Top 3 graphic design job interview task mistakes – candidates

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    • 29th March 2019

    Leeds is a hub of creativity, and it’s home to lots of fantastic graphic design talent. Gloss Recruitment is proud to be working with the cream of the top candidates and the top design agencies of the city. But even top talent can make these top three interview task mistakes.

    As we’ve launched the Gloss Young Talent Award (take a closer look here if you’ve not had a chance to find out about this yet) with a graphic design brief we thought it would be worth discussing graphic design job interview mistakes.

    Graphic designer jobs in Leeds are in high demand and rightly so, as there’s a lot of great talent around. However, even the greatest talent can fall privy to interview task mistakes. To help graphic designers of Leeds, we’ve asked our clients for a collection of their pet peeves when it comes to reviewing applicant interview tasks.


    Graphic Design Interview Task Mistakes

    Mistake 1: Missing the point

    Always read through the whole brief. We’ve all heard this before and at some point in life, we’ve probably all made this mistake, but missing the purpose of the brief leads to poor results.

    shop sign saying hello this way
    Are on the right track?

    The classic example is of the school kid who was the only one in the class who read the last line of the test that read, “Don’t answer any of the questions. This is an attention to detail test. Put your pencil down and wait for your classmates to catch on”.

    Gloss Tip: We recommend reading the brief twice and either saying it back to someone or writing the main point down, before starting any design.

    This way you’ll avoid designing something that doesn’t match the brief.

    It could be your best design, but if it’s missed the mark then it unfortunately fails to impress.


    Mistake 2: Doing exactly as it says on the tin

    Meeting the brief is very important, but the interview task is also your chance to stand out from the crowd. You should definitely make sure that you meet the main point of the brief, but once you’re sure of that take a moment to think outside the box.

    · Can you add any additional assets like some social media images or point of sale designs to help you highlight how the design can work across marketing channels?

    · Are there alternative colour palettes or fonts that show a different design path?

    (Unless fonts and colour palettes are strictly stated as a requirement in the brief).

    The addition to the brief doesn’t have to be anything huge or time-consuming.

    It should be something that adds value to the design. This is a great opportunity to stand out from the applicant crowd and in this case going the extra mile can result in getting the job.


    Mistake 3: Not double-checking your work

    We completely understand. You’re in a rush, there’s a lot going on in your life and typos can happen to anyone.

    If you’ve developed a catchy tagline or have any text that’s required to be in the design, be sure to double and triple check it. When you’re up against other candidates for a job something as small as a typo can be the deciding factor between the two of you.

    Also think about how you save your work. Titles like “Untitled 1” or even “That annoying job task” highlight inexperience amongst other things.

    Gloss tip: Even if you’re presenting the task in a second interview, add some commentary or bullet points to the task document to show how and why you went for this particular design. The accompanying narrative helps to get your design process across, which in turn helps the design agency assess your work in its full context.

    graphic designer sketching
    Checking before finalising

    Agency Task Mistakes

    These graphic designer job interview task mistakes are all from a candidate’s point of view.

    However, at Gloss Recruitment we also aim to support our clients with top recruiting tips.

    So, here are the most common interview task mistakes made by design agencies.


    Mistake 1: Timing

    When you’re recruiting, you’re often looking for a new team member fast. But this doesn’t mean you can get away with sending an interview task before making initial contact with a candidate.

    Every interview is a two-way process. Starting your interview process with a task is a faux pas and can put off a lot of great talent.

    At least speak to the candidate first. This doesn’t have to be a formal interview, but at least reach out and show them that you’re interested. Get an idea of who they are and what they aspire to, before asking them to do work for free.


    Mistake 2: Who completes a task?

    In the design industry it’s the norm to send interview design tasks to junior candidates. An experienced designer with a large portfolio is likely to be put off by the request to fulfil an interview task. Most agencies get the idea of a designer’s skill and style from a well-presented portfolio. (And you can get some tips on top drawer portfolios here).

    If there’s a specific reason you need an experienced designer to complete an interview task, that’s no problem. Just be sure to explain the reason behind this request so the candidate knows why it’s required in this case.


    Mistake 3: Length of the task

    To really test a candidate’s creativity, be sure that your brief focuses on a creative task rather than a time-consuming task.

    Think about tasks that test design-led thinking and attention to detail over tasks that require several hours of execution. For example, instead of asking for five or more different brochure page layouts, ask for 2 contradicting brands. In this scenario the candidate spends more time on the strategic element of the task over the execution time required to complete it. It also gives you more insight into the design skills of each candidate.

    Also keep a candidate’s existing commitments in mind. Instead of a fully fleshed out brand ask for some concepts that can be discussed in the follow-up interview. You still get the skill insight you need while respecting the candidate’s existing commitments.

    magazine layout design
    Execution time vs. creative focus

    As you can see the path to getting graphic designer jobs in Leeds isn’t always a straightforward one. But our team are creative recruitment experts ready and able to support both candidates and design agencies.

    If you’re a junior or more experienced graphic designer looking for graphic designer jobs in Leeds and its surrounding areas, have a browse of our latest vacancies here.

    Or send us your CV and we’ll be in touch to discuss your career plans.

    If you’re looking for graphic designers to join your team, call us on 0113 209 5705 today.