Web Designer Position Interview

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Mal, Dec 28, 2006.

  1. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando
    #1
    Hey, I'm going in next Thursday for an interview for a Web Designer position out at UCF. Any suggestions on being prepared for it? Outside the normal interview stuff, of course, I know the basics of doing interviews, but anything that would be specifically related to a position like that?

    jW
     
  2. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    #2
    I brought my portfolio of commercial labels and artwork I created over the years to show that I had a creative side as well as a technical side.
     
  3. 4np macrumors 6502a

    4np

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #3
    As a web developer I find it very important a web designer has thorough knowledge of (x)html / css and has some basic understanding of javascript. he/she does not only design using dreamweaver for example but is also to edit the (x)html and css manually. Also, I expect a webdesigner to cut up all images and html into proper working templates for web developer to work with.... If this position requires you to work with web developer I would make sure you got these things covered ;)
     
  4. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #4
    Three questions you HAVE to ask:

    1. "Will I get a directory on the web server to hold all my porn?"
    2. "You won't be checking the police web sites for sex offender names, will you?"
    3. "I got this crack thing going. Will I get a private office?"
     
  5. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #5
    EXCELLENT advice.
    I always ask something like "What are YOU looking for?"
     
  6. Mal thread starter macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando
    #6
    I gave them some links, but didn't have any printed portfolio, especially since I'm not all that creative. I did make sure they knew that I know HTML quite well (I hand coded for several years before I got Dreamweaver). I dunno for sure, I didn't feel incredibly confident coming out, but I didn't feel like they were put off by me either. They're hiring two people, so I just have to be at least second best. ;)

    jW
     
  7. highres macrumors 6502a

    highres

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2005
    Location:
    Near the Singularity
    #7
    As an Art Director that has interviewed and been through the hiring process with quite a few of our designers, I look for these four things:

    1 - How does this person work under pressure in a group with other designers (aka does he/she have good communication skills) and are they somewhat cool under pressure. Advertising as a whole is all deadline based with lots of stress and pressure, especially around the 4th quarter and it's the ability to meet deadlines and deliver a quality product we look for most in new hires.

    2 - Chemistry is really important, will they fit in with the rest of the office personality wise. We have an open production area or "pit" where all the creative work get's done, sometimes it's like a wolf pack in there, so how our designers get along is critical. Especially since they practically have to live together during the busy season. Things can get ugly in there sometimes.

    3 - Does the applicant have basic designer skills with some examples of their work or a portfolio we can look at. If they have the basic skills (html, css, some photoshop and layout skill, copywriting or writing skills) we will teach them our production skills specific to our agency and our line of work.

    4 - Fourth and most important: Are they willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done and make delivery, even if that means staying late, working weekends during the busy season and even doing little things that may seem unrelated to your job category like making Fed Ex runs and picking up things from vendors. This last quality is hugely important to us and can make or break an interview. It's these types of things that help us as an agency make our deadlines with our clients.

    In our industry there is only ONE golden rule, you never blow a deadline, ever.

    The qualities I listed above are requirements many Art Directors look for, if asked what your strengths are mention some of the examples from above and I guarantee it will separate you from the rest of the herd. Good luck on your interview. Let us know how it went.
     
  8. radiantm3 macrumors 65816

    radiantm3

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #8
    So you went backwards? :cool:
     
  9. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #9
    That's not a good start for someone looking for a web designer position. Are you sure you shouldn't be looking for web programming positions? A web designer should know html, but design and creative skills are 100% necessary.
     
  10. benneh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    #10
    But sometimes the Art director would call the shots (and maybe highres could confirm this). I'm not a great talented designer myself, but I do have some ideas to know what looks 'okay/good' and whatnot. I'd then pitch this idea to the art director, who makes the final decisions by combining all our ideas together and reach an agreement.

    Usually my ideas consists of usability issues, cross browser compatibility and small ideas involving layouts. Art directors would be responsible for colours, logo designs, etc...

    Well I've only been in the industry for 1 year as a graduate, so I don't know much and trying to see what others are doing.

    As for the interview, what I find is try to show that you're workable. I'm not employer, but if I was to hire someone, it'd be someone I can work with. G'luck!
     
  11. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #11
    That depends how big of an agency it is really. As a web designer, your priority is still concepting, design and useability. Not coding. Art directors are not there to provide all the creativity, they are there to harness or corral that of the designer. It would be the job of a production artist to just sit there and pound out the instructions of someone else. (And their pay reflects it.)
     
  12. gelatin macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    #12
    i found this really helpful to read,i am still a student but it will be a big help in the future im sure
    thanks a lot :)
     
  13. highres macrumors 6502a

    highres

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2005
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    Near the Singularity
    #13
    As an Art Director we are NOT responsible for the actual creation of logos, picking color schemes, or even laying out the designs. I had to do years of this type of creative web and print design work (logo design, type and page layouts, image and retouching work, processing new photography, developing and presenting artwork or content to my Art Director, HTML page and content design, CSS and Java callouts), while fine tuning my chops and developing my portfolio to make my way up to Art Director.

    All the dynamic programming language work (PHP, SQL, Cold Fusion, server side call outs, et.) are handled by an IT Programmer who in turn hands some of his grunt work off to his web production artists.

    It's the Graphic Designers that will come up with several creative concepts based on my overall requirements and present them to me for overall review, proofing and QC and to make sure they are meeting the clients requirements and are on track. I am also in close contact with our Account Exec who is in turn in contact with the client or their Account Exec on a daily basis and helps with getting changes, revisions, meeting deadlines and gathering input or suggestions from the client.

    I unlike many other AD's will usually take the time and give specific input and hands on help to Graphic Artists on the creative work THEY have cooked up. It's still up to them to do the cooking and come up with something that is aesthetically pleasing, functional (HTML, CSS, Java technical work) and meets the clients requirements and is delivered in a timely fashion (i.e. I will say I need such and such layouts by this date), also bear in mind there are many small deadlines within the final client deadlines that designers have to be aware of, even if it means working nights and weekends to meet those internal deadlines).

    What I as an Art or Creative Director typically do when setting up a job or project is: Nail down the requirements of the job (i.e., size, overall themes or direction, deadlines and time requirements, put together the design teams or who is working together on what, etc. and act as a Production Manager to manage the production of the designers and production artists).

    I have a whole host of other rsponsibilities than this, just trying to give a a barebones version of the production process as relates to my agency and most typical agencies in my industry.

    The hierarchy in a medium to small agency usually goes something like this:

    CEO or Pres (If it is a big enough or high dollar account, they will want to be kept current and will decide which AE and AD get the project, if not the Account Executive working with the AD is the management team)

    Art Directors and Account Execs
    Print and Web Designers
    Production Artists
    Printers and Comp or Mockup Techs (used to be called "print devils" in the old days)
    Gophers (Packing and Shipping)

    Sorry for this extremely long and somewhat confusing post but I hope it sheds some light on the real word design and production process in the advertising and marketing industries.

    No problem, glad I could help. :)
     
  14. highres macrumors 6502a

    highres

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    Jul 1, 2005
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    #14
    Pretty well sums it up in most cases. Graphic Designers (hence the term "designer" do have all kinds of creative work they have to deliver and it's the AD that keeps them on track and within the clients requirements).

    Production Artists do specific tasks over and over again like: Image retouching, image and page prep, HTML bulk page production or coding, etc. and generally support the Graphic Designers.
     
  15. radiantm3 macrumors 65816

    radiantm3

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #15
    Knowing HTML and CSS is a critical part of being a web designer these days. Coding is a big deal. I don't think I could ever have gotten a job as a "web designer" without having the ability to build sites. And now more than ever, being well-versed with css and html is just as important as being able to design well and have a knack for usability. Markup semantics play a big role in usability and design and needs to be thought out during the creative process.
     
  16. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #16
    Sure, there are multiple requirements to being a web designer, and these are quite basic. But, design comes first.
     
  17. Mal thread starter macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando
    #17
    I'm waiting on a response, but it seems to me as I think back and having read all these posts that the creativity (or lack thereof) isn't a huge deal, as I wouldn't be responsible for the actual concept designs, merely implementing designs that the Graphic Designers came up with. The knowledge of HTML and particularly CSS seemed to be a definite plus, as the current Web Designer (who's position I would be replacing, partially) seemed pleased that my latest designs were entirely CSS and vanilla HTML. Biggest strike against me may have been that I don't have experience working with a team in that type of situation, but I tried to let them know that I've worked with groups of different types plus I've always had lots of input from others on the websites I've done.

    Fingers are crossed, now lets hope it works out!

    jW
     
  18. highres macrumors 6502a

    highres

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2005
    Location:
    Near the Singularity
    #18
    The position you are applying for is a Web Production Artist not Web Graphic Designer which is fine and how most of us had to start. It allows you to get really good at specific parts of the production process and also helps your speed in cranking those individual parts out.

    As I listed above how you work in a team dynamic under pressure and whether you have good communication skills are two of THE most looked at qualifications for design work, print or web.

    Hope you get the position, let is know how it turns out. If you don't get it just move on to the next one, there are tons of Web Production Artist jobs out there.
     
  19. Mal thread starter macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando
    #19
    Well, got the email. They said I had "considerable strengths", but they went with two applicants who had more experience. I'm still somewhat pleased, but is that a very good indication, or merely being nice to the loser?

    jW
     
  20. highres macrumors 6502a

    highres

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2005
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    Near the Singularity
    #20
    Actually that is very positive, it means that your technical qualifications were up to snuff and that you just need to garner a little more experience, the fact that it came down to you and two other applicants out of what is probably a thick stack of resumes is also positive.

    As long as you are positive, show a willingness to jump in, and emphasize your communication and teamwork skills in your next interview (since you can't depend on a long job history that shows lots of experience) someone will give you a break and allow you to get your foot in the door.

    What where a couple of the interview questions they asked you? If you don't mind me asking.
     

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