DPS student Stephanie Fung on how to tackle interviews.
After applying to hundreds of companies, I’ve managed to meet lots of organisations in the creative industries. (Merchant Cantos, Substance, Apple, Peter Anderson Studio, Earth TV, Nike and the Mill and one freelance opportunity) Some I was really prepared for and other not so much, but I have come to learn that it’s always good to be over prepared for an interview – whether that’s having business cards at the ready or reading past the 2nd page on Google about the company.
The most challenging interview was with Nike. It was a digital interview where I had to record myself and answer the questions. You would think hiding behind a screen would be more comforting but I realised that I respond better when I have someone to talk to in person. I felt very awkward and had some pauses when all I could see was myself on a screen. The same thing happened with Substance, where I had a skype voice call interview and I couldn’t see the other person’s facial expression which felt a bit jarring.
One of my most positive experiences was probably with The Mill. (I was probably the most nervous about this since it’s one of my dream companies) The interviewers were down to earth and they gave me time to talk and ask questions. I researched and prepared all the questions I thought they would ask me the night before but in the end they only asked about 3-4 questions to see what type of person I am. Earth TV was also relaxed, perhaps sometimes we forget that creative directors and the interviewers are human and can be down to earth too.
What also helped was that they had a dog in their office, which I think all offices should have.
I've realised that most of the time, if you have an interview then the interviewer is already impressed by your work - so use the interview to show off your personality, skills and interest to join the company. Moreover I made sure that I ask many questions at the end of the interview since an interview is a 2 way conversation.
Here's some that may be helpful for your interview:
What does typical day look like for an intern?
Gives you an idea of what your role would be.
What do you expect in an intern?
Gives an idea of what level they expect of an intern.
What are your views of the company?
Gives an better idea of the company atmosphere and people are like.
Is this position paid and how much?
Don't be afraid to ask, you deserve to be paid for doing work.
Am I able to use your facilities to do my own projects outside working hours?
If you want to do extra projects alongside your internship, work may have programs or machines for you to use.
When will I hear back from you?
Sometimes people forget to ask.
Most importantly - don't forget to send a follow up email the day after you had your interview. It's polite and also sets you apart from people don't do it.