New Year, New Challenges. 2017 for me started out with a bang where going on job interviews have become a standard day to day life. Whoo! lucky me 🙂 I hope someone out there can relate to me on this but, the job market in Southern California (specifically L.A. and O.C.) have gotten more competitive within the Digital field. Base on the last few interviews I’ve gone through, my interview experiences have been very interesting to say the least. Finding a job in California, as some would say, is probably better than anywhere. True. We are lucky to have options and depending on your skills, you’ll be able to find a job that suits your worth. In my experience, the interview process is a roller coaster. I do have to say that I’m lucky to be getting responses, in general, from companies considering that I found most of my interviews on my own (because I refuse to work with agencies). Although, I can’t deny the fact that the process is crazy.
For the most part, companies are still doing the standard interview process. You are screened first by HR or a Recruiter via email, followed by a phone interview, to an in-person interview with the lead Designer or a team (Creative Director or a Project Manager) and lastly, a mini test. However, for the first time in my life I had a design agency reach out to me and do the interview via google video chat. No more Skype. I found it interesting because companies are starting to find other ways to use technology beyond what we’ve been using all these years or companies are simply becoming competitive (they’re upgrading their systems, etc.).
The other noticeable part of the interviews are the actual face-to-face questions. Lately, I’ve gotten a mix bag of different personalities with some being good at interviewing and others are strait up strange.
One example would be this company I interviewed for who claimed to be on Forbes top 100 companies. At first, the initial interview with the recruiter and the Creative Director were normal. They asked the typical questions about my portfolio and all. However, the Project Manager was a complete left field. She asked me questions that should’ve been HR’s job such as my salary expectations to current situations with the previous companies I’ve worked for and so forth. My skills and abilities were completely taken out of the equation and she went further with more questions that never seemed to finish. To me, an interview is suppose to be a two way conversation where both parties hopefully connect to some level and understand each other. It felt this last interview with the PM was more an interrogation and a way to make the candidate fail. I think it was unfortunate that the vibe became sour because it left an impression on me about the company and the team that I didn’t think was worth pursuing.
Another situation I had that didn’t go right was with a recruiter. The beginning started out good where I explained my background and what I’ve done. Then, when it was the recruiter’s turn to ask questions, he read a list of questions that you will typically find online (which I was ok with) but, he went to the extent of asking me to rate my skills from 1-10. I know this is subjective but, I found this irrelevant because who in their right mind would rate themselves a 1? It was rather annoying to say the least.
Up next was an interview with a Creative Director who seemed smart and maybe too smart for his own good. The issue with this case was that he didn’t think he should pay me the rate I was asking for. Mind you that the rate was the standard range in L.A. and if, he didn’t think I was capable of the job then, why keep asking me to come back and interview for the 3rd time? Also, the company was located on Sunset in Hollywood with high profile clients like Google, are you kidding me? Aside from the salary issue, there were situations during the interview that showed the CD’s true colors like reacting negatively to certain questions. If, the salary wasn’t an issue to begin with then, his attitude would certainly make me decline the job offer.
I think what I could take away from all of this craziness is that an interview process is never easy on both ends. It’ll always be uncomfortable at first. That’s why I think that people in general, should treat each other nicely rather than making the situation worse. Also, I think people forget that an interview process is a two way street. A candidate looking for a job does not mean they’re desperate. I’ve declined 3 opportunities in the last month because of the fact that it didn’t suit me long-term relating to individual growth, salary and the team.
How many of you have gone through a similar experience? I would love to hear them.