Category: How We Grow

The secret sauce to Tuber-rific content


How to ace a job interview with a creative agency

Job interviews are a lot like first dates. You’re focused on trying to sell yourself. You want to know if you’re a good match for the other person. You probably stalked– er, looked them up on social media before meeting them.

And just like dates, job interviews are all about making good impressions. In the creative field, this is especially important since many roles are client-facing. To achieve this, it’s best to come prepared.

Follow our tips to get started:

1. Do your research

The interviewers will be able to tell if your knowledge of the company is limited to what is in the job ad. It’s a must to familiarise yourself with the agency’s portfolio before the interview.

Make sure you know which industries the agency caters to and the different services provided. If the interview takes place over a video call, take this chance to have the company’s website and social media pages open for easy reference.

Another good practice is to take note of any projects that stand out to you. It could be a project that impressed you or one that you’d have liked to work on. Mention these projects to show how your creative interests align with that of the agency.

2. Polish your portfolio

If you’re a creative, the first impression of you will be formed long before the interview – when the hirers go through your portfolio. So it’s important to curate a portfolio that shows the full extent of your abilities.

In the age of online applications, it makes sense to have a digital portfolio. Ensure that the link to your portfolio is clearly visible on your resume. If you’re emailing the agency, provide the link again in your email – it might seem a bit kiasu, but the point is to make it easy for interviewers to get to know you.

For breadth, aim to show that you are capable of working across different genres, styles and platforms. This is a good asset to have because of the wide variety of projects you’ll work on in the creative industry.

3. Draft interview answers

Not all of us are naturally blessed at giving good interview answers under pressure. But we can always prepare our replies beforehand.

Expect interview questions to be related to the skills needed for the job and your interest in the role and company. Some interviewers may even ask you theoretical questions about difficult work situations. Your answers will inform them about your work ethic and how well you respond under pressure.

4. Be presentable

For virtual interviews, looking presentable doesn’t mean just wearing a formal shirt over your shorts and brushing your hair.

It’s also important that you are clearly seen and heard. Check that you have a good Internet connection and working speakers or earphones. Find a spot with good lighting that flatters you. Sit about 30cm away from the camera, so that your shoulders are visible in the frame.

5. Come with questions

For virtual interviews, looking presentable doesn’t mean just wearing a formal shirt over your shorts and brushing your hair.

Many job seekers tend to underestimate the importance of asking questions to the interviewers.

This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your sense of curiosity and initiative, and find out more about the job and whether the company and role are suited for you.

Some good questions to ask include:

• What the working environment or a typical day on the job is like
• How success in your role will be measured
• What challenges you can expect to face

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, but preparing well for them will create better chances of securing your dream job, or at least making a good impression on the interviewers. Take a deep breath and go for it. Good luck!

Illustration by: Lei

The virtues of being vulnerable

Being vulnerable has been difficult for me ever since I moved to Singapore. Even as I pen this post, I still feel uneasy sharing such personal thoughts that even my closest friends and family members know little about.

I first came to Singapore in 2007 after graduation and worked a junior role in the design industry. Like most Malaysians, English isn’t my first language, which was a communication barrier for me at the time. Because of that, I worried about being perceived as not as smooth, smart, expressive or even competent as my peers at work.

Eventually, I realised I had developed a profound fear of expressing myself or opening up to people including friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Back then, I also had little work-life balance. Even though work had been financially rewarding, I found little job satisfaction and had no one to turn to when I felt stressed or faced problems.

These feelings of insecurity and helplessness slowly led to burnout. I was not aware of the impact this had on me until recently. When Tuber started to have small talk sessions during our weekly check-ins, I initially struggled to open up about myself as I feared showing my weaknesses, especially in a professional setting.

But each of us slowly began to ease up during casual conversations. I finally realised that while it might not come naturally to me, opening up is more about my willingness to share rather than the fear of being judged. I started to let go of the shame and think positively, focusing on my desire to connect better with the rest of the team. I believe that doing this will eventually help me to identify, process and understand myself from a different perspective.

Here are three key things that help me open up the lines:

1. Embrace vulnerability as a strength

Being vulnerable isn’t a bad thing. It’s not easy – we need a mindset shift to believe that the pros of putting ourselves out there outweigh the cons. By embracing vulnerability as a strength, we are able to show our authentic selves and have the courage to feel inadequate sometimes. Authenticity allows us to connect and be honest with people, especially our team members, which in turn builds trust, strengthens work relationships and lets us leverage our capabilities and skills for the benefit of the team.

2. Be brave and talk it out

Having a safe place to talk about our feelings, opinions and ideas can motivate us to share more about ourselves. As we realise that other people share our struggles or can empathise with us, we feel more comfortable opening up. It also helps us reflect on our actions, develop better self-awareness, acknowledge that there’s room for improvement and take responsibility for the choices we make or the things we say.

3. Be a good listener

Apart from being able to open up confidently, it’s also important to be an active listener who encourages other people to speak up. This is especially important at work, where we’re so used to proving our capabilities and focused on doing or saying the right thing. Being a focused and engaged listener can motivate and encourage our colleagues to step outside their comfort zone and share their own thoughts and concerns.

So learn to be vulnerable with the right mindset, and with the people you care about (including your colleagues!). Start small by sharing a recent experience and how it impacted you. It could be a decision that leaves you beaming!

Illustration by: Xinyi

Advice for junior creatives

Living in a pandemic may feel volatile, especially if you are a soon-to-be graduate or full-time student. It can be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing to think about what the future holds, but I find that focusing on what I can do at the current moment, one step at a time, helps me to stay grounded.

Here is some advice I’ve gleaned from my experiences and applied in my journey starting out in the creative industry:

1. Learn something every day, not someday

Every expert starts off as a novice. Even experts are still learning new things when they encounter new scenarios. Don’t let your feelings of inadequacy or procrastination hinder you from embarking on a new hobby or project. Come with a willingness and openness to learn anything, because growth happens out of your comfort zone. You might be surprised to discover that your new hobby can help you land new connections or a job!

The process of learning involves making mistakes, but we have to learn from them to become better. Mistakes can be beautiful and make learning memorable.

2. Unfriend procrastination

Procrastination is not always a friend. Putting things off brings future dissatisfaction and has no real payoff. I’m sure we’re all guilty of going down the YouTube rabbit hole of endless videos to only come to our senses a few hours later. We then panic over the time lost as we suddenly realise we should have made a head start on the projects with an impending deadline. We need to invest in our time and make sure it gives us returns rather than regret.

At the end of the day, when we lack the motivation to do things – we’ve just got to start doing them anyway.

3. Don’t take things too personally

Sometimes, your hopes get crushed when the client tells you that the work you sent does not meet their expectations. We creatives tend to view our work as an extension of ourselves, and it can be demoralising to perceive ourselves as failures because our work was not well-received.

Take a step back and inhale deeply.

Once you feel calmer, take another look at the client’s feedback objectively rather than subjectively. What was the issue that the client brought up? Could you have asked more questions to better understand what they wanted? Once you have clearly understood what needs to be changed, you can jump back in and make the necessary amendments.

4. Throw perfectionism out of the window

Creativity knows no bounds, but perfectionism holds a tight leash on where we can go as creatives. Sometimes inspiration strikes and we simply need to act on it rather than ponder about whether the idea will really work. Experimentation and exploration are the antidote to perfectionism, which cripples the creative process.

5. Be cross-disciplinary

The creative field is interlinked with many other fields. In order to flourish, we need to branch out to other fields and understand how they work. In our lifetime, we will be exposed to many opportunities and will be able to put on multiple hats.

With knowledge in design skills, for example, we can be better digital marketers as well as food artists. The possibilities are pretty much endless, as we can draw from knowledge in different fields. Be open and spend time with people outside the creative industry, because you never know what new perspective and inspiration they can bring into your creative life.

Conclusion

As a young working adult, I have continually heard this phrase: “You have all your life to work”. You may feel like your future is uncertain–but keep being curious, trying different roles and searching till you find something that fits you well. Wisely invest your youth and energy in places that will bring benefits for the future you.

Illustration by: Lei

What we learnt from our Tuber-Tusi social sessions

For the past 2 months, we’ve spent our lunchtime every other Wednesday holding social sessions with our sister company Tusitala. These casual gatherings started as a way for all of us to relax, have fun and get to know each other. But playing games and interacting with our colleagues also taught us useful lessons that can be applied to our work.

#1: Creativity is key

We’ve played some drawing games during these sessions. They were fun yet challenging, since most of us are not artistically inclined. But it was also a chance to exercise our creativity. We found other ways to communicate our chosen word or scenario – whether it meant using more colours, speech bubbles or lots of circles and arrows.

Jarod
My first instinct is to choose the easiest word to draw in the shortest time. However, the easiest word to draw does not mean it’s easier to guess. Hence, the importance of word choice coupled with the use of other techniques (e.g., using different colours and drawing tools, etc) for clarity is key to winning the game.

Keval
Skribbl has been fun and challenging in equal measure. Fun because I like the friendly competition and challenging because I’m not good at drawing, which makes it harder for others to guess what I’m putting across. But I have also come to appreciate how we are a team of creative thinkers – especially when we manage to guess each other’s peculiarly drawn words.

#2: Sometimes, simple is best

The bonding activities during these sessions were always kept simple. Most times, we kept to using a video platform and an online game. One session, to play a game of 2 Truths 1 Lie, all we used was paper, Powerpoint and the video platform’s poll function. As it turned out, these tools alone were enough. Free from overly complicated activities or agendas, we had the space to forge organic connections with our Tusi colleagues.

Xinyi
It was pretty interesting and fun to get to know one another through mini games like Skribbl and 2 Truths 1 Lie. It was also pretty interesting that through these games, we’re able to understand that we all have different perspectives and experiences that shaped who we are today.


Hidayah
It was nice how we were able to bond so easily over simple activities like a drawing game. I realised that it doesn’t take much to connect with people – all you need is initiative and an open mind.

When we played Garticphone, messing up meant more fun for everyone.

#3: Mistakes are good

Things didn’t always go as planned during the drawing games. Sometimes, we weren’t able to draw the prompt correctly, or misinterpreted it. But these were also some of the most entertaining moments in the sessions, because none of us were able to predict that the game would turn out this way.

Lei
It was my first time playing Garticphone, and I also found it super cute that the people at work made time to have some fun and bond. Some of the interpretations and drawings were so off-topic that I cried laughing – luckily, I was muted. I’m secretly quite noisy, hehe.
#4: Connection comes first

Many of us in Tuber are introverts – but surprisingly, we were all more vocal during the social sessions. Perhaps it was the fact that we were separated by a computer screen, or that the atmosphere was casual and welcoming. Either way, we realised that we enjoyed getting to know our Tusi colleagues, and felt comfortable socialising on a virtual platform.

Wei Ping­
It’s nice to see the fun side of my team members as well as making friends with other members outside of Tuber. Interestingly, it appears that we are more open to talking about ourselves on a virtual space than when we meet in person.

Fei­
It was a nice bit of fun to get to know one another a little better through the games.

Maziah
Playing and winning games is fun but for me, virtual socialising is best when we can see and learn a little bit more about one another. The chats on the side are always interesting too.

Even though we haven’t been doing the social sessions for very long, interacting with our colleagues in a casual setting allowed us to see each other – and the work we do – in a new way. Someday, we may return to the office and these sessions may end, but the lessons we’ve learnt from them will surely stick with us.

Illustration by: Xinyi

The WFH struggles of a design intern

I hit the ground running from the time I joined Tuber as a design intern in June 2021. I have helped to design several social media posts such as those for our IG account, @tuberpompipi. The one I enjoyed working on most was “How Tuber stays productive and happy during WFH”. Ironically, working from home (WFH) has been something of a struggle for me.

I am one of those people who started their jobs when WFH was a default arrangement under Singapore’s COVID-19 safety management measures. While some people are comfortable engaging others virtually through platforms like Zoom or Butter, I found having to do so with colleagues I have yet to meet a bit of a challenge. I am not really extroverted, so virtual communication yanks me out of my comfort zone and requires more effort. Thankfully, the team has been really welcoming; they helped dissolve my shyness and boosted my confidence to speak up during our online meets.

They were also the reason I managed to pull off a product Tuber was putting together around the time I joined the company: a newsletter. I have to admit I had no clue about the different aspects to consider in putting together a newsletter. But I had the support of colleagues like Tuber’s Design Director, Fei, and our Senior Project Manager, Jarod, who guided me whenever I encountered almost insurmountable obstacles. I’m proud to say our newsletter, Offshoots, has been launched, and I couldn’t be prouder of our efforts. And I learnt a few things along the way too:

  1. Always put yourself in the shoes of your readers (For example, is the text hard to read?)
  2. Visual hierarchy (Where do you want your audience to look first?)
  3. Do not use more than two fonts in one layout

As I work on other exciting projects at Tuber, I also look forward to experience working as a team in our physical office. It would be nice to finally sit and discuss ideas among people I only know virtually. But until that time comes, I suppose I will get the hang of working from the comfort of my home.

Illustration by: Janessa Aw

What our editorial intern learnt from Bailey, her $5,800 cat

I joined Tuber as an editorial intern in January 2021. Before this, I slaved away at a part-time receptionist job while juggling studies at university – all to save up for the cat of my dreams: A ragdoll. I love dogs too, but I resonate more with cats. And yes, you read that right: he cost $5,800. But he is adorable and has taught me many useful lessons that I applied during my time at Tuber.

Our intern’s cat, Bailey

  1. Stay curious
    Bailey’s hardwired curiosity allows him to make the most out of simple things. It could be the swooshing sound of a plastic bag, a motionless lizard or even a piece of paper. At Tuber, casual chats about the weather, food and music end up being potential story ideas and new social media content. Is going vegan actually better for the environment? Or what makes South Korean boy group BTS so successful and how can we learn from them? The list goes on. Curiosity didn’t kill the cat; curiosity taught the cat.
  2. Multi-tasking vs being focused
    As our work from home arrangement continued, I caught myself constantly trying to multi-task. For instance, I would be tempted to do other work while listening to a Zoom meeting. Bailey, on the other hand, always concentrates on one thing at a time. When it’s time to eat, he focuses on eating until his dish is clean. I learnt that half-focusing is not effective. Now, I prioritise my assignments and give my full attention to one task before moving on to the next, which works a lot better for me.
  3. Rest is important
    Bailey may spend about 16 hours a day sleeping; when he’s awake, he becomes the most alert and active creature. Getting enough sleep and rest keeps our mind and body healthy. I’m thankful that Tuber believes the same and encourages taking short naps for a midday boost. In fact, we were so excited talking about the benefits of catnaps that I got to write an article about it.
  4. Work independently, but not alone
    Felines are independent pets and it is probably the trait I love most about them. Bailey keeps himself entertained, grooms himself after every toilet use and goes to bed on his own accord. During this period of telecommuting, I learnt to work independently. Tuber has inculcated a wonderful work culture that empowers everyone to be self-initiated and to develop our own ideas. Our regular online check-ins also allow us to raise any difficulties we may face.

Conclusion
As much as I learnt from Bailey, it was the people at Tuber that made my internship experience a fruitful one. Despite COVID-19 hovering over us like a stubborn shroud, the team remained a cheerful and forward-looking bunch. If anyone wants to be part of a fun and professional team that loves good food, good reads and good ideas, Tuber is the place to be.

Illustration by: Liew Xinyi

We grow

good work


© Tuber 2021

A Potato Productions Company

284 River Valley Road
#01-01 Singapore 238325

+65 6836 4030
info@tuber.sg

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