Interview Techniques: Ask Aquent Webinar Recap
Editor’s note: This webinar recap article was developed by Aquent, AIGA’s official sponsor for professional development, as part of the “Ask Aquent” webinar series. Aquent recruiters are hosting live online 45-minute Q+A sessions each month to help respond to AIGA members’ most pressing career-related questions.
Landed a job interview? Good for you! This is your chance to impress a potential employer with your dynamic personality and unique portfolio. But don’t call your friends to celebrate just yet—you need to be sharp, engaged and at the top of your game before and during the interview. In her webinar titled “Interview Techniques," Aquent Senior Agent Lisa McClain, who has more than ten years of experience recruiting on both the corporate and agency side, offered detailed advice for potential interviewees. Are you nervous or unsure of how to prepare for a meeting that will leave the company begging to hire you? This recap article offers key takeaways from the webinar, plus additional resources that will help you get ready for your big day.
What to Do Before the Interview
It’s crucial to jump into research mode as soon as you’ve been invited to an interview. Here’s why:
- Finding out about the company and its history just makes sense, doesn’t it? This is something you really should do when you apply for the job. Walking into your interview with significant knowledge of the company allows you to talk about the specifics—and why you feel you’re a great fit.
- Investigating the employment history of the hiring managerand others you may be speaking with during the interview will give you an authentic point of engagement. Perhaps you attended the same school, worked for the same company in the past or volunteered for similar causes. LinkedIn is a great place to start your research. If you don’t have a profile, consider creating one—but be sure to use it only for business networking.
- Carefully reviewing the job descriptionwill make you familiar with the parameters and expectations of the position. If you don’t have a detailed job description, do an online search for the job title and familiarize yourself with key elements of similar positions.
The Big Day
Are you ready to shine? Do whatever you need to do in order to get into the “zone.” Visualize the moment in which you are being offered the job and hold onto that feeling. Don’t be arrogant about it; just keep that vision of walking into the company on your first day of work. Once you’ve mentally prepared, be sure to take the following steps:
- Arrive 5 to 10 minutes early. If you arrive earlier than that, stay in your car or walk around. If possible, go to the restroom for a last-minute check on your appearance.
- Bring extra copies of your resume. Even if they tell you they have it, you never know who may join the interview. Bring at least three copies, and if that’s not enough, offer to email it to whoever else may need it.
- Dress for success. You are your own brand. By researching the company and knowing who you’ll be meeting with during the interview, you’ll know what to wear. Business suits or business casual are possible options. However, even if you’re interviewing for an internal position, treat the moment as if it’s your first contact with the company.
- Give a firm handshake. Don’t squeeze the living daylights out of the hiring manager’s hand or present a limp fish; give a firm handshake that’s somewhere in the middle. Look the manager in the eye and smile. You are happy to be there and excited to show your work. It’s all about your confidence and self-esteem.
- Stay focused. This should be fairly easy to do, if you’ve done your homework. Make strong—but not overly intense—eye contact. Don’t half-listen when they’re talking while you formulate your answer. Be attentive and smile; your answers will be there when it’s your turn to speak.
- If possible, have a copy of the job description with you. This is great to have in your hands, especially if the position you applied for suddenly changes during the interview. It may be that they’ve added to or changed elements of the job. This will help you determine if the job is a match for you; once you’ve completed the interview you’ll have the opportunity to think about this more deeply. Don’t ever reject the job during the interview itself as you don’t want to burn any bridges.
- Prepare your portfolio. Make sure the portfolio pieces you present are related to the job description. Eight samples are sufficient. If the job is print-related, bring a physical portfolio. And, as you’ve probably guessed, a digital portfolio works best for online work.
Looking for more helpful interview tips? Lisa McClain recommends the following resources:
About the Author: Aquent is the only global staffing company dedicated to creative, marketing and digital roles exclusively for Fortune 1000 companies. The world’s most renowned global brands come to Aquent for high-caliber freelance talent. Its new division, Vitamin T, provides small, mid-sized and ad agency clients with faster, easier access to in-demand interactive talent. Aquent and Vitamin T have built an impressive global network of marketing and creative services professionals, including print and interactive designers, UX designers and developers, copywriters, brand managers, market researchers, and more.