Graphic Design Portfolio

Interview Questions

By CRAIG KUNCE

Print the list of questions to use during your mock interview

Anecdotes

The best interview answers are anecdotes. Memorize 5 to start… they will take you far! Most can be about the job you are applying for, but some can be about your personal life.

Helpful Answers

Practice these answers often and add your own personal anecdotes to make your answers memorable and different from other candidates.

  1. So, tell me about yourself... Provide information about you that shows you are qualified for the job:
    • I have just graduated from the two-year Graphic Design program at Western. I am a talented designer and illustrator who is proficient with the Mac and with industry standard software programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and GoLive. I am excited to start my career and look forward to the opportunity this position offers.
    • Education (AAS Degree): Industry-quality projects
    • Software knowledge
      Photoshop, Illustrator, QuarkXPress, InDesign, GoLive… and how to use them together
    • Industry related work experience:
      Do you work in the field now? Tell them about it. Freelance work?
    • Skills from previous jobs, (soft skills, critical thinking skills) Communication skills, customer service skills, problem solving skills, ability to meet deadlines, ability to manage a project from start to finish with little or no supervision, forward-thinking, courteous, honest, hard-working, dependable, creative, resourceful, able to think critically in stressful situations, able to multitask when needed, efficient, reliable, trustworthy, punctual, professional, excellent managerial skills, ability to work with several different personalities at the same time.
    • Use this information, in a summary, at the end of the interview too.
  2. Why do you want to work for our company?
    • Base your answer on the research you did. What interested you in the company?
    • What do you like about the company?
    • State that the company’s open position matches your career goals and aspirations.
    • Reiterate your interest in working for them in this job.
  3. If you are hired, how long will you stay with us?
    • I have been waiting for a position like this ever since I started school, I plan to work here as long as I can.
    • I am looking for a long-term position with your company
    • As long as I can continue to contribute to the growth of your company
    • As long as it is a mutually satisfying relationship
  4. What are your three most important assets?
    • I am dependable
    • Creative and energetic
    • I take pride in the fact that the work I create is always done to the best of my ability.
  5. What have you done in the past that qualifies you for this job?
    • Education
    • Design and illustration knowledge and experience
    • Software knowledge
    • Experience working on real, industry-quality, projects
    • Work experience
    • Teamwork at your job
    • Being dependable, handling responsibility
    • Other related experience
  6. Describe your most difficult design project. What did you learn from the experience?
    • To grow and expand my knowledge as a graphic designer
    • To learn more about the company’s industry, including your products, marketing, and customers
  7. Provide an example of when you have been criticized or reprimanded, and explain how you handled it.
    • I was told I was not following directions on a certain project. I explained to my boss how I was trained to do the task and I asked if my was correct. As it turns out, I was trained incorrectly by a previous employee and that is why I was doing things incorrectly. I asked my boss to show me the correct procedure and continued to use that method going forward.
  8. In five short statements, tell me why I should hire you.
    • I take great pride in my work
    • I am a talented and creative graphic artist
    • I have the skills, abilities and qualifications to succeed in this job
    • I am a dependable, energetic, and devoted employee
    • I really want this job and an excited to start working for you!
  9. What tasks do you NOT want to do if we hire you?
    • I am open to learning all tasks that will help me excel as a graphic artist
  10. We are really looking for an exceptional employee, not just someone who wants a paycheck—do you have any reservations or second thoughts about your ability to do this job?
    • No. I am excited with the opportunity this job offers and I am confident that I have the skills, talents, and qualifications to do this job.
  11. In what three areas do you feel you need the most improvement?
    • I have difficulty working with people who show they do not care about their job.
    • I have difficulty working with people who don't pull their weight.
    • I have high standards for my work and I expect others to have high standards too.
    • I'm learning to speak up and request that others contribute more completely long before I start getting angry about a situation that is unequal.
  12. How would you respond to your supervisor telling you that you really haven’t been doing a good job?
    • I would ask my boss for more details as to which areas I wasn’t performing to their expectations in. I would then discuss a plan and provide a timeline for me to fix the problems. I would also follow up with my boss in two weeks to make sure that they are comfortable with the changes I made.
  13. Are you an honest person? If yes, provide a past example that demonstrates you are an honest person.
    • I am an honest person. The best example I can provide is that I live an honest life each day. I am a person who does not cut corners in order to profit in the short-term from inferior quality or a poorly completed job. I consider myself a person of integrity who completes each job to the best of my ability.
  14. We all know that people don’t always get along with each other, tell me, what types of people do you have the most difficulty dealing with?
    • As stated before, I am frustrated with people who do not care about the quality of their work
    • Other than dishonest people, I have found that I get along well with all types of people.
    • I feel that a variety of people and a variety of opinions always helps to solve problems and to come up with ideas.
  15. If I were to offer you this job right now, what would your answer be?
    • IF YOU HAVE THOROUGHLY DISCUSSED THE JOB IN THE INTERVIEW, AND YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE THAT YOU HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION…
    • I accept! When can I start?
    • IF YOU HAVE NOT DISCUSSED THE DETAILS OF THE JOB, TELL THEM THAT YOU ARE VERY INTERESTED IN THE POSITION AND WOULD LIKE TO LEARN A LITTLE MORE ABOUT IT BEFORE YOU MAKE A DECISION.
  16. Describe how you have used your time-management skills to successfully complete design projects?
    • Explain what you are doing…
    • Cold-calling, informational interviews, researching area companies, making sure your skills are up-to-date, reading more about the industry, networking with other artists, etc…
  17. How are you currently keeping up-to-date in your field?
    • Freelance work for area businesses
    • I read several industry publications, MacWorld, STEP, Print, Communication Arts, Step-by-Step graphics, etc.
    • I attended a Mac tradeshow specifically focused on prepress and printing
  18. If we hired you, what type of training would you ask us for to keep you up-to-date in your field?
    • I would like to keep up-to-date on all the equipment and software that I would use as a graphic designer at your company
    • I would also like to consider additional training in marketing and possibly product development.
    • I would like to learn more about our manufacturing plant and what happens to my artwork once it leaves the graphics department
  19. Provide me with an example of when you had to make a tough decision, and tell me what happened as a result of your decision?
    • Keep this example to work related issues if possible.
    • Talk about when your boss was on vacation and you were asked to make a decision for him/her. What happened? Did you make the right decision? How did your boss react when they returned?
  20. What motivates you on the job?
    • I am motivated most by seeing a project completed and taking pride in having been a part of the
      team that made it happen.
    • I am motivated by seeing my hard work help the company succeed, grow, and continue to attract
      new customers
    • I am motivated when I receive continuous feedback from my boss
    • I am motivated when I feel that my opinion matters
    • I am motivated when I feel I am rewarded for my talents and contributions
  21. Where do you want to be in 5 years?
    • Be honest, where do you want to be?
    • I would like to continue to grow and learn within this company
    • This job is my long-term goal
  22. Give me an example of when you had to meet an extremely tight deadline, and tell me what you did to accomplish the task.
    • Speak about an actual project, either in a class, or at your work
    • Use action words to market yourself. We meet a eight hour deadline at my last job by working as a team to…
    • Rehearse your examples and describe the steps you too
  23. Explain your personal creative process?
    • Explain what you do to be creative. Researching, sketching, reading, collaborating, critiquing, discussing with client, wait-time…
  24. What makes you angry?
    • Lies, and dishonesty
    • When I am not included in the completion of a project I have spent time on.
    • People who do not care about the quality of their work
    • Laziness that contributes to the downfall of the company
  25. Tell me about an instance when you were disappointed with your performance?
    • I was assigned a project disappointed when I was given a project with a very short deadline and I wasn’t able to spend as much time on the project as I wanted to. I completed the project on time and the customer was satisfied, but I would have liked to spend more time on the project.

End of interview—Well, that’s all I have, do you have any questions for me? (Write down 5)

Do your best to answer these before your interview in class. There is a “best” answer for each, and I will give you them later. For now, answer the questions with the best answers you can find or think of. Common sense will get you far... or, search the web for answers. There are also books in the library with answers to tough interview questions.

Odd Interview Questions

While these questions are usually reserved for applicants entering management, some graduates have reported being asked them during phone and f2f interviews.

Examples:

Why are manhole covers round?

If you had a fish bowl with 200 fish, how many would you have to remove to get to 98%?

How many piano tuners are there in Chicago?

Remember…

  1. Always answer honestly.
  2. Always relate your answers to your ability to do the job they are hiring for.
  3. Always answer with conviction and enthusiasm.
  4. Always end each answer, and the interview, on a positive. If you are ending on a negative, turn it around or change the discussion to end on a positive.
  5. Always believe that you can do the job you are applying for.
  6. Always remember that you can only control your part of the interview:
  • Yourself, (answers, comments, dress, attitude, honesty, professionalism, sense of humor)
  • Your portfolio presentation, (this proves you have the skills to do the job)
  • Let the rest be the responsibility of the interviewer, not you. Do not try to take control, you have enough to think about

Questions to Ask Interviewers

  1. What are the opportunities for personal growth?
  2. Identify typical career paths based on past records. What is the time frame for advancement?
  3. How is an employee evaluated and promoted?
  4. What is the retention rate of people in the position for which I am interviewing?
  5. Describe the typical first year/internship assignments?
  6. Tell me about your initial and future training programs?
  7. What are the most challenging parts of the job?
  8. What are the company's plans for future growth?
  9. What industry trends will occur in this company?
  10. How does your firm differ from its competitors?
  11. How would you describe your corporation's personality and management style?
  12. Is it company policy to promote from within?
  13. What kind of career opportunities are currently available for my degree and skills?
  14. Describe the work environment.
  15. What is the overall structure of the department where the position is located?
  16. Why do you enjoy working for your firm?
  17. What characteristics does a successful person have at your company?
  18. Should I expect rotations, and if so, are they in the same geographical location?
  19. How and when will my performance be evaluated on this job? How is success measured in this department / organization?
  20. I read in your literature that your training program is comprised of three six-month rotations.
  21. Does the employee have any input into where he will go at the end of each rotation? How do you evaluate the employee's performance during the training period?
  22. I read in Business Week that a major competitor of yours is increasing its market share in your main market. What plans does your firm have to regain its lost market share?
  23. Can you please tell me how your career has developed at this organization? Would someone
    entering the firm today have similar opportunities?
  24. What is an average week in this job really like?
  25. Does the management encourage the policy of promotion from within the organization?
  26. Describe typical first year assignments on the job.
  27. What are the challenging facets of the job?
  28. What are the organization's plans for future growth or change?
  29. What makes your firm, hospital, school system, ad agency, etc., different?
  30. What are the organization's strengths, and what challenges does it face?
  31. How would you describe your organization's personality and management style?
  32. What are your expectations for new hires within their first three to six months on the job?
  33. Describe the work environment.
  34. What is the overall structure of the department where the position is located?
  35. What qualities are you looking for in your new hires?
  36. What kind of equipment will I be working on? How often is it updated?
  37. What software will I be using? How often is it updated?
  38. Will I be required to travel? If so, where would I be going?
  39. What types of ongoing employee training programs do you offer?
  40. What days of the week will I be working?
  41. What hours will I be working? Will my hours ever change? Is overtime required?
  42. Who will I report to?