Nicky. In. Progress.

–and something about design, writing, being an art student and whatnot

Internship Interviews – Firsthand Experience

portfolio-print-internship-interview-2 portfolio-print-internship-interview-1 portfolio-print-internship-interview-3 portfolio-print-internship-interview-4

So this is the portfolio I brought along for the Gambit interview today. I made a nice layout in InDesign, spent a whole day selecting which works to put in and even made a little story inside. When the interview came, they only saw one work.


And so here I am writing my own first-hand experience on internship interviews:

Lesson 1: Don’t just be punctual. Be paranoid.

This story starts after checking how long it would take to take a bus from the hostel to SUTD. Google says about 40 minutes. Wanting to be punctual, I opted to go 60 minutes before the interview time to be safe. The problem with that is: Buses don’t magically arrive when you reach the bus stop, and they do have to stop at other stations.

I had a 3 PM interview. By 4.30 I was still in the bus. I gave up, and took a Taxi instead. I was late by a hair.

Next time, if you think 60 minutes is enough, be paranoid. Add another 15-30 minutes. No company wants to hire late interns.

“And add 30 more minutes in case of a horrific traffic accident.” (Photo credit:

Lesson 2: Be Professional

True, I was late by 10 minutes, but I saved myself a scolding.

I called them and told them I was gonna be late and asked if someone could switch interview schedules with me or something. They said “It’s okay, we’ll wait 10 minutes.” When I arrived, I darted to the interview and was faced with four interviewers, who weren’t the least bit angry because someone informed them that I would be late (and that I was the one who informed that someone).

Basically, if you screwed up: Apologize.

Lesson 3: Best Works First

So I was telling you before about my portfolio. Yeah, they asked me if I brought a portfolio. I said, “Okay. I have a showreel, but I also have a printed version.” “Show me the printed one. Show me one you think is the best. I had like 10 projects in a designed portfolio and they only wanted to see the first page.

It’s not a bad thing actually. An interviewer can read you like a book once you show them your best work. The point here is that is kind of thing is actually quite likely to happen.

As such, put your best work on page one. I know they say that you should but your best works up front and at the back (not to mention completely leave out things you think aren’t up to par), but apparently the front is the most important. Make sure it’s the most amazing thing you have.

Luckily for me, the second I showed them Phantasmagorical and Helminthophobia, they were impressed (One even told me she’d like it printed on a sticker).

Lesson 4: Everyone can do art. Not everyone has personality.

Scumbag Steve

“Yeah I’m super talented and you’d be a dumbass not to hire me.” Pfft. (Photo credit: Scott Beale)

I’ve noticed that interview questions dig more on your personality than your skillset. Glance at a portfolio and BOOM! They’ve gauged how well you draw. But how nice are you to work with? How creative are your ideas? Do you have taste? You’ll see what I mean in the next blog post: Internship Interviews – What They’ll Ask

Unfortunately, if you do have a shitty personality, then good luck to you sir.

Lesson 5: Learn. Their. Names.

Business Meeting

“Thank you for the job, Mr. Whoever-You-Are.” See how bad that sounds? (Photo credit: thetaxhaven)

I wanted to ask via email before I met them so I would be familiar with their names. It seemed creepy, and a quick Google on interview ‘ethics’ agrees. Normally, as you extend a handshake and introduce yourself, they’ll introduce themselves back.

This wasn’t the case for me, and I feel like I should’ve asked outright. Now, I don’t know their names! D:
It’s just not nice, plus they’ll think better of you for remembering their names.

Got that? Good, now go read Part Two!


One comment on “Internship Interviews – Firsthand Experience

  1. Pingback: Internship Interviews – What They’ll Ask | Nicky. In. Progress.

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This entry was posted on March 13, 2013 by in Animation, Design and tagged , , , , , .
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