of course, I could be totally wrong...but that's just what it sounds like.

Also, I tend to agree Jim Campbell regarding using proper grammar. Granted, this is "just a forum posting" and writing structure is more relaxed, but you really should try to practice using proper grammar and spelling all the time, particularly in the career you've chosen. It's good for you and it helps communicate better with/to others.

On the same note, I agree with stainlesssquid that typography is a whole different thing...but let's not get off-topic.

bluetooth
Feb 13, 2008, 07:33 PM
First, I am a Creative Director at a financial company (not a bank, but pretty close) and have interviewed and hired graphic designers in the past. Sounds like you may have been pre-screened by HR, although our HR typically does it by phone. Once they narrow it down to 3-5 candidates, they send me the resumes and let me choose any I would want to interview. Alot of the stuff we do is fairly "dry" financial stuff (annual reports, quarterly performance reports, etc.) that is mostly text, numbers and graphs. Since they don't take a whole lot of creativity to produce, we mostly look for candidates who know the software inside out and upside down, and can work fast and accurately. The second most important thing is personality. If you have a good attitude and can work well with others, you have a much better chance of landing the job. So, on that basis, a portfolio isn't necessarily high on the list, although I like to see one usually just out of curiosity. Hopefully, you'll get a call back and get to meet with the Art or Creative Director at which time you can show off your portfolio. I remember when I first interviewed with my company for a Copywriter position. It was alot of "what would you do in this situation" kind of questions. I think if you have a "can-do" attitude and the wilingness to do whatever they tell you how they tell you, you have a good chance of getting the job. With banks, speed is usually more important than creativity since chances are the stuff you'll be designing is time- and market-sensitive.

Of course, I could be totally wrong...but that's just what it sounds like.

Also, I tend to agree Jim Campbell regarding using proper grammar. Granted, this is "just a forum posting" and writing structure is more relaxed, but you really should try to practice using proper grammar and spelling all the time, particularly in the career you've chosen. It's good for you and it helps communicate better with/to others.

On the same note, I agree with stainlesssquid that typography is a whole different thing...but let's not get off-topic.

I agree. If you are a freelancer working from a home office, personality is bottom of the list and your work or portfolio will speak for itself and more times then not, land you the job or contracts.

If you are working inside a company, personality, ambition, leadership and being a team player etc. etc. are all key. You will be working closely and communicating with these people daily. No one wants to hire someone who is inarticulate, difficult to get a long with or comes off as cocky, smug or being full of themselves - no matter how_good_their portfolio is. I have been able to sit on some interviews in the past and I was amazed when some people would walk in and dictate the terms and hours for the position (ie. I don't and won't work any weekends and can't stay past 5pm etc.).

Also, never bring up salary until a formal offer is presented or at least in serious discussion. Asking "So, how much?" as your first question when an employer just finishes describing the position or business is extremely tacky. (Not that you did or would do this, I am just rambling).

I think employers look for a balance of competence, experience and technical skill. Most companies will not give your portfolio a second thought if they do not like your personality or feel you are someone who "fits" in with the people already working there.

17th Hole
Feb 13, 2008, 08:21 PM
I agree. If you are a freelancer working from a home office, personality is bottom of the list and your work or portfolio will speak for itself and more times then not, land you the job or contracts.

I wouldn't discount personality too quickly with freelancing. While your portfolio will probably get you in the door, your personality and work ethic will keep the client coming back. Having that "cash cow" client that keeps sending you a steady flow of work is the best way to build and maintain a freelance business. Having a good personality will also get you referrals. So be careful when you say personality is at the bottom. But...again we may be drifitng off topic.

bluetooth
Feb 13, 2008, 09:22 PM
I wouldn't discount personality too quickly with freelancing. While your portfolio will probably get you in the door, your personality and work ethic will keep the client coming back. Having that "cash cow" client that keeps sending you a steady flow of work is the best way to build and maintain a freelance business. Having a good personality will also get you referrals. So be careful when you say personality is at the bottom. But...again we may be drifitng off topic.

Good point. Perhaps I should have worded it a little differently. Personality may not play as much af a factor due to the two parties not communicating daily or as closely, ie. communicating from remote locations via phone/fax/email, but of course it is always important in terms of retaining clients and overall impression.

Jim Campbell
Feb 14, 2008, 09:29 AM
I dont think you what what typography is if you think its about grammar. The 2 things couldnt be further apart. Stale, boring, and uninspired typography will have perfect punctuation, actually scratch that, it wouldnt be called typography, it would be called regular text. Typography is an art form thats meant to be creative by using text in a bizarre and unusual way, which means breaking the rules of grammar and punctuation. Look up typography on google images, its a punctuation nightmare.

Did you miss the part where I said that good typography starts from an understanding of how text works?

It doesn't mean you have to slavishly follow the rules, but you do have to understand the rules in order to break them meaningfully, in just the same way that Picasso understood and was perfectly capable of drawing accurate human anatomy, but used that knowledge to push beyond mere representational art to create the distinctive works for which he is famous.

If you want to leave out an apostrophe, for example, because it screws up the line of your type and doesn't compromise readability, I have no issue with that. If you leave out an apostrophe because you don't know any better and it does alter the meaning of the text, then you have a problem.

Cheers

Jim

Blue Velvet
Feb 14, 2008, 09:38 AM
Just want to get some knowledge on interviewing for designers since I been out of the loop for a while.


I too will be probably looking for work soon; I'll let you know how that unfolds in regards to interviews etc. Still in the planning stages, but I've got to create an entirely new portfolio from scratch too much old work in there now and draft a new CV; something which should have more than a few hours spent on it.

AlexisV
Feb 14, 2008, 09:44 AM
I just had my interview and basically it was all about hypothetical questions on the position I applied (graphic designer for a bank). Now the thing was I talked about my past work experience (my jobs during college). Never did I get to show my portfolio, nor a leave behind, or show samples pieces. It was just 2 hours on what I do and what will I do given the scenario. At the end I was gonna get the "well call you" for follow up interview to see the portfolio.

Do people have interviews where the portfolio was not shown or not the important thing during the interview. If you had this, do you think its because there is a lack of knowledge on how design works?

Just want to get some knowledge on interviewing for designers since I been out of the loop for a while.

Sounds back to front to me. I've never been at an interview where I didn't show my portfolio. In fact I would be unwilling to work there if they couldn't be bothered to look at it.

Every interview I've had followed the same formula - informal chat, you show and talk through your portfolio, more informal chat. How you come across and how your work is determines whether you get on to the shortlist or not.

Which is why your interview sounds back to front. If they are planning on eliminating some people on their personality and whether they can answer some questions then they're just going to prevent themselves giving the job to a number of possibly brilliant creative talents.

nfocus design
Feb 14, 2008, 12:01 PM
I've had comapnies request samples of my work be emailed to them and then they interview based on the samples.

I did have one company that had me sit down at a station and do a computer test on various software applications to see if I knew how to use the software. It was very easy stuff though.

I never thought about companies interviewing just to get ideas like LeviG said.

I did have a freelance project where I met with this guy to discuss designing his logo. He said he wanted me to work up several logo designs for him to show his wife, so they could decide if they wanted to spend the money for me to do the logo. I told him I wouldn't do any work until he hired me to design his logo and paid his deposit for me to begin. He was just looking to get something for nothing.

iGav
Feb 14, 2008, 12:46 PM
This title is for a Senior Graphic Designer for a Bank. I get the feeling its nothing different from Graphic Designer just hype it up.

No 10k difference then?

kitki83
Feb 17, 2008, 02:40 AM
No 10k difference then?

The salary is middle tier from what I read online.

Thank you everyone for your feedback and advice but now to answer some questions and comments.

My grammar is at a disadvantage, I have always had grammatical issues, basically dyslexia. I never really received special help during school because I was not disadvantage enough (don't ask broke down school system). I try my best to write clearly but its a struggle I will have to deal with in my life. My goal is to get a blog running to help me work on my writing skills.

Forums I am bit relax about grammar but anything of formality I have several people proof read my documents.

Now to return on the topic of my interview, I do not believe I qualified since I did not get call back this week. To me it was a learning experience of not everything is ideal. Now I have another interview at a web agency and need to get my stuff together. Wish me luck because I am still print designer trying to transition to web.

My past experience is at corporate companies but compared to the bank, the pieces I saw where power point templates, extremely boring. I feel this job is financially rewarding but growth-wise it is extremely stagnant.

Once again thank you all for the help,
RM

Jim Campbell
Feb 17, 2008, 01:58 PM
My grammar is at a disadvantage, I have always had grammatical issues, basically dyslexia. I never really received special help during school because I was not disadvantage enough (don't ask broke down school system). I try my best to write clearly but its a struggle I will have to deal with in my life.

Then you have my genuine sympathies and best wishes for your efforts to deal with your dyslexia. A very good friend of mine is severely dyslexic and has worked incredibly hard to get where is today.

Since he's now admissions tutor at his chosen university and a PhD in Psychology, I think it's fair to say that you can get quite a long way!

Cheers

Jim

bluetooth
Feb 17, 2008, 04:25 PM
Another thing to consider is also (and I've seen this) that the company is after 'ideas' which they can then get their current staff to work with.

An example (product design): what do you see the future trends/colours/materials being in the next few years.

Its a very cheap and clever way to get lots of ideas without paying a think tank.

Interesting point - but one would also think that if your ideas were good enough to steal, then why wouldn't the company want you working for them on a regular basis? Nonetheless, I am not denying your point, just thinking to myself.

LeviG
Feb 17, 2008, 06:15 PM
Interesting point - but one would also think that if your ideas were good enough to steal, then why wouldn't the company want you working for them on a regular basis? Nonetheless, I am not denying your point, just thinking to myself.

simple cost and the fact that newly trained designers often have more skill sets than the current staff, for example old staff still use pen and paper with dedicated cad staff, new person can do pen and ink and do the cad work meaning less staff needed and as such the old ones stick together so to speak.

Z.Beeblebrox
Feb 19, 2008, 09:32 AM
When I interviewed for my current position I had to undergo three rounds of interviews. The company had me meet with three different people within the office who all asked different things and no one asked to see the portfolio. They read my resume and viewed my website portfolio before they ever called me, so it's fair to say they didn't need to see it again. I brought it along anyways, and when they didn't ask, I offered to show it and they said, "Ok".

My resume and website spoke for itself, the interviews were simply a way of seeing how I interacted with various people in the firm, how I could handle a wide variety of challenges and how I could take their company forward. They were more curious about budget skills, production knowledge and time management. That was what was most important to them, so that's what they focused on. They wouldn't have called me in if they didn't like my portfolio.