today’s question: i have a job interview coming up. what are some of your interviewing tips?

i haven’t been on too many job interviews but i have had to meet with new clients. you can apply these tips to those meetings as well.

dress for the job you want, not the one you have. this could all depend on what type of company you’re going for, but dress up! wear heels. put in the effort. don’t wear a lot of jewelry (especially bangles. they’re loud and distracting) and make sure what you’re wearing is comfortable, fits right and makes you feel confident. give it a test run first. how does it feel when you sit? does it wrinkle easy? one time i was interviewing at a company and i chose to wear this new top i had recently bought. i hadn’t worn it before and boy do i wish i could go back and change my outfit. the material was heavy and it was tight in the wrong places. naturally i was nervous and i was sweating. i could see the hiring manager staring at my sweat stains and it totally threw me off my game. i didn’t get that job.

arrive on time. this one seems like a duh, but you never know if you’ll get into traffic or get lost. plan to get there half an hour ahead of time. you can always use the extra time to check yourself in the mirror (no lipstick on your teeth!) or go over your resume.

present yourself at your best. give your hiring manager or new client a firm handshake! nobody likes a wussy one. bring multiple copies of your resume (if they like you immediately, they may want to introduce you to other people). look people in the eye when you talk to them and don’t forget to smile! if you’re presenting a portfolio make sure your nails look nice—they’ll be looking at those a lot!

BRI’S ANSWER: i totally agree with katie’s points. here are a few more…

be prepared but also authentic: the best interviews i have been on in the past i remember feeling comfortable and calm. there is something to be said for being prepared and i am a total nerd about this. i plan my outfit the night before, i prepare questions for them (you have to show interest in the company. even if you don’t have any questions, do your best to think of at least one) and i try to anticipate the questions i will be asked and what i would respond with. but i try not to go overboard with the canned answers because i want to be authentic and in the moment as well. you don’t want it to see like you are just reading off a general answer.

bring something memorable: i remember a few years ago i was going in to meet with the ban.do girls and they were interviewing me about some graphic design work. i had admired the comapany aesthetic and did my research beforehand. i knew the girls loved sweets so i brought some chocolates and a little 3-d card thanking them for meeting with me. i think they still have the little pop-up card at their office. people notice that extra effort. my intern last year, marissa, brought a box of cute treats all in one color. teal scissors, teal string, teal glitter…it made a statement. i interviewed a gal yesterday that gold-leafed her resume…impressive & memorable.

bring supplies: i always bring my business cards, resumes, pens, a journal,  ipad, tick tacks, lipstick, examples of work (either loaded on the ipad or printed). you want to show them that you are organized and prepared.

eye contact & confidence: seems easy, but when your nervous these things are the first two to go. try to avoid nervous rambling, just stick to the point.

follow up: i usually send a follow up email after the interview. let them know you’re interested and excited about the opportunity! as always, try to personalize your emails…mention something you chatted about in the interview, say what excites you most about the position. when i hire someone i am looking for personality!

(illustration by katie evans. read more freelance advice posts are over here!)


Add your own

    Noor says:

    That is pretty great advice. I have not been on to many interviews but when I was in uni in Chicago I had one and I was so nervous it was soooooooooooo bad like crying horrid bad I have no idea what my deal was lol.

    Great advice, and definitely agree it applies to clients. Totally with you on sending a follow-up thank you right away, but going the extra mile with a snail mail thank you (something that relates to the person/company), will make you stand-out, especially in this day and age… At the end of the day, just be your fabulous self!

    What great advice! As I’m about to be in my last semester of college, I will keep all this in mind as I embark on interviews!

    laura says:

    great advice! It should also be said that you shouldn’t arrive too EARLY for an interview. A fella showed up 20 minutes early to interview for a position at my office once, and we had to awkwardly finish our lunch breaks and rush through our work while he sat awkwardly in the lobby. This might not be such a big deal if the lobby isn’t right beside the lunch room lol…. The short of it is, it felt disrespectful to our work flow and didn’t start him off on the right foot. If you get there early, wait in the car… 😀

    This is really great advice! I’m in college and currently applying to internships. I was wondering: if someone was applying to a position with either of you, how would you like to see examples of their work? I am a journalism and communications media student so I have a wide variety of work (photography, writing samples, graphic design, blogging) and I would like to streamline the way I send it all.

    Loni says:

    This might be pretty obvious, but never bring a drink like coffee to an interview, such bad form. A water bottle in your bag is ok, obviously, but an actual coffee seems like your there just to hang out, and your interviewer might want one.


    katie evans! says:

    @loni SO TRUE. i interviewed a girl a while ago that did it. for some reason it put a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended). you said it right. it was like she was there to hang.

    JoCarol says:

    I will second the comment about the snail mail thanks and add to send one to each person you interviewed with and write something unique in each. The CEO of the company I am currently at said my note put me over the other candidate!

    Heather says:

    This could not have come at a more perfect time! I have my first BIG interview tomorrow with a highly credible interior design firm and I was sweating bullets all day on what to say and do. I am still finishing school so the real world seems so big and scary! This advice helped beyond comprehension! Thanks girls! (Sometimes even the “Duh!” statements need reminding, and help the most 🙂 <3

    Marisa says:

    Aw Bri thanks for the kind words! Your advice is wonderful!

    Chick Tyler says:

    Great tips! My last boss said he really liked me in the interview because I brought supplies and always kept eye contact!

    Thank you so much for the timely reminders — I have a big interview next week! Handwritten thank you cards after an interview are always a nice gesture!

    Michelle Caudill says:

    Hey Bri! Hey Katie!
    I just want to note how inspiring the both of you are, (sounds super corny) but you really do set a pretty cool spark in me.
    So I have a question:
    I’m a 3rd year graphic design student and I haven’t had any experience with internships or anything, yet! I’m looking to get an internship this summer. I have a pretty good portfolio set up but I’m stumped with how I should go about my resume with my lack of experience. Do you guys have any advice for that?

    Bethany says:

    Good tips! I’ll need these soon! 😮

    Christina says:

    Do you have a specific e-mail address for us to send advice inquiries are should we just leave them in the comments here? Basically I am interested to know if you have some kind of prompt you give clients when they approach you for design work but don’t really know what they want. My old creative director had a list of questions/quiz type form he’d give the client (ie: what are three words you’d use to describe your brand. etc.). If nothing like this, how do you pull information out of a client when from the get-go they aren’t entirely sure or at least not very good at verbalizing what they want. THANKS!

    nichole says:

    Great post and love the outfit! What about thank you notes for having the opportunity to interview? Too old fashioned?

    Pingback: job interview

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.