Getting admission in National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), National Institute of Design (NID) is a dream of all design aspirants students. The admission procedure for design programmes in these reputed colleges includes written test as well as an interview before a panel. These 16 Tips for cracking your Design Interview by Ideaa Institue of Design will help you make a great impression in the interview and increase your chances of securing your seat in any Premier School of Design
- Know your portfolio back to front: Your portfolio needs to speak for itself to an extent but be confident talking through it. Most recent work at the front and running front to back. Trends first, then shapes & colour pallets, CADs and specs. You will need to confidently talk through current key trends and you shouldn’t have any work in your portfolio that is more than a year old, especially at entry level.
- Take pride in your work: The college isn’t hiring your portfolio, they’re hiring you for your ability to produce fantastic work, so sell yourself and your skills. It’s easy, especially for less experienced designers, to start a presentation with “this is only…” if you’re nervous, but when you’ve spent weeks on a piece of work, you should be proud of it and you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you play down your work.
- To lead or to follow?: Also, be prepared for the fact that every interviewer will approach the interview differently. Interviews tend to be fairly informal when it comes to fashion design so make sure you do take charge and talk passionately about your designs. When in the interview take your lead from the interviewer’s body language as much as what they ask you.
- Speak out!: If your interviewer doesn’t mention a particular part of your portfolio that you’re proud of or doesn’t ask enough about your great career experience, mention it yourself! This isn’t a time to be polite and wait to be asked about your achievements – if you feel you’ve done some great work which is relevant to the company then make sure you tell them about it or they will never know!
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions: Remember that if you get the job, you’ll be spending every working day there and it would be best to learn as much about the environment and as early as possible! We advise people to take in a notebook with questions to show you are really prepared. Whilst you should have already researched the brand and its ethos, this is a chance to get insider information. Ask your interviewer why this vacancy has come up, what the lines of progression are, how long they have been in the job and what their approach to design is. Whilst it is unlikely that their answers will dissuade you from accepting any job offer, it’s a good chance to find out more about what you’re getting into. Also, make sure you tell the interviewer that you are interested in the role if you are. It is amazing how many people don’t do this!
- Added extras: Design colleges will be looking for someone who can add something new and has a keen interest in studying and growing. So if you have a particular specialism, mention these at the end in a way that the interviewer feels you can really add value to the business in the future. They may well also ask you about how well you handle conflict. The creative industries are famously a hotbed of emotion, tight deadlines and strong personalities so the interviewer will want to know how you would react in a high-stress situation. Have an answer prepared detailing a time where you turned a potentially negative situation into a positive one.
- Be on time: Making the panelists wait is not at all a good situation to come across. Always be on time, reach the campus on time. Be prepared when your number or name is called out.
- Maintain etiquettes: You should make sure that you do not greet the panelists by saying ‘Hi’, even ‘Hello’ is not a good way to greet in an interview. This is very important in an interview. When you enter the room where the interview is being held, greet all the interviewers with respect and always ask to be seated. Also, ensure that your mobile phone is switched off and if you do not want to do that ensure that it is on silent mode. Address all the panelists as sir/ma’am/madam and whatever be the circumstance do not answer back or be rude in your replies. Once the interview is over thank the panelists, greet them and take your leave.
- Dress appropriately: Although there is no set dress code to appear for the interview round for admission in design courses offered across colleges. However, it is advisable to wear formal clothes. Also, pay special attention to the footwear you wear. Wearing chappals for an admission interview is a strict No-No.
- Do not use slangs: Under no circumstances should you use slangs like ‘you guys’, ‘OMG’, ‘cool’, ‘kinda’, ‘what’s up’, ‘awesome’ etc. The instant you utter any such word be assured that you will be rejected instantly. An interview is an extremely formal event and you should make sure that you keep it that way.
- Maintain eye contact: Try maintaining eye contact with the interviewers, this shows that you are confident and are well-aware of the questions put before you. However, make sure that you are not staring and simply conveying the fact that you are extremely interested to appear for and clear the interview.
- Carry your Portfolio: The panelists would be very interested in going through your work and this will give you an added advantage because most likely on viewing your portfolio the entire interview would be conducted on how and why you created the different works mentioned in your portfolio.
- Do your homework: A little research on the college and course that you are applying for will always come in handy. You can do this research over the internet. This effort put in by you will prove helpful as it will reflect your interviewers that you are interested in securing admission in the college.
- Avoid conventional answers: Try and be as original in answering questions as you possibly can. Do not memorize any answers. In an admission interview for design courses, the panelists basically want to understand whether you have the creative instinct in you along with the ability and aptitude to pursue the course you have applied for. Some of the most common questions asked in NID and CEED interview rounds is – Why did you select this particular course/ Where do you see yourself 5 or 10 years down the line? These are open-ended questions asked to judge the personality of a candidate and frankly speaking, there is no standardized (correct) answer to these questions. So, be original and truthful and this is what will work wonders for you.
- Know your subject: Most of the interviews for design course admissions revolve around testing the candidate’s aptitude and the ability for the design stream they have selected to pursue. So, here it is advisable to be thorough in the subject of your preference, read about popular personalities in your field of choice and develop a brief outline on what are your expectations of pursuing the course opted by you.
- Do not know the answer, admit it: If you have a subject question wherein you do not have any clue of the answer, admit your ignorance very frankly. Do not bluff or beat around the bush. Simply, inform that interviewers that you do not know the answer. If you are confident enough you can ask the interviewer for guidance on where you can learn more about the topic, thus showing your curiosity on the subject.
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