Acing That Job Interview

No, this is not another article to ace that job interview, actually. If you mean “acing” as in the way to land that dream job ultimately, please do not continue to read. This is about how to not sugarcoat, be frank and be direct — honesty matters more in the long run, and I learned it the hard way.

If you don’t agree with something, say it

I had a job interview once when the employer says that every designer has to use Photoshop. It simply is not my tool of trade, and that it is also not suitable for UI design. I said beforehand that I do not want to use it and gave a reason. Not only it gives me less of a headache in the first place, it also gives the potential employer enough reason to decide whether to hire me or not. Also, it will help me know how good the employer is. Do they really care about design? Will they sort designers only based on the tool they use, which is a shame?

Name your price

One of the tricky part of any job interview is the “what is your expected salary” question. I’d say, be brave. You know what you’re worth. Don’t be fooled with the market rate. If you have to care for the market rate, add additional 10% to 20% to it. Don’t be fooled around by the prerequisite question that goes like “what is your current salary?”. You can say any number, but don’t base your bargaining based on your current one. Base it on market rate, your skill, your experience and how much do you think you can contribute to the company. Are you of a certain value to the company?

Introduce yourself, please

Usually, this is the first question that comes from the interviewer. It can be a sign of laziness — just to have it all started. It sometimes shows how unprepared they are. Use this opportunity to be brief. Start with what you do, what you want to do and then what you have done. For example, “I am a designer who specializes in user interface or user experience design, I’d like to do and learn more on the user experience design side of it, which I believe I can do in your company. I bring to the table a multitude of experience in X, X and X over the past X years.” You can go into details later.

Where you’ll be in the next 5 years

Seriously, why ask this question, right? Who knows what you’ll be and where you’ll be in five years. People can change. Seriously, I usually just say — “Perhaps, I will still be doing design and helping organizations excel through it.” That is all. No need to sugarcoat or dream high like, “I want to be a renowned, world-class designer who speaks frequently at conferences.” So much bull shit.

Why do you want to move here?

There are almost always 3 main factors. Money, team/leadership, environment. I’d suggest to do all three or pick two.

Can you do this assignment?

Some companies do testings, especially for engineers or designers, to gauge how well their work is and if the work is a good fit. Be careful with this. Always ask for feedback later on — even if the result is negative. Do not work for nothing. If they don’t give thoughtful feedback as to why your assignment didn’t go well, chances are they are not good companies to work for.

Say thank you

Always say thank you in written form later on, normally by email, to the hiring manager or the recruiter. This goes a long way.