Many people pursue a career in graphic design, and you will almost always compete with other designers in your job interview. Several candidates, one vacancy. Who will win the employment contract at the end? Let’s have a look at things that matter, and some questions you will face while trying to get this job.
Everything starts with your portfolio. A job candidate who gives good interview answers (not excellent answers, but good-enough answers), and brings a great portfolio to the interview (one that demonstrates their skill in the given area of graphic design), will often get the job at the end of the hiring process.
You probably have your portfolio, and if you do not (which will surprise me, since each designer should have a portfolio), have a look at our article that deals with the topic: Portfolio in a job interview. Let’s turn our focus to the questions you may face while trying to get this job.
Why do you want to become a graphic designer?
You should focus on your passion for your design works, on your ability to come up with creative ideas, and basically on your strengths and your personality, which happens to be a perfect fit for this type of work.
Show them that you did not choose this career just because it pays well, or because it is trendy, and many people follow the same path in 21st century. Show them that you see a meaningful purpose in your job, and that you actually enjoy designing new things, and everything that belongs to the process.
Why do you apply for a position of a graphic designer with us, and not with one of our competitors?
You can say that you are really good at designing things they design in their company (web sites, t-shirts, machines, anything they design). Needless to say, you should be able to backup this claim with your portfolio.
Alternatively you can point out their good reputation, strong brand, corporate values that happen to resonate with your values (if they have any of these things, things that a good company should have), fitting working environment, good location of the workplace, flexibility the job offers, and so on.
Try to praise them for something, and clearly demonstrate that they are your first choice for an employment.
What characterize a good graphic designer in your view?
Creative ideas, understanding of the needs and desires of a target audience, patience at work, attention to detail, technical skills, talent for drawing, healthy level of self criticism and ability to accept criticism from colleagues and clients, are just some features that characterize a great designer.
You can also approach this question from a different angle, saying that the results of the designer speak for the quality of their work, for their skills–or against them. If they design things that sell, things that draw attention of the public, campaigns and designs that are successful in the market, then we can certainly call them good or even excellent designers.
How do you imagine a typical day at work?
Have a look at the job description, and try to understand what they do in the company. Show them that you like to be busy in work, that you do not like to waste time, sitting on your chair, chatting with colleagues, doing nothing (or perhaps refreshing your Facebook feed). Maybe you like to do exactly that–nothing, but you should not mention it in your interview answer.
To the most common duties of the designers belong:
- Schedule project implementation and define budget constraints.
- Select colors, images, text style, and layout of the design work.
- Work with a wide range of media and use graphic design software (one or more applications).
- Think creatively and develop new design concepts, graphics and layouts.
- Prepare rough drafts and present your ideas to the art director and to the client.
- Incorporate changes recommended by the clients into the final design.
- Review designs for errors before printing or publishing them.
- Work as part of a team with copywriters, designers, stylists, executives etc.
You can mention that you like to take a creative break (drink coffee, smoke a cigarette), since these breaks are common, and even necessary in design industry (people would quickly get mad if they spent all days looking at their computer screens, and some people do get mad doing so).
What are the latest trends in graphic design?
I can not suggest you an exact answer to this one (because this article is meant to be an evergreen content :). The trends do change constantly, and you can be reading this article in 2021, or in 2025. What is more, the trends are specific for each country.
Nevertheless, you should always look at their design works–what they do, and what trends they apply in their latest designs. You can mention these trends as the most recent trends, the trends you try to follow with your work.
Alternatively you can just google for the latest design trends, and build your answer around them. One way or another, you should try to convince the hiring managers that you try to keep your knowledge up to date, that you watch trends and industry news, follow the leading designers, and basically do all you can to stay at the top of your game.
Tell me something about your latest design projects.
Time to take a portfolio out of your briefcase (or your laptop, if you have made only an electronic form of your portfolio). Show them the most relevant designs, and most importantly, try to speak about them from the perspective of your clients, perspective of people you worked for.
Tell the hiring managers how your design works helped the clients to earn more money, to improve their sales volume, to improve the recognition of their brand, or to achieve some other goals they followed.
And if you apply for your first job, and have designed things only for yourself (or at school), speak at least about the designing techniques you learned while working on your latest projects (school projects), and how this experienced helped you to get ready for “a real job”.
Other questions you may face in your graphic designer interview
- Tell us about a time when you were innovative with your work.
- Describe a situation when you struggled to communicate something to one of your colleagues or clients. How did you eventually manage to get your message over.
- Have you ever worked on a project that was a failure?
- What motivates you the most in your design work?
- Tell me one thing about yourself you wouldn’t want me to know.
- Do you prefer to work independently, or on a team?
- What three things would your former managers want you to improve on?
- How would you characterize your communication skills?
- Why shouldn’t we hire you?
Special tip: Not sure how to answer the behavioral questions, “tell us about a time when…”, “describe a situation…”, etc? Have a look at our Interview Success Package, where you’ll find up to 10 brilliant answers to more than 100 interview questions, including 30+ behavioral questions–basically everything a hiring manager can throw at you in an interview for a Graphic Designer job…
May also interest you:
- Graphic designer – what are your strengths and weaknesses? Do you know how to deal with this tricky question?
- Work portfolio for an interview – Learn how to prepare a selection of your best works, and how to use it to show the interviewers the value you can bring to their team. A great portfolio is a must if you want to get a job of a graphic designer.
- How to overcome interview nerves – 4 simple strategies that will help you to get rid of anxiety and show your very best in the interviews.