Interview Tips for VFX Artists (and Everyone)
SUSAN O’NEAL JULY 13, 2020
By now you’ve refreshed your reel, updated your resume, and have been applying online. Hopefully, you’ve received loads of interest and recruiters are beating down your door for a chance to meet you. Are you now prepared for your interview? You are likely to have an interview via telephone or video call in today’s climate – all of these tips will help you prepare so you can look and sound your very best.
General Interview Advice:
- Research the Company – look for information in recent news releases, on LinkedIn, on the company’s site (maybe a blog section?), and familiarize yourself with their products, projects, and competition. You might also take a look at the company’s reviews on Glassdoor – keeping in mind that people are more apt to leave a note when they’ve had a negative experience than when everything went well.
- Research the Interviewers – be sure to ask for a list of everyone you’ll be meeting with and use Google, LinkedIn, and the company’s own website to get to know them. Note any connections you may have and use those to garner more information or to put in a good word for you.
- Try to Anticipate the Questions You’ll Be Asked – standard questions include specifics about the tools you use, how you like to work, where you’ve worked in the past, why you left your last job, salary requirements, etc. You may (or may not) be asked the typical “what are your strengths/what are your weaknesses” type of questions – but be prepared just in case! Be sure to have two or three questions to ask of your own – these may be questions about the size of the team, reporting structure, or questions specific to the workflow.
- Be Prepared – to talk through your reel and your resume.
- Google Yourself and Check Your Social Media – be sure to delete any social media postings that might embarrass you, and a google search just prepares you for questions that might come up if the hiring manager should do the same.
- Ask for Any Next Steps – as the interview is winding down, feel free to ask if the interviewer needs anything more from you, and inquire as to next steps (if any) in the process.
- Say Thank You – be sure to thank everyone for their time, and express your enthusiasm for the opportunity.
For Phone Interviews:
- Try to Use a Landline – to avoid potential interruptions due to faulty technology. If you must use your cellphone, be sure it’s plugged in and disable any phone features that might distract you.
- Choose a Quiet Place – you don’t want any distractions.
- Computer? or No Computer? – many people like to have the internet handy so they can look things up as the conversation progresses. Do this ONLY if your keyboard is relatively quiet and if you are not easily distracted by what you might find online.
- Have Your Notes and Questions at Hand – your interviewer likely has only 15 – 30 minutes – be prepared to make the most of your time with them.
- Answer the Phone with Your Name – a simple “Hello, it’s MY NAME” sounds professional and keeps the interviewer from having to ask for you.
- Be Honest – if something happens to take you out of the moment, admit to it. If you need to reschedule due to something catastrophic, don’t hesitate to do so. It’s better to have a distraction-free conversation.
- Smile – believe it or not, your smile can be heard in your voice – smile naturally and try to keep the conversation flowing in a natural way.
For Video Interviews:
- Test the Technology – be sure everything’s downloaded and working properly. Most video platforms have ways of checking the audio and video.
- Choose a Neutral Background – you don’t want to distract with a busy background. Ideally, you are in your home office or maybe at a table with a blank wall or bookcase behind you.
- Raise your Computer – this helps avoid the dreaded double-chin up the nostrils shot. Raise your computer with books or blocks so your camera is at eye level.
- Keep Distractions to a Minimum – this includes the barking dog, the playing child, or someone else’s phone conversation in the background. If possible, use a headset with a mic to ensure you’re truly focused on the conversation.
- A Note on Lighting – avoid being backlit – natural light is best, or find a soft light to aim at your face.
- Dress for Success – dress as though you are meeting in person – professional but not stuffy but still uniquely you.
- Plan for Technical Difficulties – keep your computer connected to power and be sure the interviewer(s) have a phone number to phone you as a backup.
- Be Early – see the note above regarding testing the technology. Allow for some hiccups. It’s better to be early than late.
For all types of interviews, a thank you note should go out as quickly as possible. A separate note should go to each of the interviewers (if you met with more than one person) and should include something you particularly enjoyed about your conversation.
Interviewing is an acquired skill – we hope these tips and tricks help you prepare and succeed.
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