Whether you’re newly qualified or have years of experience, competing for your dream design job can often be challenging. For every job, there are potentially hundreds of candidates battling against you. If you’ve got the abilities and the best mindset, you are worthy of that job – so let us help you stand out with our top tips for acing the interview process. We worked with Careers in Design, specialists in recruiting for interior design jobs to put together these tips to help you prepare.
It might sound obvious, but showing up late to a job interview gives a bad impression, and excuses about late-running trains or traffic jams just will not impress anyone. Clear enough time in your schedule that you’ll be there in excellent time and without sweat pouring off you. The day before your interview, why not do a test run and time how long it takes you to get there, then add a little extra time for any unexpected delays. If you’re unable to do a test run, head to Google maps and see how long it predicts your journey will take using your chosen method of transport. While there, you can even bring up street view so you know EXACTLY where you’re going.
Do your research
This is the most important thing to do when preparing for an interior design job interview, but is all too frequently forgotten. If your reason is you ‘didn’t have time’ then you do not want the job enough and your potential company will know immediately. Take a close take a look at the company’s website and browse the press for stories about them. Make sure you’re fully prepared for the interviewers favourite question of “so, what do you know about the company?”.
Do not be modest
One of the most common errors in interviews is when a candidate soft-pedals their work. You need to be very vocal and confident about your work, your skills, and your accomplishments.
Dress to impress
How you show up and present yourself is essential. The best and safest way to do this is to look smart and professional. Choose clothes that feel the most comfortable, this will help you to feel more confident during your interview. As you’re a designer, adding a bit of personality to your outfit will help to show who you are and possibly start a conversation that will help you stick in the interviewers mind. From a fab piece of modern jewellery to some statement shoes, you can’t go wrong – just keep it tasteful and don’t overdo it!
Sell your skills properly
Companies are always searching for people who can offer something new to their business, but not at the expense of what they really want you to do. Dont’ focus on selling your additional abilities before you have actually reassured the interviewer that you’re capable of doing the particular job you’re talking about. Rather, save these extra abilities until later in the conversation as an excellent way to include value to business in future.
Remember your resumé and portfolio
Even if the company interviewing you has actually seen your resumé, do not presume that part of the application procedure is over. You might well be asked to talk through your resumé in the interview, so ensure you bring several copies with you (you might be interviewed by several people), and acquaint yourself with what you say you’ve done and what you’re able to do. You will likely be asked to talk through your portfolio, so the very same applies to that.
Preparing your resumé
Start with an objective declaration that captures who you are, and actually sell yourself. Name-check customers and brand names you’ve worked with in your design interview, and always note your work in reverse order, present job first. Do not say: “I work well separately, or in a group”– everybody does, it’s not a special ability.
Do not just have one resumé
Not every job advert is the same, and not every job requires the same skillset; so having a different cv to focus on different skills will help you to quickly apply for jobs as needed. If you have worked across several industries or in different areas of interior design, create a cv to focus on each. Potential employers don’t want to read through lots of irrelevant experience to find what they’re looking for.
Make a note of which cv you used for each application and bring the suitable one to the interview!
Preparing your portfolio
Print or digital?
The fact is, you need to have both a digital and a printed portfolio. The latter can be a fundamental mailer or pamphlet of your work. As far as an online portfolio goes, a bespoke website is always best– but that does not always mean coding from scratch. You can easily set up a free website using a platform such as WordPress which offers lots of great portfolio style themes. Never rely on Facebook pictures to display your work: it shouts ‘amateur’!
Show your best work
Make certain you have a lots great examples, but always have your best 3 or 4 in your mind so that you can with talk with confidence if time is brief. If you are newly qualified, you could always use examples from your studies or mock up some designs that you would create if you worked with some well known brands.
Empathise with your customer
The technique is to empathise with the customer at all times. If you were an art director in need of an illustration in a rush, would your portfolio or website provide a motivating and precise view of your talent within the very first couple of pages or clicks?
Quality, not amount
Although the quantity of work included in your portfolio will differ from person to person, that does not mean you ought to overfill it. The thing is, a portfolio is just a vehicle to flaunt your skills and mindset. Don’t pack it with lower quality fluff to make up the numbers.
Tailor your examples
This is an arguable point, with some illustration representatives encouraging versus customizing your portfolio to a specific job pitch or job application, and potential companies concurring– but customising is suggested.
The ‘no’ camp recommends they wish to see your ‘entire character’ through different designs and tasks. But if a subset of your work is completely unimportant, or perhaps bad by contrast, do you truly wish to be evaluated by it? If in doubt leave it out.
Showcase your character
Guarantee your character shines through in the interview and your portfolio. The best portfolios are expressions of the owner’s character, both as an imaginative designer and– similarly crucial– as a person with viewpoints, a perspective, a stand-point and a life beyond design.
The most reliable portfolios are those that take the audience on a journey– narrate, motivate, impress and innovate. These portfolios are unusual, naturally, but they remain in a place that the most enthusiastic needs to desire to reach.
Interior Designer Work Facts
Interior designers work to produce internal areas that are both aesthetically enticing and useful. Apart from a natural creative imagination, a diploma in interior decoration is common. You might wish to at first evaluate for experience, unless you are aiming to fill a junior function.
Many interviewers will enquire about your methods and address any concerns. Some may also provide a project where you need to show knowledge in particular areas (e.g. product choice).
When applying for an interior designing job, all you need to remember is be yourself. There are so many kinds of approaches and so many companies do their interviews differently, but being yourself and being confident about your skills is the only thing that will matter as it will always be effective. Trust us, we’ve been there.