Sunday, 16 November 2008

Rejection's A Bastard..

Great illustration. Via AnnieMatronic. Usual rules apply.

...but it really, really doesn't matter.

By now, the acceptances and rejections will be coming thick and fast. Some will have gotten to a first round interview in the places they really wanted to. Others won't have been so lucky, and will be wondering why, and what they could've done differently.

This post is trying to help people make sense of rejection.

Firstly, as we've tried to say, a lot of agencies don't do graduate recruitment very well; there an awful lot of agency staffers roped into it. But then, don't expect wonders - agencies aren't PWC or Deloitte, they don't have whole teams plotting and planning your psychographic profile. They're human, they make mistakes. I'm sure there were thousands of applications, and maybe you misspelled something. Who knows? advice is just don't worry about it. Here's a little story for you. When I first came out of University, being a lazy arse who didn't think to apply for any grad schemes in his final year, I noticed them all opening. I thought that i'd better think a little and try to get on with it.

Starting to be a little more fastidious, I blanketed them all. My first application was a success, and I started to think that this advertising application lark was pretty straightforward. Not so.

I then got rejected (without any real explanation, to be honest) from the rest. And I didn't get any further than a first rounder with the one interview I got. Bollocks.

I set about getting a spot of work experience - working at home in the Midlands to afford to come to London to do some ad agency bits and pieces. I then reapplied the following year, getting to every first rounder (work experience does make a difference). Got through to a few second round days as well, but didn't get on any schemes.

Well, bugger that. Kept blogging, kept coming down to London to meet people and eventually got hired as a baby planner by United London.

Which then went bust. You could say rejection was a bit of a bastard by this stage. There's nothing quite like being told your agency is going to close a few months into the job. Happily, I was able to find some freelance and then my current job. Which, amusingly, had rejected me when I was a grad without explaining why.

So honestly - don't take it personally. Retrenchment, grad rejection - they are part and parcel of the industry. It's very competitive, and I hope Ad Grads can help people get in without all of the faff I went through.

But if you have to go through it as well...don't worry. It's just another way in.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

A Point For Awesomeness

Campaign - 14 November 2008

While getting my early morning Facebook on Musa gave me the heads up about AdGrads getting into Campaign for laying the smack down on BMB and giving some love to TBWA. That's awesome, but we won't stop calling it like we see it or let the fame get to our heads :)

And come January, when all the dust has settled from the graduate recruitment stuff, we'll be asking all of y'all to give us your best and worst applying/interviewing experiences so we can do a graduate recruitment report card. By you and for you. I had to put a cheesy line at the end. Whatever.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Some Agency Props..

Like this a lot. Via invisibleElement. Usual rules apply.

Well, after Sam's denunciation of another agency's graduate recruitment, I thought it'd be a good idea to talk about when an agency does it really well.

[NB: I've not been paid, nor do I work for the agency in question. Honest.]

TBWA, take a bow. This pdf is very very good. It should be required reading for anyone contemplating a career in our business. If I was a potential grad, it'd be bloody useful.

Nice one chaps.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

We Will Not Be Silent

Build from the bottom. Via Paul Goyette

I was having a look at the Facebook groups and came across a thread about how a London agency was handling graduate recruitment this year. I wasn't impressed so I blogged about it on my blog. But I think it's important more people read it, so here we go.

We started this journey just under 15 months ago, the whole point of it was to be a place where people could find out about a career in the communications industry - because as fate would have it a significant number of advertising agencies are ridiculously poor at setting their stalls out to potential new hires. They then aim to charge large multi-disciplinary corporations with the mantra that 'we know all about communication'. Ironic methinks.

A year on, we are fortunate enough to still be considered relevant; because of the fact that you guys take the time to read and interact with us - which is awesome, because of the generosity of some of those already in the industry, but also possibly because a vacuum exists that few have attempted to fill. As a result, the IPA have been touch a few times, some agencies have labelled it as recommended reading, others have elevated it to essential - which is nice.

You see hits and links and free lunches are great, but they're not the point.

The point was, and still is that advertising agencies are in the proverbial bucket of crap when it comes to the hiring and retention of the best that society has to offer. The reasons are too numerous for me to dive deeply into for this post, but essentially ad agencies have been dipping into the same bucket for too long, ignoring some kung-fu crazy people, and losing many other potential grads by simply not getting the word out about what an amazing career working in comms can be. People then go into finance and consulting and are miserable. I'm generalising of course. But it does happen. A lot.

This was an attempt to increase awareness about advertising as a career, and hopefully begin to be part of a change in the way advertising agencies recruit and retain junior staff. By and large we'd like to think that it has been a positive influence, agency websites are much more forthcoming about what advertising is as a career and the IPA are really pushing to improve this facet of the industry.

AdGrads is now a funky little community on the web, be it on Twitter, Facebook or the blog itself. So as in any community, people talk to each other about what's going on. And because of this, when an organisation is unhelpful, rude or plain ignorant to a member of the community, word gets around.

Many London ad agencies are recruiting at this moment so there are countless of y'all who are examining applications and websites and hoping to stand out; just as I was not so long ago. Many of you are studying as well as trying to complete obtuse application forms. I'm sure some of y'all have part-time jobs on top of this. It is only your enthusiasm and passion that is driving you. Of course it's a requirement to have these qualities for the world of work, but that doesn't mean that they should be ignored.

So imagine a London agency that claims its goal is to use creativity to solve business problems.

Now picture said agency running a grad scheme this year. Let's say they have a fancy flash website. Where do you think they should put information about the graduate scheme on it? Perhaps in a 'careers' or 'join us' or 'contact us' section? No no, they're far too cool for such silly things. Let's imagine they devote a tiny little link right next to the hugely popular 'T&Cs' link right at the bottom of the page to the future employees of their company. And let's imagine they use the grand font size of oh say 6 for this link.

Now perhaps this would link to a section with a little bit about the agency, what they believe in, why grads should apply, what kind of training they should expect, maybe what they'll earn and other things like further reading that could be done, who to contanct with questions - that kind of thing. That would be useful, wouldn't it? But again no, our agency is perhaps far to busy or lazy to do anything of the sort (and let's remember that agencies such as BBH and Ogilvy HAVE gone to the trouble of doing all of this, and will probably get a higher number of quality applicants as a result). Let's say they just whack up a Word document of the application form. And nothing else.

But you see, advertising applicants - or AdGrads if you will, aren't put off so easily. We know this. So let's have one of them call up our agency to ask them for some further information about the scheme. Wouldn't it be bad if our agency was unable to tell an applicant the nature of the job it's offering? First telling them to look at the form, then claiming to not know what the form actually says, and finally resorting to telling the potential applicant to essentially 'apply and you'll find out everything if you get the job'. Doesn't sound like a very wise and informed bunch of people does it? Maybe not the kind of effort you'd want out of a company where you'd be expected to put your heart and soul into, to do all the little things that senior people may not want to do, but still need to be done.

And perhaps this wouldn't seem like the kind of company that uses creativity to solve business problems. Because it seems to me that this kind of attitude is exactly the kind of business problem that might need some creativity to get solved. Or barring that, maybe just some common sense.

Let's call this agency BMB.

If I could, I would tell the inevitably hard working men and women involved in this state of affairs that the funny thing about living in the age we do is that this kind of behavior, be it with your clients, your employees or your future employees spreads quite quickly. And the little student who you show disdain for may know some more students. And these students may know some people who used to be students, but now write a blog about getting into advertising. And maybe the guy who writes a blog about getting into advertising thinks that maybe this year, you don't deserve to get the best people, because as his dad often tells him "You get what you put in". And it doesn't seem like you're putting that much in this year.

"Power to the people, right on"
John Lennon

This is our 100th post. Quite fitting given the subject I think. Thanks for sticking with us.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Possibly the finest post on ad careers ever..

But not before the best chart ever. Via Jcniemeyer. Usual rules, etc.

I'd love to be able to claim that it's one of mine...but i'd be lying through my teeth.

No no, it's by an engagement planner at W&K, Jerome Courtial. He's written a rather special post right here.

It should be required reading for any ad person, or wannabe ad person. Be sure to look through all of the links too - he even references Claude Hopkins, someone only Paul Feldwick, me and the ad historians seem to know exists.

Short but sweet this 'un. Hope those applications are going well. Apply some of this thinking to your interviews and you'll go far.

(Yes, I have used that chart in a presentation. It went down well).