Interview Diary by Jeremy Hutchins

Kevin and I discussed an entry I could make for the  ASIS&T@Pratt Blog which I think could be helpful: an “Interview Diary” which describes my experiences in order to help other people prepare for their interviews.  People could add their own posts based on their experiences.  I wrote up my first three experiences (see below).

Interview #1

Job:  DIRECTV Latin America

DirectTV Latin America was looking for an Information Architect to work on their team developing sites for each of their divisions located in various Latin American countries.  The job required familiarity to fluency in Spanish.  I only interviewed with one person and we talked about my portfolio.  He asked me specific questions about the interactions of each aspect of my wireframes, and reasons for my placement of functionalities and information.  He asked me if I did any outside reading for the field.  He also gave me a test, which involved a list of topics and asked me how I would organize them.  He asked me questions about process.  I think he was looking to see that I knew how the iterative process worked (comparative analysis, SWOT analysis, Card Sorting, Paper Prototyping, wireframing, and usability testing)

What I learned: Be prepared to talk about how you keep abreast of the IA/Interaction Design field.  Be able to name some books you have read or are reading, as well as sites.  (When I was asked this question on my next interview, I was able to name three books and  said that I got Twitter Updates and Linked In Updates from IXDA and IAI and Usability Professionals group.)

Outcome: Did not get the job.  They were looking for more experience (4-5 years)

Interview #2

Job: MCD Partners

MCD Partners is an Interactive Agency specializing in E-commerce sites;  they build very slick applications, and have high end clients such as Tiffany and  Discover Card.

I interviewed with one guy who looked at my wireframes and didn’t seem that excited about them.  I finally said, “maybe I can do a test project for you” and so I built a prototype for the Babies r Us site, implementing improvements.

What  I learned: I realized that a professional portfolio of wireframes should have very specific annotations which describe interactive behavior, such as (Interaction:  On click, pop up window with log in.  Or, “On Rollover, dropdown menu appears with xyz options).  I created more of these types of wireframes for the babies r us site.

Outcome: I did not get the job. He said get back to him when I’ve got more experience and have a more souped up portfolio.

Interview #3

Job:  JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chaseis a huge investment bank.  I got this interview from a connection, a former Pratt grad.  Initially I met the connection at a cafe, and then we set up a formal interview where I was to initially meet two people, talk about my experience, followed by a “test” and then a meeting with two different people who would view my test results.  The test was difficult.  I was given six pages of poorly worded documentation, instructions for  building an advanced search prototype which involved the ability to filter results.  The prototype needed an administrator to search by customer ID, customer password, company name as well as description of action, date and time on which action occurred, with results looking something like this:

10/3/2011        22:00        John Smith        Shell Oil    invalid password.

The test was to see if you could translate poorly worded documentation and create a clear functional search mechanism which allowed you to “drill down” to more specific results.  You were expected to draw out this search interface and discuss it with the two new people, or use the white board in the room.  I was left for about 20-30 minutest to figure it out.

What I learned: Spend  time considering issues of  Search.  Check out sites like Lexus Nexus or PubMed, and see how search was implemented.  Do wireframing of a Bank site to see how this is done, and practice making a few wireframes with this in mind.

Outcome: Waiting to hear from them.

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