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Late for an interview? Here’s how to recover.



The Irish playwirght, George Bernard Shaw, once said, ”Better never than late.” Bearing these words in mind, if you suddenly find yourself waylaid en route to an interview, is it better to turn around and head home? Or, can you find your way back into the interviewer’s good books and salvage a possible missed opportunity? 


I’m sure it’s happened to most of us in our day to day lives, even when we have the very best intentions we often find ourselves in situations beyond our control - like a delayed train - rendering even the most punctual among us hapless victims of tardiness. 


When a potential new job is on the line, what’s the best way to handle this situation? 

Here are five tips for rebounding from a late arrival.


1. Call if You Can 


If you are able to, it’s important to call the interviewer and give them the heads up that you’ve found yourself in this unfortunate situation and won’t be arriving on time. When you call, let them know your ETA and ask if that time will still work for them. If it doesn’t, offer to reschedule. 


Don't forget that everyone has an agenda. If you’re meant to arrive at 1.30pm and show up at 2pm then it can throw off the afternoon schedule. Offering to reschedule shows that you’re respectful of that person’s time. 


2. Apologise, But Don’t Go Over the Top


Overdoing an apology can do more damage than good. So whether you’re apologising on the phone or in person, always stay professional - don’t gush and ramble. Let the interviewer know how sincerely sorry are and how out of character this is, make your apology and then move on. These things happen, and people understand that. Don't undermine yourself by giving them lots of silly excuses. 


3. Take A Minute To Compose Yourself 


You’re already running late, and your brain is telling you there’s no time for anything. Who has a second to take 10 deep breaths and pull themselves together? You do. 


Yes, it hasn't been the best start, which will automatically put you at a disadvantage, but entering an interview flustered will only harm you further. Instead take a few moments and do whatever you need to do to get yourself back on track. Whether that’s counting, listening to music; take that extra minute to do whatever you need to, to calm down. If your heart is racing and your blood pressure is up, you’re not going to make a good impression. 


4. Keep it Positive


When you arrive into your interview, apologise again by saying, “I’m sorry; this is not ordinarily how I conduct myself,” then let it go. Always bear in mind that if things go well, this is the person you’ll either be working for or with, so keep the conversation positive and professional. Give him or her a chance to get to know you - particularly your strengths, such as how you can overcome a challenge like an unexpected detour on the way to an important meeting. 


Woody Allen once said, 80% of success is just showing up. So when you do show up, be present and give them 100%. 


5. Prove You Are Adaptable 


50% of an interview is about getting to know you, the candidate, as a person and getting a feel for who you are and if you’ll fit well within the company or organisation. How you handle yourself under pressure says a lot about you and how you’ll conduct yourself as the company’s employee. 

If you’re late to your job interview, there’s a possibility you could be late to see a client, and the company will be paying attention to see how you recover. It becomes a test of how you handle the situation, so use it to your advantage. 


If you do find yourself in the uncomfortable position of arriving late to an interview, all may not be lost. Being prepared and working through the situation like a professional could save the interview and also the job opportunity.

Have Designers Lost Control Of Design?



Design is everywhere and more influential than ever. But that power has come at a cost, says designer and technologist Matt Webb.


Do designers have an ethical responsibility toward their users? It’s a question that designers struggle with, as the products and interfaces they help bring into the world can have unintended consequences, from spreading fake news to exacerbating mental health problems. Even tech luminary and Nest founder Tony Fadell has expressed regret about the products he brought into the world.


But for Matt Webb, managing director of R/GA’s IoT Venture Studio in the U.K. and founder of the now-defunct influential London-based design studio Berg, the conversation about ethics is focused on the wrong question: How can you talk about ethics if designers aren’t the ones making decisions about how products and interfaces work in the first place?


“The gap between what the designer creates and what the people who use it actually touch has gotten really big,” Webb says. That’s a problem because designers are trained to base their work on empathy for the user and the user’s needs. When products and interfaces are persuasive, engaging, and maybe even psychologically manipulative, they haven’t been designed with empathy. They’ve been designed to be so user-friendly that they take advantage of the user’s weaknesses.


This is a unique problem of the software age. Historically, design was about making physical things, whether it be office chairs or album covers. Now, designers are coders–or at least working within the constraints of code–typing inputs into a computer that conjure up an interface that lives across millions of screens.


That shift has occurred in tandem with a new design process. Designers create the parameters that dictate interfaces, which are then A/B tested and optimised based on how users interact with them. (Designers have always done user testing, of course, but it’s much harder to change a physical object than it is a piece of code.) Now, the constant tweaking of software creates a never ending design process, where every click is another piece of data to optimise. “The thing that generates the most money or that people use the most wins,” he says. “So who actually designed that?”


One example: the Amazon Echo ecosystem, which consists of “skills” that other companies and individuals can create so users can access their products through the Echo. Designers of these skills–which can do things like give you a recipe, guard your secrets, and even tell you about the flat Earth conspiracy–work within constraints so that their skill fits within the Echo interface. But there’s no guarantee of the quality or usefulness of any of the 15,000 skills that the Echo currently offers–the only measure is popularity. “It’s more like a scaffolding [where] loads of creators can throw an interface at the wall and see what’s most popular,” he says. “And then that’s what everyone uses. Who’s actually designed that user interface?”

Engagement becomes the chief metric, and just because something holds someone’s attention doesn’t mean it’s good for the user. Take the Facebook Newsfeed, which has arguably been optimised to hold your attention within an inch of its life. Facebook boasts that its users spend an average of 50 minutes on its various platforms per day. But the same algorithms that enable this incredible amount of user engagement also enable sensationalist fake news to spread like wildfire. The problem was so bad during the lead-up to the 2016 election that it may have contributed to Donald Trump’s win.


Call it a design paradox: More than ever before, designers are sitting on the C-suite of companies. Large corporations are investing in design because it makes good business sense, both through hiring and through “innovation labs” that have become a crucial part of how companies grow and adapt. But as design has become integrated into the heart of companies, Webb believes there has been–ironically–an unintended consequence. Designers themselves, beholden to business interests that demand the most optimised, most persuasive version of something as opposed to the most useful and helpful for the user, have decreased agency. In other words, with power has come less responsibility. “Designers have less control over what they put out, in some cases,” he says.


Webb likens this conundrum to how engineering as a discipline has evolved. Engineers used to be the only ones who made the devices and appliances that people used, but as more things have become integrated into the internet, engineers now also create the constraints of systems–whether they’re game systems or AI systems–and a fully optimised world emerges within. These engineers, who Webb calls “the debuggers, the AI whisperers, the people who know how to do the robot psychology of the future,” no longer code the systems. They code the code that builds the system.


Webb sees a similar trajectory within design. Design as a whole has greater influence over organisations–even as it has ceded agency over the intricacies of interfaces to optimisation and A/B testing. As Webb put it, “individual designers can wield the supply chains of China.” But that also has made it harder for designers “to deliberately create something which is going to have the effect that we want.”


What does this mean for designers? If they have little power in this ecosystem where A/B testing and optimisation are the kings of the hill, what is their true responsibility? What ethics should designers adopt, if any, if they don’t have the power to deliberately create things that will actually serve users? Can designers keep their position of power within organisations while maintaining their agency? What does a revised design process for the digital era look like? Do chief design officers have a role to play? How can organisations address this problem?


These are not easy questions and Webb doesn’t pretend to have answers, but we’d love to hear what you think.


Sourced from Fastco Design 

How to Prepare for a Design Interview



The Creative and Digital Industries are highly competitive, so be under no illusions, a portfolio may get your foot in the door, but it would be highly unusual for a company to hire someone solely on them being a good designer, no matter how good they are. 


Meeting with the designer behind the portfolio is the real suitability test for our clients. Being prepared and aware of what the interview will entail will hopefully avoid you stumbling at the first hurdle. You’d be surprised just how often this happens. 


The following tips, although some may seem obvious, are always worth discussing and offer a refresher for anyone looking for a job in design. 


1. Ask yourself if you’re 100% committed and interested in the job


Yes, it’s an obvious question, but it’s important to ask yourself this simple question. Whilst you should feel genuinely committed and interested in a job before applying, things can change. So if it happens that before an interview you know that you’re not longer interested and nothing can change your mind, then it’s probably best for all parties that you take yourself out of the process. 


If you decide that it’s time to withdraw, it’s important to provide sufficient notice - and we’re not talking an hour before! Always call your interviewer or recruiter to talk through a decision like this, rather than just sending an email. 


2. Use your recruiter to help you to understand the structure of your interview 


It often happens that candidates are given little information about their interview and a very informal “here’s the time of your interview, let us now how it goes,” type of send-off. 


We try to give our candidates as much detail as possible including:


Who you are meeting; who you should ask for when you arrive; what you should take with you; how you should prepare beforehand; what to expect in your interview. 


Usually a first stage design interview will focus on a portfolio review, where you will be asked to walk through your key projects. With that in mind…


3. Always decide beforehand what projects you're going to present


As well as creative talent, good communication skills in designers are highly desirable. The ability to understand the needs of a client and effectively communicate their ideas and vision visually, verbally, and in writing will make you stand out from the crowd. 


Your portfolio and portfolio review provides a great opportunity to showcase your range of communication skills. It’s worth taking some time to consider the following:


Don’t let your interview be the first time you’re talking about your work. You wouldn't dream of delivering a presentation without preparation and a run though, so don’t consider your interview to be any different. Get some practice in beforehand with friends and family. 


Be careful to choose projects that are relevant to the job you are applying and interviewing for. Remember a project can be relevant for a number of reasons. Think about a project in categories, such as platform type, sector and processes. 


Don’t be tempted to talk through everything in your portfolio. Think quality not quantity. There’s more value to be thorough on two or three projects than to rush through 10. 


Practice talking about your process. Almost all clients will want to hear the details about your thought process behind your work. Avoid “Here’s a website I designed… isn’t it great!” focus more on, “Here’s a website I designed. The brief was x, the problem the client needed solving was y, and these were the steps I took to get to the end result.”


4. Do your research 


The most frustrating thing for a hiring manager or interviewer is dealing with a candidate who comes across as not knowing why and what they're there for, or hasn’t researched the company. 


It’s important to really read up on the company before an interview. Search for recent news articles and stories, and don’t forget to look at their website and social media pages to get a feel for the brand and tone of the company. 


Make a note of any of their design work you like (and also dislike). Identifying any work that resonates with you, or that you're curious about, will provide points of interest throughout your interview. It will also show that you have a genuine interest in the company.


And finally, here’s some quick tips for you.


  • Take your own laptop to showcase your own work. 

The interviewer wont be able to take any notes if you're looking at your work on their screen. this will also avoid the panic of an unfamiliar laptop; who knows how they've setup up their scroll! 


  • Organise your work.

You don't want to spend your interview rifling through folders and sub-folders. Have all your work neatly organised into PDF case studies or all on your website to ensure a crisp presentation.


  • Be constructive, never negative.

It’s NOT advisable to put down the company/people you are currently working for! 


And remember that this is definitely not just a chat, it’s an interview. Design can be a casual industry, but it’s important to be casual whilst also being professional, organised and prepared! 

5 Golden Touches to Your LinkedIn Profile



With close to 500 million users LinkedIn is the world’s biggest professional network and it continues to grow - 2 new members sign up every second. Every LinkedIn user that signs up gets a profile when they join. So with all those profiles available to view, it’s important to ensure that your profile gets found and read by the right people - whether thats recruiters, headhunters, or the company you really want to work with.



1. Killer Headline 


There are currently 242 million monthly active users on LinkedIn. With all those people in one place all trying to do similar things to you, it's easy to become a small fish in a big pond. That’s why you have to find a way to stand out amongst the pack. 


The most viewed part of a LinkedIn profile is the headline - the text that appears under the persons name. LinkedIn does a good job of generating this for you, but we suggest writing something that really shows who you are. How many years have you been working in your current position? What else have you done in the past? These can all be included in your headline to make it eye-catching and interesting. 


Be creative, outline who you are (more than just your job title) and be genuine. Your LinkedIn profile is the place to showcase the real you. 



2. Outline Contact Details 


If you’re on LinkedIn to launch yourself into a new job or career then you want to make communication easy and accessible. Sending a connection request can take a while sometimes, however an email or a phone call is usually instant. Unless you are connected with someone on LinkedIn, you’re unable to see their contact details, and you will have to wait until you are connected. 


If you are looking to receive opportunities from recruiters or headhunters, outline your main contact details at the end of your summary section. You can list whichever method you prefer, just make sure it’s easy for people to contact you. You can always send them a connection request once you’ve received their email, and this will save you a lot of time in the long run. 


Don't forget, LinkedIn is an online networking platform, so don’t shy away from sharing your contact details. Who knows what you might miss out on. 



3. Share Interesting Content


Recently there have been a lot of frustrations surrounding LinkedIn and how people feel that it’s becoming more like Facebook. This is due to non-business related updates, such as selfies etc. 


Ensure that any content you share on your LinkedIn isn’t just click-baiting, and it’s genuinely interesting to yourself and your peers. Don't post content for the sake of it. Make it interesting, entertaining or educational - but be sure that your connections can get something out of it. 



4. Make Your Profile (suitably) Public


Lets not forget that your privacy settings keep you safe, so it’s important to strike that balance between visibility and security. 


Take 5 minutes out of your day to ensure that your settings are switched to their optimum. And while you’re there, review your public profile, as this setting outlines what will be seen when you are found via Google search. Switch on all relevant options, and make yourself extremely visible to the outside. 


Top Tip: LinkedIn profiles with professional headshots get 14 times more profile views! 



5. Have Some Personality


We mentioned at the start that there are a huge amount of profiles on LinkedIn, that’s why it's important to not be like everyone else. Show that you’re unique and different. Like to paint? Add it on. Do you like to go rock climbing? Put that on too. Use your LinkedIn to create a profile that shows off your personality in and outside of work, and proves every aspect of you. 


LinkedIn is an extremely powerful tool when used correctly. Make your profile as strong as it can be and watch the job offers come rolling in! 

Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid



Before they even get to your CV, most employers will focus on your cover letter. An effective cover letter shows that you can write well, think clearly, and offer the skills and qualities required to succeed in the job. We’ve rounded up the most common mistakes to avoid - getting your cover letter write is jumping the first hurdle on your way to securing an interview. 


Grammar and Spelling Errors

Submitting a cover letter peppered with grammar and spelling errors is a sure fire way to get you placed on the no pile. Don’t get lazy and just rely on spell check! Read through thoroughly to pick up on every error. We also suggest having a friend or family member review it too. Two sets of eyes are always better than one. 


Sending a Generic Cover Letter

A very common mistake is using a generic approach and sending the same cover letter to each employer. Don’t forget cover letters are a chance to mention the specific job you’re applying for. Carefully consider the characteristics of the ideal candidate, as listed in the job posting, and explain how your skills, experience and personal qualities will enable you to excel in that particular  job. 


Using an Outdated Greeting

Steer clear of old fashioned terms like “Dear Sir or Madam” if you don't have the name of the contact person. Instead try gender-neutral terms like “Dear Human Resources Manager” or “Dear Hiring Manager.” Address women as “Ms.” as opposed to Mrs.” or simply start with the first paragraph and don't address it to anyone. 


Cover Letter is too Short

Sending off a letter that is too short can send the wrong signal to employers about your work ethic or level of interest in the job. You will also miss a great opportunity to frame your background for employers and lead them towards a positive view of your candidacy.


Cover Letter is too Long

A long letter can often put employers off, and increase the likelihood that they will jump over your letter and move straight to your CV. Try to strike a balance. Aim for 3 to 5 paragraphs no longer than six lines each.


Including Too Much Information 

There is some information that doesn’t need to be included in your cover letter. In fact, including it can hurt your chances of securing an interview. Don't give employers any more information than they need to know.


Not Providing Concrete Examples 

It’s important to back up your statements about your skills and assets by referencing a job or role where you successfully employed that strength. Be aware that expressing empty opinions about your strengths will generally not convince employers about your suitability for the job. 


For example, instead of simply stating “I possess strong written skills and an outstanding work ethic,” try “Strong writing skills enabled me to revise a sponsorship proposal and secure £50,000 in additional sponsorship from the Jones Foundation.”


Not Expressing Enough Interest 

Don't leave the hiring manager wondering about your level of interest. Your cover letter is a chance to express genuine enthusiasm for the job so that the employer knows that you are highly motivated to pursue the job.

Does a creative's CV need to be creative?

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Getting a job has always been competitive and candidates are doing all they can to give themselves an advantage. So is there a need to get creative with your CV?

Let’s first consider the purpose of a CV; to portray important information in a concise and informative way which allows the reader to quickly scan and take in the relevant information. So how do you make yours stand out?

In the creative industry people want to show their creative potential, are making CVs their own by expressing themselves through their unique presentation and layout. But can this get in the way of the sole purpose of a CV? Is it not the job of the portfolio to show creative talent and potential?

I guess it can be quite subjective; one employer may be impressed with your creativity, whilst another may not be prepared to spend the extra time needed to actually find the relevant information on your CV. But it seems getting the balance right is crucial. If you can keep it easy to read whilst showing some unique creative flair, then it will probably make a good impression.

Have a look at these creative CV’s below. Which ones have got the balance right, and which ones seem to have forgotten the aim of a CV? Let us know what you think…

The 5 Most Common CV Grammar Mistakes to Avoid



Your CV is your introduction to potential employers. It’s the first impression you’re able to make, and it will determine whether or not you will get to meet them face to face. if you want to get a foot in the door for your dream job, you’ll need to ensure your CV is polished and professional. 


Grammar mistakes tend to trip up even the most diligent of writers. Here are some pitfalls to avoid when checking through your CV - Don't just rely on spell check! 


Ready for a grammar refresher….here we go. 





Homophones are words that sound the same, but have different spellings and meanings. Common examples include “their”, “they’re” and “there”, as well as “too”, “two” and “to.” It’s very easy to miss these words in a spell check as the spelling isn’t the problem. The problem is the misuse of the word, which can only be caught by double checking through your CV. Be sure to proofread with the intention to catch errors of this kind. In fact, having a friend or relative look over it is usually a safe bet, especially if you feel grammar is not your strong point. What you want to avoid is employers thinking you have a lack of attention to detail. 



Possessives & Contractions


One of the more annoying CV grammar mistakes made by job seekers is the confusion between words of possession and words that are simply contractions of two other words. Here’s an example. The word “your” is a possessive. It describes something belonging to “you.” However the word “you’re” is a contraction of the words “you” and “are,” and it implies an action rather than possession. Confusing these two words will give the impression that you might not be the right candidate for the job. 



Poor Use of Apostrophes


Occasionally, people will throw in an unnecessary apostrophe, such as in words they may intend to make plural. One such common error is when stating, “supervised staff of 10 employee’s.” There is no need to insert an apostrophe in the word “employees” because it is used as a plural in this instance, not as a possessive word. This one seems straightforward, but it’s seen far more often than it should be seen on CVs. 



Subject-Verb Agreement 


When writing sentences in your CV, pay special attention that the subject matches the verb in number and person. This kind of error is usually an easily-made, careless slip-ip, but it’s also one that can be avoided through simply proofreading out loud. You’ll be able to hear straight away whether you may have added an unnecessary “s” to a first-person singular verb when you might overlook the mistake by simply reading it silently. 



Inconsistent Tense 


When writing your CV, you want to use the past tense when talking about precious jobs or experiences. When referring to your current position, you can use the present tense. Be sure to stick with the correct tense throughout your CV. Switching from terms like “work” and “worked” haphazardly throughout the CV without rhyme or reason looks unprofessional and sloppy. It’s a sign you may not take pride in the work you put out. 

The Importance of Work Experience for Graduates
scroll-32278 640According to a recent article by the BBC and research by High Fliers of more than 18,000 university leavers - graduates who have had internships or work experience whilst at university are three times as likely to land jobs.
Job applications are at record levels with applications being sent earlier than ever. The research suggests that students will have submitted an average of more than seven job applications each before leaving university. This is the highest level found in 18 years of research into the graduate jobs market.
Researchers estimate that from the 30 universities involved in the study there will have been 427,000 job applications generated this year - almost double the number from five years ago!
The destination for these young job hunters is more likely than ever to be London. Half of all graduates now expect to work in London, with the capital the most popular location for students leaving 27 out of 30 universities. The only exceptions are Queen's University in Belfast and Strathclyde and Glasgow universities.
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