I answered: When interviewing, how do you most effectively showcase your thought process?

When interviewing, showcasing not just the solution but also how you arrived at the solution is what will set you apart in a sea of talented designers. As you start thinking about how you’re going to go about doing so, consider taking a deeper look at your process, your contributions to the projects that you’ve worked on, and why you landed where you did. I often start off with a brain dump before I organize my thoughts into a more presentable format. A few tips on what to do pre-interview and during the interview.

Action Items

The first step is to organize your thoughts. For this, you’ll have to start with the final solution(s) and work backwards from there. Most meaty projects that are worth mentioning during an interview process are projects that have been in the making for months and sometimes, years. It can be difficult to remember all the little details. Make sure you dig up all the important aspects of a project that were a part of the process, from the project’s conception to the final solution. For example, mood boards, creative briefs, sketches, scribbles, etc.

As designers, it’s important for us to not just be able to show what we can do but also talk about our work. I like to find a balance between what makes sense to show vs. tell. I usually divide it up into three parts: Conception, progress, and completion. Make sure you show your thought process for how you chose to tackle the problem. What were some of the main goals of the project? How did you think about different solutions? Which solutions were more effective than others? Why? After showcasing how I chose what to focus on, I proceed to illustrate my progress towards the final solution(s). It’s helpful to tie your solutions to the initial goals that the team agreed on. This will always add more credibility to your work and you as a designer. The third and final step is to wow the interviewer with the final results. Explain a bit about how the final decision was made. What was the post-launch plan put in place? Was there any sort of testing done? How did you know that the solution you picked was better than other solutions on the table? How did you convince the decision makers?

When walking someone through your work the number one thing to remember is to be confident in yourself and be proud of your work. Walk them through your work as if you’re telling them a story about your design career. Make it conversational. Pause while presenting to ask if they have any questions for you. Engage them in a dialogue as opposed to simply going through everything in one go. Conversations often lead to interesting revelations. Things that you may not have considered before. They also show the interviewer that you’re eager to learn and aren’t afraid to discuss topics in more detail.

When I interview designers, I often want to understand how they collaborate with other teams and also what role they play in each project. While showcasing your work, it’s important that you strike a balance between talking about your achievements as an individual designer and your moments of success as a collaborator as well. I think this is a key skill to showcase when interviewing. Lone geniuses are rare, collaborative work usually shines.

This answer was originally posted on Playbook.

Designer of many things. Currently, Head of Design at Unmind. Creating a community for dog lovers — Dear Genie.

Designer of many things. Currently, Head of Design at Unmind. Creating a community for dog lovers — Dear Genie.