Secret Interview Techniques

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Hi! Back again for another new and exciting topic of conversation. This week is all about job interviews and the questions we might be asked. So what do you do when you finally get an interview for that job you’ve always wanted? Here’s a few things you need to do:

  • Research the company
  • Be on time
  • Dress appropriately
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses – don’t be modest, sell your skills
  • Have your resume and portfolio with you
  • Stay calm

There was a section in this week’s lecture that caught me a little bit off guard, mostly because I’ve only ever had one interview and it was for a job at Target. I don’t know if you know this, but these days, interviewers ask a number of “sneaky questions” to find out more about the candidate’s personality, skillset, and uniqueness. I’d never heard of this before and after seeing some of them, they really make you think. Glassdoor (2015) composes a list of oddball interview questions to help people prepare for anything. Bose once asked the question “if you were asked to unload a 747 full of jelly beans, what would you do?” If I was asked that question in an interview (or something similar), I’m not sure what would happen. Would my mind go blank, would I ask for more information, short response, long response, stumble over a response or hopefully, take a few minutes to come up with a well-crafted response. While I can’t ever know what question I might be asked, now that I’m aware of the possibility I can find similar types of questions and practice responding to them.

For graphic design specifically, there are a number of common questions it would be good to know how to answer before you go for your interview. These include:

  1. What are the qualities of a good graphic designer?
  2. What kind of design projects are you interested in?
  3. Tell me about a time you worked under pressure?
  4. Which software do you prefer to work with and why?
  5. What is your design process?
  6. Can I see your portfolio?

Next in an interview for a graphic design position and in terms of the sneaky question, they may be more practical. It could be a question like “how would you improve on this design?” or “what type of feedback would you give when presented with this layout?” It could also be similar to Microsoft Design Tests where they want you to design a remote control with two buttons or design a communication device for park rangers. The key here is being prepared for these possibilities.

One of the biggest things I’ve taken from this week’s lecture is probably passion and how to express it – being excited about what you’re talking about, becoming animated, talking quicker, keeping eye contact and sometimes even forgetting that you are in an interview. This stood out for me because I think it’s something I need to work on – learning to express my passion of graphic design as well as my other interests. I might be able to do this when I’m talking with friends or family and when it relates to a topic we have in common, but put me in a new situation with new people and I don’t think the results will be the same. For example, we did an exercise in class this week where the teacher asked us to tell him about our proudest moment. What did I learn from this exercise? My teacher can tell my own story much more passionately than I could. That’s not really a good thing. Baer (2013) believes that an emerging theme among companies looking for new employees is that they want to hear our stories. He found that one of the secret weapons to branding is storytelling – seeing the honesty and emotions behind the brand. Therefore, it is important to find the stories in my life that will:

  • Highlight my skills
  • Show my experience relevant to the job
  • Illustrate a time when I learnt from a mistake.

There are two main points I’m going to take away from this week’s lecture. Firstly, I need to work on expressing my passion in response to interview questions. In order to do this I can find the questions like “what is your proudest moment”, write out the answer in a way that demonstrates your personality or your skillset and then say it out loud, whether it be to me or to family and friends. Secondly, I need to be prepared to answer out-of-the-box questions like “what is your spirit animal?” or “if you had a superpower what would it be?” For these types of questions I think it is important to think about what an interviewer might be looking for in the response. Why do you think you are that animal specifically? In another article by Baer (2013), a CEO asked his executive assistant what animal she would be and her response was “a duck – since while the birds are calm above the surface, their webbed feet don’t stop hustling.” Her response was actually a great description of what an executive assistant role is.

Finally, I found this video about being too honest in your job interviews which is probably something we don’t want to be doing. It’s good to be honest, just not this honest.

Thanks for reading. Hope you learnt something new.

– KH

Reference list

Baer, D. (2013). What’s Your Spirit Animal? And 3 Other Curveball Job-Interview Questions. Retrieved from: http://www.fastcompany.com/3006866/whats-your-spirit-animal-and-3-other-curveball-job-interview-questions

Baer, D. (2013). Want The Job? Learn To Tell Great Stories, Starting With Your Interview. Retrieved from: http://www.fastcompany.com/3014435/leadership-now/want-the-job-learn-to-tell-a-great-story-starting-with-your-interview

Berger, M. (2014). 5 of the Best Things to Say in an Interview. Retrieved from: http://www.bluetechrecruitment.com.au/inside-recruitment/blog-post-heading-title-4

Creative Bloq. (2014). 20 Tips For Design Interview Success. Retrieved from: http://www.creativebloq.com/career/design-interview-success-812255

Edwards, T. (2014). Graphic Design Interview Questions That Will Help You Prepare. Retrieved from: https://blog.udemy.com/graphic-design-interview-questions/

Glassdoor. (2015). Top 10 Oddball Interview Questions for 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.glassdoor.com.au/Oddball-Interview-Questions-LST_KQ0,27.htm

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Your Income & Your Art

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So the question this week is probably one of the most important one students want to find an answer to (as some believe, I’m sure): who will give me money to work as a graphic designer and can I actually make a living while doing one of the things I really enjoy doing? The first thing I learnt is that there are actually more ways that people in the creative industries can get income from than I realised. So do you want to know where my future income (or maybe yours if you work in the same industry and that’s why you’re sitting here reading my blog) will be coming from?

Here’s the list:

  • Working for the man! Yes, this means being an ever diligent, hard working employee.
  • Consumer Sales (of your very own projects — transaction or subscription based)
  • Running your own studio (probably what most people want to be doing – working for yourself, to your own schedule)
  • Crowdfunding
  • Day job
  • Consulting
  • Public speaking
  • Commissions
  • Funding
  • Residencies
  • Sponsorship
  • Advertising
  • Licensing & royalties
  • “Psychic Income” i.e. not money, but fame…not too sure about this one.
  • And there may be more out there. Do you know of any others? Let me know if you do.

What to do now that I know there are so many options out there? Research (and a lot of it) so I can find the one that suits me best. For graphic designers, I think the best options would be as an employee, consumer sales, freelancing or running your own company. I’ll try and lay out a few of the positive and negatives of each.

Kardon (2012) uses an infographic to illustrate what it’s like to work as a freelancer and some of the positives that come with it. The main thing I took from this is that freelancers are happy — 62% found the change to be for the better, and the majority changed for the flexibility and freedom that comes with it. As Kardon’s (2012) article doesn’t compare mention much about being an employee, I found an article by Gold (nd) which outlines the difference between being a full-time employee and freelance work. This article comes to the conclusion that it depends on your lifestyle preference and also the possibility to actually try both.

Another good infographic I found for anyone looking to break into the freelance side of graphic design is this one – “You Can Become A Freelancer Too”:

Another option I mentioned was consumer sales. Consumer sales would give you the freedom to create what you wanted, when you wanted to be sold at a price you determine. As stated in the lecture, the downside to this is finding the people who will purchase the work and the right market to sell it in, which could prove difficult. As a graphic designer, this could be something you could do alongside either freelancing, employment or running your own studio. One example is creating typographic prints in your own time to sell as a side business.

Money is definitely an important aspect of choosing the right pathway and might determine the choices made in the first few years after studying is finished, but I think that in the future it would become less of a focus which would switch to be more about the work I want to do, the way I want to do it.

I thought my plan would be to work as a graphic designer in a company so I can gain experience and increase my knowledge of the industry but after last weeks lecture I know there are more options that I should be looking into. If I’m being completely honest though, I think that the best option for me would still be to become an employee of a company. This is because of my personality. To be a freelancer you have to be able to put yourself out there and continually seek out new clients which I think would be very hard for me to do. But I do also believe that it’s something I could learn how to do that as I think that being able to work for myself and start my own studio is something that I would love to do.

References:

Gold, A. (nd). Freelancing vs. Full-time – Which is Better? Retrieved from: http://anthonysdesk.com/freelancing-vs-fulltime/

Kardon, A. (2012). Infographic: Inside the Mind of a Freelancer. Retrieved from: http://www.andrewkardon.com/infographic-inside-the-mind-of-a-freelancer/

Visualistan. (2014). You Can Become A Freelancer Too. Retrieved from: http://www.visualistan.com/2014/11/you-can-become-freelancer-too.html

Cheers! Hope you enjoyed the read.

– KH

How are we the same?

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Hi all! This week asks the question: are media workers (graphic designers, audio engineers, game developers, filmmakers and web developers) all the same? My answer to this question is that I believe we have similar characteristics but by no means are we the same – I think there are a number of different types of creative people. In this weeks lecture there was a study by Rosalind Gill which found that creative people who work within new media have similar characteristics and went on to explain ten key features of those individuals “living the new media life”:

  1. Entrepreneurism
  2. Short term, precarious work
  3. Low pay
  4. Long hours
  5. Keeping up
  6. DIY learning
  7. Informality
  8. Exclusions and inequalities
  9. No future
  10. Love the work

I believe one of the more important aspects regarding life in the new media industry, specifically graphic design for me, is the entrepreneur (or intrapreneur) attitude. The ability to not only see new opportunities, but to also continually create new ideas within a highly competitive industry (if it’s good enough to stand out) would prove to be a vital asset. Moreover, most entrepreneurs do what they do because they love it and they can do it, not necessarily for the money or praise they would gain. I believe this is important for a graphic designer because if you can continually create new ideas or designs, the rest will come from there. While there may be times of frustration and annoyance (when the client says “could you just change this, we’d like it to pop more. Oh, and can you get that to us by the end of the day too? Thanks, that would be great”), it won’t matter that the working week is long because you are doing something you love and want to do.

I found this infographic which seems like a pretty adequate description of what A Day in the Life of a Graphic Designer might be like (also happened to be the name of the print). This infographic illustrates a number of the features touched upon this week.

So, while there are definitely some downsides to the lifestyle of a graphic designer (the long hours, the sporadic work and therefore sporadic pay, wondering where you might be in five years, ten years, the list goes on), I think it all comes back to your attitude. As Jerry R. Mitchell wrote “they’re creating their own reality…they’re in it for the freedom…each is doing the only thing that matters“, having that entrepreneurial outlook makes all the difference.

As I don’t find the job the infographic depicts very appealing, I did a bit more reading and found a blog by Maria Rapetskaya (see link below) titled “Stop Apologising for Wanting Work/Life Balance” which outlines her unique take on working as a motion graphic designer – she approaches her life as she approaches any creative project. I found this blog really interesting because she was working in what she thought was her “dream job” but it turned out to be more like the infographic above and not at all what she thought it would be. So what did she do? She sat down and looked at her life like she would a new project and re-designed it. As she puts it “I was a human start-up: big ideas, no funding”. She ended up with a lifestyle that was a balance between job security and the freedom she wanted to be able to pursue the work she loved to do.

This relates to me because one day I could be in this position – having to make a decision about where I’m working and if it’s the right place for me. So, when looking at the infographic and Maria’s blog, it was good to see two very different points of view (and I’m sure there are more out there). I’ll admit that when I’ve thought about working as a graphic designer (or when I’ve done a few little projects for friends/family), I think of it in a similar way to how the infographic illustrates it – late nights, lots of coffee and revising the designs as the client wants. Now, after reading Maria’s blog, it’s good to see that as a graphic designer, I could create a work/life balance that would suit me.

Another point in Maria’s blog I found interesting was that she started doing freelance work in order to gain experience and network, which then led to opening her own studio. This was interesting because when I’ve considered what pathway to take when my studies are finished, it was always going to work for a company to gain experience and then open my own studio and do freelance work in the future. Knowing that there are different options and pathways to take has made me change my thinking for the future and what my career might look like.

References:

Chang, V. (2015). Chart: A Day In The Life Of A Graphic Designer. Retrieved from: http://designtaxi.com/news/372440/Chart-A-Day-In-The-Life-Of-A-Graphic-Designer/

Rapetskaya, M. (2015). Stop Apologising for Wanting Work/Life Balance Retrieved from: http://99u.com/articles/39885/stop-apologizing-for-wanting-worklife-balance

Thanks again for reading. Hope you enjoyed it.

-KH

Hello world!

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Oh, hey there! So my name is Kim, just in case you were wondering, and I thought I’d give this blog thing a go. It may also have something to do with the fact I have to write some blog posts for a subject I’m doing at the moment but we’ll stick with the first reason. It sounds better.

So a bit of background information about me for you:

I am 25 years old. I live in Brisbane, Qld, Australia (born in Sydney, NSW). I have a twin sister, an older sister and an older brother. My favourite colour is blue (navy to be precise). I drink Pepsi Max, too much of it if I’m being honest and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to stop drinking it. I like to read. My favourite TV show is Chuck, with Psych coming in at a close second. I love football (or soccer – whichever name you prefer to call it). I have played the game since I was 6 years old and in that time I’ve represented Qld in futsal, represented Australia when I went on a tour of Brazil, played in the top team at my club for the last 5-6 years and am currently recovering from my second knee reconstruction so I haven’t played in over a year and I really miss it (side note: the scars don’t even match – one is a straight line and the other is diagonal. Sorry to any OCD people out there, my sister included. Just between us I think it bugs her every time she looks at them). Moving on from that, I can play bass guitar but at the moment I’m trying to learn acoustic guitar. It’s not going too well at the moment, mostly because my friend borrowed my guitar, but I really want to learn so I’ll keep at it and keep you posted as to how I’m going because I’m sure that you really want to know how I’m doing, am I right?  I am a christian. I believe that God loves us so much He sent His Son to die for us, so we could be forgiven. That’s pretty crazy if you think about it – that a father would be willing to give up his son for others. Cross = Love.

So, just recently, I started a Bachelor of Design majoring in Graphic Design. It took me a while to make the decision to do further study in a different field as I’ve already completed a double degree – a B. Exercise & Sport Science/B. Business (Management) – I just really, really wanted to continue studying because I love it so much (please go back and read the last sentence but this time note the sarcasm). So after I finished my double degree, I worked for a little while just doing data entry for a small company, and then I travelled a bit, going to the UK for a month with my sister and some friends (would definitely recommend it, I had a great time). Then I got home from travelling and went back to the same job I had before – data entry. That is exciting stuff right there people!! I started looking for work to use the degrees I had – something Sports Management related – but being unable to find anything I thought I could (or wanted to apply for) I continued to do data entry day after day after day after day. So that’s when I made the decision and now I’ve finished my first trimester (and just starting my second) at SAE in Brisbane. I’m enjoying it so far and learning some new things which are pretty cool. I’ll be posting a few bits and pieces about what I’m learning and I’ll try to put up a some of the things I’ve created/designed in the process.

So here we are (if you’re still with me). Feel free to leave me comments, or not, it’s up to you, I don’t mind. If you made it to the end thanks for reading. And now I’m out.

– KH