Things to Think About Before Accepting a Design Position
We are all looking for our dream job. Just as much as agencies want to find the best and brightest designers, it’s important to realize that just because a company wants to hire you, it might not be the right fit for you. Determining your ideal work environment might take some trial-and-error, but there are a few questions that you’ll need to ask yourself that should fit your criteria for a new job. We’ll go over a few things you should think about before you automatically say yes:
What’s the company culture like?
You’ll often get a good sense of this the first time you walk into the office. Is the atmosphere professional, laid-back? Are employers conversing and engaging with each other or are there lots of offices with closed doors? Depending on what you prefer, this can have an impact on how you feel towards the company culture. If you are a very social person who feeds off others input and feedback, it may be difficult for you to perform in a quiet office.
Another tip is to be very alert during the first interview. Does the employer do a good job at selling their company? Just because a design agency has a ping-pong table or the latest espresso machine in their office, doesn’t mean they have a great company culture. Do they go out of their way to make you feel like an important and valuable part of the team? You won’t really find out the real answer until you actually begin working there, but trust your gut instinct.
Just because a design agency has a ping-pong table or the latest espresso machine in their office, doesn’t mean they have a great company culture.
What’s your position and role within the company?
Make sure you have a very specific and clear job description. Sometimes an “intern”can actually mean run errands for the art director. You want to make sure you fully understand the role you’ll play within the scope of the company and how your skills will be used. It’s important that you feel your abilities are being utilized to your full potential. If not, it will be hard to remain creatively satisfied with your position.
Where will the company be in 5 years?
It’s no doubt one of the most popular interview questions to ask potential employees, but sometimes, it’s just as important to apply this question to the company you’re applying at. Is the company growing and expanding? Do they have a solid mission statement or common goal? Why should you work there? You want to make sure that you have room to advance within the company. When you’re not working towards something as a designer, you’ll quickly lose motivation to continue working. If a design agency doesn’t have a plan for the future or a sense of direction, employees may feel like they are just being dragged along for the ride.
Is your salary fair?
Consider your financial situation. Obviously you want to make enough to cover your expenses, with a little extra each month. Do some research and take a look at the average designer salaries in your city. Many employers will ask you what your expected salary is because most students will low-ball their answer. It’s always better to aim higher and negotiate down from there. Be realistic, but don’t undervalue your skills. If you feel like they are being chincy about your salary, it may be worth considering other options.
Why is the position open?
There may be a reason why the position is open in the first place. If there was someone previously in your position, ask why they left. It could shed some light on why they’re hiring – maybe there was an altercation that could put you in the same scenario. Otherwise, the company might just be expanding and growing, which is a good sign for your job security.
Are the people nice to work with?
You spend too much time at work to not enjoy the company of your co-workers. The people you work with have a huge impact on your overall happiness and well-being. Think of it this way, would you hang out with these people if you weren’t in a professional setting? You want to fit well, personality-wise, with the people you’ll be spending 8 hours a day with. If you have the chance, have a chat with people about what they like/dislike about their job. If you don’t have the opportunity, suggest a job-shadow day where you can sit in on meetings and participate in day-to-day activities. It will give you a better idea of what to expect if you do accept the job offer.