The art of organic conversation: Unlocking success in design interviews
Let’s talk about interviews. At Gabriele, we pride ourselves on the care we give to our candidates. Being small (but mighty) means we can offer a level of attention that most recruiters cannot.
Before sending any candidate out into the wild, we always prepare and reassure by sharing any industry knowledge that may be useful to know in interviews.
There are a few questions that we always ask in these initial meetings. Some are to gauge skill level and experience, but most are to get to know who the candidate is and their reasons for wanting the role they are applying for.
One thing that’s always on our radar, is making sure the candidate is confident and comfortable enough to strike up organic conversation. The art of threading key information into the conversation, so both candidate and client leave the interview feeling connected and understood – like they’ve just met a new friend.
A winning design interview isn’t just about successfully answering the questions thrown at you, you should also aim to build genuine connections by sharing your values, personal experiences, and interests; allowing the hiring manager to visualise how you’ll fit into their team.
In the creative design industry, soft skills are just as important as technical. Building a team that can cohesively collaborate and innovate is the key to an agency’s success (and the hiring manager’s main MO.) And very often, that has more to do with emotional capability and compatibility than experience.
Approach your interviews with a single intention. To be more human.
If you can, try to shift your perception of the meeting from “interview” to simply “getting to know”. This will leave more room for meandering conversation where true personalities can be shown and valuable insights can be gained.
As a candidate, you will still get your suitability for the role across, but it will be a more natural way that allows the hiring managers to see more benefits than just your skill.
Drive to succeed, and a great rapport can very often supersede experience.
It isn’t always the most experienced person who gets the job, sometimes it’s the candidate who shared enough of their personality to demonstrate that they could fit perfectly into the company culture. Or the one who told a memorable anecdote or showed impressive levels of motivation to learn and succeed.
Getting information across in a fluid way is a skill we advise all of our potential candidates to practice. Here are the five areas you’ll want to cover:
1. Self-learning and personal growth
The creative industry is constantly evolving, and agencies will want to know how you remain informed and knowledgeable about the latest developments; and how committed you are to stay up-to-date.
Casually dropping in a titbit about the latest industry news story or a new development in your industry saves the interviewer from asking you how you stay up to date on new trends and developments in your field, and the resources you rely on for professional growth. It also breaks the ice and provides more room for organic conversation.
2. Your inspirations and interests
It’s important to always be painting a story about who you are. Provide your interviewers with a juicy back story, or an entertaining bit that makes you memorable and sheds light on what inspired you to pursue your current career path.
Whether it’s a childhood hobby that sparked your interest or a life-changing experience that led you to your current path, candidly share your passions and what you enjoy most about your career.
Not only will it show that you can make rational, strategic decisions, but it will help the interviewers understand you better and give you a memorable edge.
3. Long-term career goals, and how you plan to achieve them.
Help hiring managers understand your ambition, drive, and commitment to your career by dropping in information about your long-term career plans.
We all value individuals who are proactive in their career development and have a clear plan for their future., If you have a side hustle or you’re pursuing further education, don’t be shy to talk about it. You won’t be penalised for having ambition and how the agency reacts to your interests will offer a clear indication to whether the role is for you.
4. Career Challenges
Within your sporadic conversation, answer the questions interviewers will want to ask but may not know how to.
Reassure your interviewers that you are aware of where you fall short, but that you’re working towards improvement.
Potential employers will want to know how you handle challenges and adversity in the workplace. So help them to understand your problem-solving skills, your resilience, and your ability to adapt to change.
Whether it’s a difficult project, a challenging client, or a tight deadline, go into detail about how you have overcome obstacles in the past and what you have learned from those experiences.
5. Your skills or experiences and how have you developed them?
Whether it’s technical skills, such as proficiency in design software, or soft skills, such as communication and collaboration, share how you’ve honed your abilities, how they have contributed to your success but most importantly – how they can contribute to the success of your potential new employer. Arrive prepared with a few examples of how you can improve the business.
In summary, when applying for a role in a creative agency, you should expect to be asked questions that explore your motivations, goals, challenges, skills, and commitment to professional growth. By pre-empting these questions and answering them thoughtfully and honestly, you can demonstrate your value as a creative professional but also show that you are a good fit for the agency’s culture and ethos.