Interview for Internship

Today, I went to a graphic design internship interview. It’s been a while since I’ve interviewed, the last time being for the job I currently have, but I thought an internship would be nice to get some new skills and experiences under my belt with the 15 or so hours a week I have to play with.

I scored this interview via seattle art/media/design jobs classifieds “intern” – craigslist. I have this bookmarked in my browser and click on it every few days. Interesting seeing what’s out there. Sometimes a gallery position intrigues me, but I remind myself that I like working with people and gallery internships are somewhat limited.

After a small exchange with my interviewer who is a Senior Graphic Designer at the company, it was established that wi-fi wasn’t going to be an option, nor having a computer available, so I would need to bring a device loaded with a pdf version of my portfolio. I’m glad I checked! The last and almost successful interview I had for a marketing position was me navigating my site on the interviewer’s office computer, not the best way to go. So, I prepared a simple document, landscape paper, unsure if I would be able to procure a tablet, or decide last minute to print it out. Now knowing I have access to a tablet for these kinds of events, I will size the pdf I make to an iPad resolution.

After arriving five minutes early (go me!), I jumped into the question, so tell me about yourself. And then, the portfolio showing. I was grateful to my friend who had lent me his iPad. It worked pretty well, though I confessed to my interviewer that it wasn’t mine and it was obvious when I tried triple-clicking the screen to get my menu bar. I learned that iPads are nice for showing work. After I got the pdf to work by emailing it to myself, opening the pdf in the email app, and then using the “open in iBooks” option, it went well. My interviewer did the driving, which is kind of gratifying because it means she’s interacting with my work, even if it’s just a side-swiping way.

I showed a pdf, then tried showing my (Parts of a Cell | A Moment of Science on Vimeo) had to stop after I realized that internet wasn’t going to be an option. Funny how we take that for granted these days. After going through the presentation (I included some process work, sketches, word association, iterations), she asked the usual questions. What are my strengths/weaknesses, What is a compliment I receieved about my work, how do I stay organized. And then some fun questions like “If you were a color, what would it be?” I said purple at first and then got more specific. Yes, I am kind of abashed when I say my color-identity is also Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2014, Radiant Orchid. Is this my year for graphic design? Does that mean next year, will be passé? I said that my favorite font is Garamond– it has a kind of nostalgia for me. I painted some quotes in Garamond before I really knew that I wanted to be a graphic designer. It was kind of my gateway font. It also reminds me of France. I’m a Francophile– especially when it’s gray, it feels like a cloudy day in Paris. I told her that. She liked that sentiment enough to write it down. But she did ask if I liked Garamond 2 or 3 or what? and I was like… um. Original? I can now tell you I like ITC Garamond the best. It’s like a nice armchair. It’s a little wider, thicker, but it adds to the subtle luxury.

After her questions, she noted that I was a strong candidate and I’ll hear from her next week and then asked me if I had any questions. I asked my usual set, who will I be working with, what is your internal communications like and what do you like about your job, and then I did something I haven’t done before. I asked for a little critique regarding the interview we just had/towards the end of having. She obliged graciously saying that she appreciated that I was “well-spoken” and she generally liked my work. She wanted to see more. She said that it’s good to have 9-12 pieces but no more than 15. That’s when I pulled out the second pdf.

I explained to her that a few times (which is most times) I’ve interviewed they told me to pick three pieces to talk about. Maybe, it’s a recruiter trick. Anyways, I planned originally to have a limited pdf to focus on a few amount of pieces, but I got a little worried and then created a second pdf with more work. So, we did a quick go through of the second pdf. We bonded over one of my posters. Class Ad Trio | Katablog. She said that she understood why I used the jar as a visual metaphor and it was more intriguing than the item that replaced it in the next iteration. My heart was warmed a little, that same way when you make an obscure joke and one person chuckles and that person in that moment is your new best friend.
She said that she thought that that I was well-prepared, but she wasn’t there when I was like “how do you view a pdf on this thing?” this morning. But, I nodded and thanked her. Why spoil the illusion? She noted that everyone’s doing electronic portfolios these days, but she enjoys holding portfolio books, or at least some print pieces. She knows a good book is really expensive to produce, so she didn’t count it against me. I related to her in that moment. I’m a graphic designer, too. Sometimes, the thrill of production comes with holding it in your hand, maybe caressing your cheek with the textured paper. I am planning on bringing something next time. Put it in my monthly budget, so I can give my interviewer some tactile experience.

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