Mentors and Recruiters and Interviewers! Oh My! (Part Three)

Danielle Sanchez

Welcome to the series finale! In the final installment of this trilogy, we will be learning about the bears: interviewers. They are among the most common people we see wandering around every industry, much like how bears commonly wander into people’s backyards.

We ventured onto the savannah and into the jungle on previous journeys to learn about lions and tigers, also known as mentors and recruiters. If you want to go on those, click here and here. Enjoy your trip! We’ll be here when you get back!

Interviewers are people you will definitely interact with during your career, and I have some tips and tricks to help you ace the interview. Simply put, an interviewer is the person who asks the questions in the interview, takes notes based on your answers, and has a large hand in deciding whether or not you will be hired. They are usually a higher-up in the department you are interviewing for or a higher-up within the company. The interviewer, especially in creative fields, has already looked over your resume and portfolio, and is more interested in getting to know your personality, thought process, and passion.

Beyond the interview, if you are not working with a recruiter, the interviewer is often the one you will communicate with directly while setting up interview dates and times. An interviewer can also keep your information on file. If you are not hired for the job you just interviewed for, they will keep you in mind when there is another opening. It may not necessarily be precisely the position you were hoping for, but it will be another opportunity to work for the company of your dreams.

To make the most of both initial and return opportunities, here are some tips to help you befriend the bear in your backyard.

Before going on the interview, make sure to research the interviewer. Find out their position, and have specific questions prepared for them. It demonstrates preparedness, an eagerness to learn the industry, and a desire to get to know those who might become your superiors. It also helps to foster a friendly conversation that may result in a long-lasting, beneficial relationship.

Beyond researching the interviewer, make sure you have thoroughly researched the position you are applying for. Know which skills to focus on that will help you get the job. By focusing on why you’re excited about the role, you are making it easier for the interviewer to see what you bring to the table.

As mentioned previously, interviewers will keep your information on file and reach out if there are new openings available. It is also essential to occasionally check in every month or so on how things are going and whether or not there are any interview opportunities. Not only does this show initiative, but it will remind the interviewer of who you are, and they will think of you first when positions present themselves.

However, in some cases, the position may be lower than you anticipated or will not pay your preferred salary. It is important to remember that applying and interviewing for lower positions is nothing to be ashamed of. If you are passionate about something or starting fresh in a new field, starting at the bottom is perfectly fine. Don’t get hung up on titles and money. There is always a way to move up if that’s your desire.

If you interviewed with a person or at the company before and received feedback, make sure that you applied the notes and addressed them before meeting with them again. Like recruiters, interviewers love to see feedback in action, as it demonstrates an ability to take directions, work through challenges, and be open to criticism. It is also important to actively seek critiques after the interview to further show your desire for improvement and openness to others’ advice.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, do not get discouraged. Going on an interview is a great sign, as it is clear the interviewer liked your work, and they are considering you for a position after looking through dozens of resumes and portfolios. It may be necessary to go on multiple interviews before landing a job, especially in creative fields. You may end up in a completely different position than you originally anticipated, but it happened because an interviewer liked and remembered you. Follow your passion, and it will happen, but it is often a painful waiting game.

But wait, what about remote interviewing?

In a world transformed by COVID-19, creative industries have transferred online, handshakes have been transformed into elbow bumps, and in-person interviews have been swapped for Zoom ones. Although it may seem like interviewing is entirely different now, one of the best things you can do is treat it like an in-person interview. This means dressing nicely (yes, both top AND bottom) and putting your phone on silent.

One of the significant differences with virtual interviews is the possibility of technical difficulties. Although technical glitches can’t be avoided entirely, make sure to test your video and audio before the interview to ensure that you know how to use them and work out any technical issues. Also, we know interviewing at home can be difficult, so ensure that you have a quiet environment to conduct your interview. If your home is not the place, you can try your local library. Finally, ensure that you have a nice, non-distracting backdrop so your interviewer will be focused on you, not the embarrassing baby pictures behind your head.

Thank you for following me on this journey to learn about the lions, tigers, and bears of creative industries. Going on these adventures with you has been a blast! I hope these tips and tricks have been helpful, and be sure to reference back to freshen up before your next journey into the creative industry of your choice. Safe travels!

Danielle Sanchez
Danielle is a rising Senior at LaFayette College majoring in Film & Media Studies and English with a concentration in writing.
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