The definition of a consultant is a person who provides expert advice professionally so to want to apply for such a position you would have to have had many years and be very skillful in your trade, in this case design, so you could feel you had reached a stage in your career where you felt confident in passing your knowledge onto others so you would have to know every aspect of the subject you would be giving the advice for. Design consultants can specialize in interior design, commercial and industrial design, fashion or graphic design. The minimum qualification would be a bachelor's degree and for interior designers regulation licences are required from State to State as well as voluntary software certificates for graphic designers etc.
Design Consultant Interview Questions
Do you have previous experience as a Design Consultant?
Why do you want to be a consultant?
To answer this question it might be advisable to link all your professional skills together with your personality traits and say why you think they would all make a good fit within the job description for a senior consultancy position. As you can prove you hold the relevant qualifications and experience over the years you have built up your career but now you wish to be more of a team player and use your expertise to increase the skill pool and brainstorming with others instead of going it alone. Hopefully, your added potential and charismatic personality will set you above the rest and from your passionate replies the interviewer can see you are committed in working for them in a consultant capacity.
Tell me about your experiences in this field.
As a design consultant you have already many years and experience to glean on. By this stage your competence and expertise is a given so you will have to add other attributes to this list. Motivation by challenges and the flexibility to handle challenging situations and being able to demonstrate that you can communicate efficiently enough to show your skills off to their best advantages.
Tell me about any success stories you have had.
An up-beat question for a change! Why is the interviewer asking this? They are looking for the candidate who doesn't just revel in their successes but can either learn or develop on them for another time. They could also be looking for career development which in a consultancy role would probably be a senior higher grade management position. They could also be looking for a humble response and giving credit to others which shows empathy for your work force. Give specific examples of your successes, be it a special award you received in your early school years to a large design project that was fraught with problems but you turned it around on budget and on time and the client was so impressed they gave you a bonus and a recommendation for more business. You could recognize the hard working colleagues who helped you pull all this together, i.e. the seamstress who worked tirelessly through the night to get the brocades ready in time for the launch of the project and the caterers who had to add many more to the guest list etc. This shows humility and appreciation for team work.
Tell me about a time when you were unsuccessful.
No one really wants to admit you failed at something, especially when you are face to face with a probable future employer! The interviewer is trying to gauge how you deal with adversity and how you bounce back and learn from the experience. This may seem a difficult ask but the secret here is to try and dumb down your example and think of something that had factors beyond your control and be careful not to lay blame on others as this might backfire. The answer isn't design specific so you can be general with a unsuccessful result, maybe something social or in your home?
What are your career goals as a Design Consultant?
Design consultants are usually already very experienced in their field and they are sought out for their expertise and professionalism. You have either been a freelance consultant where all the choices and the projects have been your own creations and you have decided that now you would like more stability in a corporate business with other team members to bounce ideas off. Either transition you would need to set clear cut career goals. Making the move either from corporate employ to freelance can be very daunting. Instead of working in a defined role within a company you have decided to branch out on your own or vice versa, you have experienced freelance working and now you wish to go to a Company. Whichever way your career leads you, you know you have years worth of gained talent and the necessary expertise to integrate well into both. It is just a matter of choice how you plan out your goals and aspirations to make a success of all you do.
What is the most rewarding part of being a Design Consultant?
The interviewer from a design company only wish to want hire people who are passionate about what they do so if you can identify key factors of what makes you love what you do then your passion will show through and everything else should follow. Outline the sense of satisfaction you feel when you have interpreted the client's project perfectly and they are so pleased with the result they want to rave about you and your work and even show it on social network sites! A design consultant has an eye for creativity and has to get into the minds of their client's. They know roughly what they are after but it is your job to understand and adhere to it but also with your expertise expand on the basics and add your own personal flair. The sense of satisfaction that you have achieved your brief and brought it beyond expectations is such a rewarding feeling you cannot suppress that and the interviewer will see it too.
What is the most difficult part of being a Design Consultant?
Of course when you are trying to interpret project ideas from someone else, you have to be mindful to the fact that you are encountering different personalities and opinions. If you have a clear idea what the end result will turn out like you will probably have changed it somewhat from what the client first envisaged due to your skill and vision but this might not be what the client had initially thought it would look like finished which can lead to a conflict of interest. When it comes to design preferences they are never an exact science. It is the interpretation of those ideas and how they are expressed that make or breaks a successful project so if you encounter a difficult client a modicum of compromise should be adopted but stand your ground as your professionalism and expertise will know what looks aesthetically correct in the end. This will show an interviewer you are prepared to face adversity but are still prepared to bring common sense and expertise into the equation to turn a negative into a positive result
Tell me about your schooling experience.
It would be well worth keeping your schooling experience relevant to the subjects associated with design and art and crafts which would be essential for pursuing a career to consultant level. Of course American English and math and a science subjects all would be useful study as there would be intense customer liaisons and also mathematical calculations e.g. if you were an interior design consultant careful measurements for room sizes would be necessary. A well rounded schooling will prove to the interviewer that you had a good start in your life and having the yearning and dedication to further study for degrees and work your way up to consultant level status.
What has been your most difficult project so far?
When you are a consultant at some point in your career, a significant proportion of your job is to manage people’s differing attitudes and behaviors. When the clients seem unhappy or disagree with your design concepts it feels like you have met an impasse. Clients always like to feel important and calling all the shots so if you step in with a listening ear then hopefully this makes them more willing to listen to your next point, which hopefully is a compromise and you can move on to a successful solution. Keep positive with your answer and show the interviewer you were ready to compromise over adversity whether it was an incident in your past or present.
Would you be willing to work overtime to finish a project?
If you have reached a consultant's stage in your career you would have probably been working for yourself for several years and offering your services to your clients, so it would be certainly in your best interest to maintain a good reputation by working as many hours as it takes to conclude the project successfully, on time and on budget. As the saying goes... 'It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation but only a minute to destroy it' Client's are known to talk and you need recommendations for more work to increase your business so if you have proved to them you have gone beyond the call of duty which involved working long hours and often putting in overtime and they are totally satisfied, they are your best critic and that will be reflected in positive customer feedback who won't hesitate to recommend you to their friends etc. If you are entering into a Company then the same applies, if you want to show how diligent and committed you are; explain your previous experiences.