Interview Lightning Round

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by SwiftLives, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    Dec 7, 2001
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #1
    I get to interview candidates for a graphic design position tomorrow. While the thought of placing a wager with the other interviewer to see who can get the candidate to break first is appealing, I think I'm going to play it straight. :D

    I have most of my questions ready, but I want to end with a "lightning round" to get an overview of the candidates' basic knowledge of some of the general aspects of print design such as print quality, typography, and color.

    I thought I'd share the questions I have so far. Feel free to suggest some others or try these out. It never hurts to rack your brain a little bit in the design world.

    1) What does RGB stand for? What does CMYK stand for? And no...K is not Black
    2) What is the difference between kerning and leading?
    3) What are orphans and widows?
    4) What color is sunlight? What color is fluorescent light?
    5) What is an appropriate resolution for a non-vector graphic in print? On the web?


    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  2. shecky Guest

    shecky

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #2
    not sure how useful this would really be in finding a candidate, but it would be fun for the interviewer.

    - what is trapping?
    - what is the ideal measure size of a paragraph in characters?
    - name complimentary color pairs
    - name analogous color combinations
    - what is kerning? (looking for an answer that refers to letter pairs as opposed to general letter spacing = tracking)
    - how many graphic designers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? (answer: does it have to be a lightbulb?)
    - when should you track out letters?
    - as point size increases, leading ___________
    - what is the difference between lining and oldstyle numerals?
     
  3. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    #3
    Throw some keyboard shortcuts in there for the common applications.
     
  4. SwiftLives thread starter macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #4
    Speaking from my personal experience, keyboard shortcuts are something I can do, but not really recite - probably because I don't look at the keyboard anymore when I use them. I once took a written test on Photoshop commands and did really really badly on it.

    That doesn't mean that I won't inflict this pain upon the candidate.

    As for shecky's post, I admit I learned a few things. I do like those questions.

    I do want to keep my lightning round short, since the real questions are a bit more involved and in-depth. And I only have 30 minutes and want to make sure they get some time to give me the dog and pony show with their portfolios. I may still use some of these questions. They'd give me an idea of how much training will be involved.
     
  5. anim8or macrumors 65816

    anim8or

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    Scotland, UK
    #5
    What are your real questions...... :):eek:

    Just to see how i would answer them... if i could!

    Also, is white a colour i thought it was a tint?
     
  6. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #6
    Such an approach so has the potential to blow up in your face, when towards the end of the interview, the candidate has the opportunity to ask you some questions. Just a thought. ;)
     
  7. polar-blair macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    #7
    1) What does RGB stand for? What does CMYK stand for?

    RGB - Red, Green, Blue
    CMYK - Cyan, Yellow, Blue and Key

    2) What is the difference between kerning and leading?

    Leading - In text the space between the lines of text (above and below)
    Kerning - The space between the letters left and right.

    3) What are orphans and widows?

    Orphans and Widows is the term used for when determining the minimum about of lines of text in a paragraph before the text is broken to the next page.

    4) What color is sunlight? What color is fluorescent light?

    Sunlight is made up from every colour, which in turn produces a bright white.

    fluorescent light - I think is made from Red Green and Blue.

    5) What is an appropriate resolution for a non-vector graphic in print? On the web?

    Print 300 dpi
    Web 72dpi

    Well how did I do? Can I get the Job? :D
     
  8. covisio macrumors 6502

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    Aug 22, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    This question needs rewording. For print, a non-vector graphic could be required at high resolution if it is a linework bitmap. In this case it needs to be at least 1200dpi or higher.
    Continuous tone images (such as photographs), typically need to be 300dpi or above depending on the process.
    Web can be any old s**t ;)

    BTW, aiming to trip up or 'crack' your interviewees is totally counterproductive.
     
  9. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    #10
    Shecky, if 4 is wrong (ignoring the flourescent tube bit) then I think the question needs clarifying as it is technically by scientific terms correct for sunlight - its a combination of the spectrum (for simple terms - purple through to red) and the visible ones cause a 'white' light.

    Now if you're on about its kelvin rating then is that not a colour temperature rather than a just a colour? it would be 4500K for daylight iirc (working from lightbulb rating anyways)
     
  10. polar-blair macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    #11
    Owwww :(

    I guessed the florescent thing was wrong I havnt a clue, Then what does the K stand for in CMYK, if it isnt for black, the only thing I could think of is what they used to use in printing and the black layer was called the key layer, it had all the detail and stuff.

    I thought I might give the questions a bash as I have just started graphic design at college, guess I have a lot to learn :eek:

    I presume I got the sunlight thing right, and it was just the fluorescent part that was wrong, I just was stabbing in the dark there

    EDIT - Yeah I got confused by the resolution Q. I said 300dpi, cause I would use that as a minimum res for printing but I really depends on what your doing.

    I dont like those Questions, and putting folk on the spot like that will make them even more nervous than they already would be.
     
  11. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    Norfolk, UK
    #12
    cmyk = cyan, magenta, yellow and black, you know the colours used in most printers ;) :rolleyes:
     
  12. Abraxsis macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

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    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #13
    As for the color of sunlight how do you define it? Morning, Noon, Dusk, Cloudy, etc? The "color" (after atmospheric filtering) changes throughout the day, or are you talking temp? Which again, changes throughout the day.

    As for fluorescents, aren't most standard run-of-the-mill tubes a greenish color? I know I correct for the slight green cast when photoging. But again, it depends on the tube. Are you talking daylight tubes, white tubes, warm tubes, color evaluation tubes, etc. All of which cast a different light and K temp.


     
  13. Abraxsis macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

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    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #14
    polar you had Key right, you said Yellow instead of Magenta.


    To the OP, I would also ask the following ...

    1. what is the difference between rich black and comp black
    2. what is the most typical color "recipe" for rich black

    you would be surprised the number of people out there who think that black is black across the board.



     
  14. jecapaga macrumors 601

    jecapaga

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    Jul 1, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #15
    I think your idea of a lightning round of design/printing/typography questions is lame to say the least. If you don't have a basic understanding of the ability and quality of a person's work and through interviewing them in a normal process I would question the abilities of the interviewer.

    I think it says more about the company/environment and the interviewer. This shouldn't be Jeopardy or a game show. Why can't you ask these questions within the context of the interview? Making it a competition (i.e. lightning round) is completely antagonizing and an overall negative environment you're creating.

    To the OP, how many interviews have you conducted previously and how old are you.
     
  15. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    Location:
    Bath, United Kingdom
    #16
    To the OP.

    This may be a game to you but I doubt it is for the person/s you are interviewing.

    A job interview is not a joke. And why would you want to
    ?
    :rolleyes:
    Puerile to say the least.

    Sometimes I really lose faith in humanity.
     
  16. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #17
    Put them on a machine with a brief for a single-page design, such as a newspaper magazine display ad. Put half-a-dozen pictures or clip art of varying appropriateness in a folder on the desktop, give them the copy pre-keyed in a box to the side of the pasteboard in InDesign/Quark. Tell them they have 30 minutes and the main logo needs to be done in a package other than the DTP app. Tell them you don't expect them to finish.

    Do this before you interview them! You will very quickly learn who has lied on their CV (you can't blag it in InDesign if all you've ever done is lay out your running club's newsletter in Word) and you should have no qualms about refusing to interview them at all.

    Don't stand over them, but either leave them in the company of another staff member who you can trust to report on their skill level, or drop in every 7-10 minutes to keep a eye on them.

    Get them to save the work when they're done and have a look at your leisure later. You'll quickly see bad trapping, poor kerning, or if they've done the logo in Photoshop, all of which should tell you far more than if they go blank on a quickfire Q&A session.

    Edit to add: I've only experienced something like the OP described once. Two people sat across a room from me and held up a piece of card with a blue square on it. "Tell us which PANTONE colour this is," they said, followed by a a sheet of paper with some text in about 36 point. "Which font is this?" they asked.

    I decided right there that I wouldn't accept a job with them even if they offered one to me.

    Cheers!

    Jim
     
  17. SwiftLives thread starter macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    Dec 7, 2001
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #18
    Wow. Um...wow.

    arkitect -- I was actually successful in getting all of the candidates to "break." I swear, until now, the only time I've seen a 32-year-old man cry has been at a funeral. I could actually see the sweat rings form as I asked him the questions. It was great. I even had one other candidate get really quiet until she put her head down on the desk. Even I'll admit, that one was kind of sad. Still, I got about $50 from my wager.

    jecapaga -- I like your idea of Jeopardy! I'm going to make a Jeopardy board with bunches of graphic design categories and questions. The interviewee will have to pick his own questions and wager his salary. I think that's the best idea I've seen yet.

    Just to put some of you cynics at ease, the "lightning round" didn't actually happen, as I was pressed for time and these questions were sprinkled throughout the interviews. And after immediately meeting the candidates, I really felt the "lightning round" wasn't even needed. But I do appreciate the feedback about the questions. I appreciate the feedback about how I planned to conduct the interview a little less. But I do appreciate it.

    And as much as I try, I'm just not evil enough to make people sweat in interviews like that.
     
  18. jecapaga macrumors 601

    jecapaga

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    Jul 1, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #19

    To the OP: Thanks for responding. While your response to arkitect was a little disconcerting I thought your response to me and your overall response was good.

    Like you said, you really were able to sprinkle in your questions throughout the interview which makes much more sense rather than a lightning round, do it or lose it type feel. Were you successful at finding a great candidate? If you were I'd ask you how soon into the interview did you feel this? For me personally, I've been able to pick the last 5 hires based on the initial 5 minutes of the interview. The work speaks to me, their answers are solid and from there everything is possible, even if they don't know what K is in the CMYK spectrum. I could give a crap about that really.

    Fortunately or not I've had to interview probably a hundred people over 10 years and from them probably a couple thousand resumes/portfolios that never got to me because they didn't satisfy whatever the basics were. In my experience, the interview is totally stressful, obviously, on the interviewee. But I'm able to see their work, analyze their process and decision making and ask MANY of the questions you originally wanted in your lightning round. Sounds like you did the same thing naturally.

    One major difference that I didn't account for in my original response was this for an entry level design position, senior, etc? Anyway, thanks for your response so far.
     
  19. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816

    ChicoWeb

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #20
    Great post. It's all in their work, and work ethic. Like you said, I can tell in 5 minutes weather or not their design skills will fit with us. When it comes to the technicalities of the job, I could care less. Anyone can visit google and find out with the 'Y' means. Reminds me of the days of school, when we we couldn't use calculators! I never have to divide fractions in my head!

    I myself never took a design or web class, my main designer never graduated college, and my web developer dropped out of highschool. :D
     
  20. SwiftLives thread starter macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    #21
    Irony

    So, we made an offer...

    ...to the one person I didn't interview. :)

    (I'm actually okay with this).
     

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