Is this a normal job interview?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by marty1990, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. marty1990 macrumors 6502

    Nov 25, 2011
    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?
  2. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    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.
  3. Pardus macrumors member


    Aug 9, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    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.
  4. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    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.
  5. marty1990 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 25, 2011
    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.
  6. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    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!
  7. jpine macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2007
    +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.
  8. marty1990 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 25, 2011
    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?

  9. Caliber26 macrumors 68000


    Sep 25, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    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.
  10. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    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?
  11. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    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?
  12. sigmadog macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
    near Spokane, WA
    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.
  13. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    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.
  14. TomCat macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2000
    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?
  15. sweetchilliphil macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2010
    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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