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Old Oct 26, 2012, 10:15 AM   #1
marty1990
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Is this a normal job interview?

So, I went for a job interview for a graphics job, after they'd seen my portfolio etc. Because there'd been a few applicants, before we could progress to the 'actual interview', we were told we had to take part in a 'skills test'. The test was to redesign all the graphics of a website... in 45mins. Now I hardly did anything, and am not happy with what I did, but is this normal practice in the graphics industry?
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 10:40 AM   #2
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So, I went for a job interview for a graphics job, after they'd seen my portfolio etc. Because there'd been a few applicants, before we could progress to the 'actual interview', we were told we had to take part in a 'skills test'. The test was to redesign all the graphics of a website... in 45mins. Now I hardly did anything, and am not happy with what I did, but is this normal practice in the graphics industry?
I wouldn't say it's normal, but it's not horribly uncommon either. I can see doing something like that just to get a feel for a candidate's general aesthetics, software proficiency, etc. It's 45 minutes so you're only expected to do so much.

I've heard of candidates having to do extensive "skills tests" doing full redesigns of things and that I find a bit questionable.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 10:59 AM   #3
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I am doing a skills test for sure on my next hire. I think under an hour is fine, portfolios can be very deceiving, getting a sampling of someones capabilities and what they are able to produce on their own would be a huge asset and I think really set candidates apart. I will do the exact same task for each applicant, and will be a generic piece. I wouldn't ever propose someone do actual client work or anything useable and that would be unethical.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 11:00 AM   #4
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I've been on a number of hiring committees that have required skills tests. It's so easy to paint oneself as competent in a resume, and while portfolios give a better understanding of aesthetics, a skills test helps to reveal an applicants process and technical ability. I find tests like this quite valuable in finding the best candidate for a job.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 11:10 AM   #5
marty1990
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Ah crap. I completely messed up then, what I did wasn't anywhere near the standard what of what I am capable of achieving, cuz I was so conscious of the time, hardly got anything done. Crap. Not a good start.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 11:46 AM   #6
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Ah crap. I completely messed up then, what I did wasn't anywhere near the standard what of what I am capable of achieving, cuz I was so conscious of the time, hardly got anything done. Crap. Not a good start.
These kinds of tests aren't meant to create finished work, but are intended to reveal more your process. For instance, if we asked someone to create an ad, and they spent most of their time developing a good concept, that would be (IMO) a better result than someone who finished composing a design that lacked a good concept.

It's kind of hard to pinpoint what makes for a good test result and what doesn't. But one thing you look for is consistency between resume, portfolio and test. If someone claims to have years of design experience and a good portfolio, but performs amateurishly in the test, then that raises red flags.

So it may be premature to believe that you failed. And remember that like design itself, interviewing is a learned skill. You're probably going to have to fall a few times before you learn how to fly.

Best of luck though!
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 01:11 PM   #7
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Ah crap. I completely messed up then, what I did wasn't anywhere near the standard what of what I am capable of achieving, cuz I was so conscious of the time, hardly got anything done. Crap. Not a good start.
+1 on the job interview experience. If you don't get the job, look back on it as a valuable job interview experience which will go to prepare you for your next interview. I personally, given the 45 minute time limit, would rather have an interviewee perform task #1 well and the others left untouched than have all tasks performed poorly.
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 04:02 PM   #8
marty1990
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Just had an email back, got through to the next stage!

However, am nervous now, because they've asked me to present a short 10min presentation before I have the actual face-to-face interview, and the presentation is on... "Have you heard about...".

And am a bit stumped as to what that means, whether I just choose something of my own choice, something related to the field or what?!

Any ideas?

Thanks!
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 04:15 PM   #9
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Glad to hear you made it to the next round. Best of luck!!

I'm not sure what to make out of the new assignment, but hopefully someone else will give you good insight.
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 04:33 PM   #10
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The interview process is pretty interesting so far. Previously you were tested on your process, technical skill and time mgmt. Now it appears they want to see your marketeer/salesmanship. How well do you perform in front of the client?
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 05:00 PM   #11
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... I have the actual face-to-face interview, and the presentation is on... "Have you heard about...".

And am a bit stumped as to what that means, whether I just choose something of my own choice, something related to the field or what?!

Any ideas?
Wow. What an interesting interview. One of the questions we'll often ask in an interview is, "what interesting developments or trends do you see in the area of 'X'?" This presentation sounds like an extended version of that.

They want to know how much you're interested in this field. Anybody with a passion for it will know about burgeoning technologies, design trends, etc. This is what they want you to display: an understanding of your field, where it is going, and how you're going to help take them there.

Do you have any idea of what development or trend you might want to talk about?
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 07:23 PM   #12
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They want to know how much you're interested in this field. Anybody with a passion for it will know about burgeoning technologies, design trends, etc. This is what they want you to display: an understanding of your field, where it is going, and how you're going to help take them there.
Or (just playing Devil's Advocate, here) they want well-rounded individuals with broad areas of knowledge, which is why they gave you such an open-ended theme: They want to know what kind of person you are, what you are excited about, and if you will be a good fit with their firm.

One of the things that makes creative teams interesting are all the varied interests that mesh together to solve a problem. Perhaps this is a chance for you to wow them with your passion for square dancing?

I could be wrong, however.
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 08:11 PM   #13
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One of the things that makes creative teams interesting are all the varied interests that mesh together to solve a problem. Perhaps this is a chance for you to wow them with your passion for square dancing?
I'm not going to disagree. But you'd need to go beyond just saying, "I like square dancing!" and show why/how your love of square dancing translates into you being the right choice for the job.

It would be a creative approach to take, but ultimately it needs to reflect skills and talents you'll bring to the workplace. If you can figure out a way to do that, then more power to you.
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 09:26 PM   #14
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...is this normal practice in the graphics industry?
As long as they did not ask you to disrobe, it seems legit.

Not that common; not unheard of. I once faced a barrage of 100 prepared technical questions in an interview from a team of four guys. Sort of like an oral test. Or a presidential debate. Took about that long, too.

What I would now question is what does this say about the person who would be managing you; does this portend good things, or does it portend micromanagement?
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 12:33 AM   #15
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Not really, but not unseen either. When I got interviewed for a position as a Motion Graphic Designer, I got asked to pump out a heap of simple motion graphics in AE in an hour. The manager simply said he wanted to see how fast I was and how well I knew my way around the software. Needless to say, I got the job, but studio's are all about time management and so forth. The faster you can produce decent quality, the better. I would be more inclined to hire someone with very good knowledge who could work quickly and produce high quality work, as opposed to a slower person who produced high quality work. Time, especially in this industry, is money.

So, to anyone else who see's this, ensure you're prepared for things like this. I've seen it before, and it doesn't hurt to be prepared. It's not done everywhere, but it is done.
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