One Great Interview Can Change Your Life
Tips to make your interview epic
What you say and do on an interview is what leads to a second interview or job offer. We’re going to share with you the tips we give our graduating students. Since the school has a near perfect graduate placement rate we know these tips work. This advice has helped thousands of our graduates get placed in creative jobs all over the world.
If you’re interviewing at a large agency, design firm or brand, your first interview will be with the creative manager or creative recruiter. This person acts as a gate keeper. A recruiter’s job is to look for art directors, designers and copywriters who have an outstanding portfolio of creative projects, passion and personality that fits the culture of the agency. If they feel you are a good fit for the company you will be invited to a second interview to meet with a creative director who is looking for creative talent for his/her group.
If you are interviewing at a smaller company you will meet with the creative director or owner of the company. If the interview goes well you will be invited to meet other creatives in the company. They want to get to know you to see if you are a good match for the company. At the same time, they want you to see if the culture of the agency feels right for you.
Before You Interview, Do Your Homework.
Learn as much as you can about the agency where you will interview.
1. Spend a lot of time on their website and reading articles about the company.
2. Learn about the company’s specialty. Do they focus on digital advertising? Social media? Design? Fashion?
3. Be able to discuss some of your favorite work the company has created.
4. Research the person you will interview with and key staff. Review their LinkedIn profiles and on-line portfolios.
Miami Ad School graduates have to be ready for a dozen interviews in a single day. The school holds multiple Portfolio Reviews - interview days for graduates. It is common for 50 companies to come to meet with the graduates. Before the interview we provide the graduates with a list of the companies who will be attending so they can do their research. They never know which interview will lead to their dream job.
“The marathon portfolio review was an excellent test against two-years of work in school. I was able to have an open dialogue with recruiters. Discussing my projects and aspirations was both affirming and inspiring.”
— Danner Washburn, Graduate Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center
At the last portfolio review in New York company presidents, principles, top creative directors, and recruiters all came to see our graduates' work. It is a competitive world out there and being in it means having a portfolio that demonstrates your skills.
Here’s a look into our last Portfolio Review in New York. Reviews are a chance to meet recruiters, gather information about agencies, design firms, network for jobs, and even meet alumni who are now creative leaders in the industry.
Five things to do in your interview.
They are simple tips that will make a big difference.
1. Relax, be yourself and be positive.
2. Listen closely to the interviewer's questions.
3. Be aware of your posture, eye contact and body language.
4. Have a one page resume, both digital and paper (creative directors and recruiters love to carry something tangible back to the agency with them).
5. Have your portfolio ready with a story developed for each project.
What questions will the interviewer ask you?
The most common question that recruiters and creative directors ask is:
“Will you please walk me through your favorite project in your portfolio?”
A creative and innovative portfolio is the PhD of the creative world.
Your portfolio needs to demonstrate you have mastered the skills needed to build a brand: strategic thinking, innovation, concepting and craft.
Check this link to see the GRADUATE PORTFOLIOS
“Finding talent that truly understands the ins and outs of the industry is tough. I loved seeing such a wide range of exceptional creativity growing out of one place. — Michael Phelan, Director of Strategy, DMA United
Grads often ask us “What should I say?"
It’s natural to get nervous and not know what to talk about during your interview.
Let’s start with what not to say. Don't ask about a job. Do talk about creativity — yours. Talk about your innovative work. Where you think your ideas might lead. Talk about where no one in the agency, design firm or consultancy has thought about going. Talk about your inspiration. Remember — creativity is your silver bullet.
“Portfolio Review was a beautiful day. Good Vibes, surrounded with talent."
—Domingo Angelini, Graduate, Miami Ad School New York
One Last Important Thing
After your interview quickly send a follow-up Thank You. Be sure to spell the recipient's name correctly and make the note personal. The note shouldn’t be a generic note you send to everyone you interview with. In your note reference advice the reviewer gave you or comment on something discussed in the interview. An email sent as soon as you get home is perfect or a hand-written note mailed the same or next day. Be sure to include your phone number. If you had a great portfolio and follow this interview advice you are sure to get a call back!
Interested in developing the skills, portfolio and network for a creative career? Learn How to Apply.