You’ve done your homework. Learned about the agency. Checked out their latest campaigns. Googled the various people who will be interviewing you. Practiced talking about where you want to be in five years (despite the fact that you have no idea).
Try these: Advergirl’s top five ad agency interview tips:
- Know what you’re up for. Interviewing is like buying a mortgage. Are you qualified? And are you willing to take what they’re offering you?
If you’re absolutely willing to report to four different bosses who never speak to each other, drive to Cleveland three times a week, bill at least 12 hours a day, and pick up an iced-5-shot-5-splenda Americano for the creative director every day, you have no worries.
If your standards are more limiting, ask the right questions up front to understand what the work – and, hence your life – will REALLY be like.
- Leave your baggage at home. I’m sure your current boss is a jerk and your main client is an absolute tyrant. But, having the self control not to bring it up not only keeps things professional, it avoids pesky questions, like – is she really the cause of the bad relationship with her boss? Or, why can’t she keep the client happy? Or, eeek, do I really want to work with such a cranky pants?
- Talk team not I. Ad agencies are powered by clever groups of people who together deliver incredible results. The person who has the idea generally isn't the same one who brings it to life or sells it to the client or gets it an incredible placement. Acknowledge your team when talking about your sucessesses. It shows that you're self aware, savvy and, heck, part of one of those clever groups. John Moore wrote a great piece about the "I" exam in 2006 - it's still a favorite of mine.
- Be ready for everything to change. It is the nature of ad agencies to create / respond to / live for emergencies. Maybe we all watched too many episodes of ER when we were new and just really want to yell STAT and grab 4 UNITS OF O NEG. Instead we live in something of a bustle. Moving meetings and deadlines and assignments nearly constantly.
So, when you've been sitting in the lobby checking out the light prisms bouncing off the awards case for 15 minutes only to hear that your interview will now be with Bob instead of Bruce, don't take it personally. We genuinely cannot help it.
- Be conversational. I know you practiced 'answers to common questions', but, come on, I’ve got to know what it will really be like to work with you. And, how/if you think on your feet. Ask questions. Be personable. Be yourself. Talk to me. Let's have a give-and-take rather than a firing squad of inquiries from my side of the desk.
Offered the job? Check out these tips on negotiating the right salary and package for you.