Thursday, 8 November 2007

And now...the time has come....and so I face...

So filling out countless application forms is now done, you’ve been knocked back a few times but you’ve managed to get through to the first round at one or a few of your chosen agencies. Firstly, you feel over orgasmic and then you feel a cold cloud of fear come over you as you try and work out what this interview will be like. To be honest, they’re all different but there are certain steps you can take to making it go much more smoothly than if you sit back and smoke a phat cigar contemplating your first gram of coke off the board room table – which are usually sticky surfaces anyway.

Preparation, preparation, preparation is your new mantra. Firstly it’s certainly a good idea to let your tutors know especially the head of your dept. For one think it’s a great brown nose tactic and makes you look like the kind of student who should get a good degree (it’s now in their interest you pass and go on to work at a prestigious ad agency as this will in turn reflect on their tutoring so you may find your grades being boosted somewhat) and secondly it could be invaluable to buy you some extra time with assignments etc to desk research, prepare and then attend the interview.

Now that’s out of the way you need to know what the fuck you’re talking about….clearly. You’ve more than likely researched the agency’s website in order to help your application but re-visit it…actually no….live it. Learn their reel off by heart, think of where the strategies have come from which some of our earlier posts will help with. Think of giving creative critique to some of their work which some of our earlier posts go over. Then start thinking about the competition to their clients, for example if Strongbow are doing X it may help to inform your opinion that Magners is doing z.

Read, read, read. You need to get up to speed with the current climate in the industry. Saturate yourself in Brand Republic, Campaign…and of course our blog..and maybe a few others. Buy some current advertising literature (certainly not the text books rammed to you from tutors) like Herd by Mark Earls or The Brand Innovation Manifesto by John Grant. Start forming views, if you feel digital is just another medium and not God’s gift to marketing then fine, but have a well structured, intellectual and business orientated support as to why.

Also, chill the fuck out. Whilst being nervous is a great natural drug it can also cripple you. This should be exciting not terrifying and at the end of the day it’s not a job at NASA, it’s a job to work at selling stuff…it’s more than that obviously but put it into perspective.

Other tips when in an interview – drink water, keep eye contact, smile and laugh (but not in a scary way), be smart both in your rapport and in your dress (Will likes to wear ties I think they are horrible nooses – whatever you’re comfortable in), polish your shoes, show your sense of humour (this is advertising not banking), don’t name drop unless prompted and steal stationary.

Questions you should have answers to before you walk in:

So why advertising?

What is the most iconic thing in the world and why?

What advertising do you admire and why?

What is the future for TV?

What is the future of digital?

Take this ad and sell it to me
(you can prepare a selling structure based on an earlier post on creative critique)

What is a brand?

A client has said they want to pull the account, how would you save it?
(this is an example of lateral thinking questions they’ll ask you)

Etc etc

We’ll post more on interviews moving forward but the above should help as start. Good luck


p.s. There has been mentions to us about the possibility of writing a book, the next text in how to get into advertising. You're our audience so what do you think? Would it be worthwhile or do we remain as a blog? What would you prefer to see more of or less of? All your feedback is much appreciated



Kate said...

Thanks for this post Anton, it was really helpful.

As for whether you should do a book or not, I think it's a good idea. Not only can you guys get some money for your services, but I think it's needed. I read How to Get Into Advertising by Andrea Neidle but it was definitely feeling dated and the case studies seemed to be mostly from students on advertising courses, which I don't think reflects the current intake of grads at agencies. I really like hearing past grads' stories so I'd love to see some of that in a book or in the blog!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kate

Many thanks for your comment. We're in the process of getting a proposal together so fingers crossed we can get the ball rolling. I agree, I think it's important to have an up to date reflection on the industry right now. Again, thanks for the feedback