Thursday, 30 September 2010

An Amend, & A Final Countdown...

Dee dee. Dee tee dee tee dee.

Ah, hair rock. Lovely.

Anyway, three things have just happened:

1) AMV have a new graduate scheme link, which is here. The details are just the same, though their twitter stream (@amvacademy) will hopefully keep you updated.

2) Leo Burnett's grad scheme is about to close (this Friday night, the 1st of October). So get those apps in.

3) M&C Saatchi's grad scheme IS open. I've been on a search to try and find it, and it does exist. Here 'tis. It closes on the 5th of November.

Here's hoping those are useful. Let us know how you get on, or if there are any other schemes out there which we've missed.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

2011 Grad Schemes: The List

You will not (happily) be working with these people.

Hi gang.

As it’s graduate recruitment season, I thought it would be a good idea to run down which agencies are (currently) doing what, and provide some helpful links.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and for any agencies who are reading this and want to promote their grad scheme (little or large, UK or not), shoot me an email.

AMV-BBDO: Their graduate page is here, with some details about the 2011 scheme – it will open in mid September 2010. First round interviews will be on Wednesday 24th, Thursday 25th and Friday 26th November 2010. Final round interviews will be on Friday 10th December 2010.

BBH: No graduate scheme this yearas to this year’s intake, but keep an eye on their London office’s twitter here.

BMB: Their site says they are finalising bits and bobs, but keep an eye here for the opening date.

CHI: Their page has a graduate page, but no news as yet. It should open soon, if recent years are anything to go by.

Dare: Their 2011 grad scheme has yet to be announced, but keep an eye on the Facebook page – it should be announced nearer December/January time if they run one next year.

DDB London: These guys have just opened their grad scheme, with the details here and the Facebook group here. Applications close 29th of October.

Engine: As noted in the comments, these guys have opened their grad scheme now. Applications close on 20th November 2010. They'll contact you by the end of December to let you know whether you've been selected to attend a first interview.

JWT London: Their scheme has opened, and you can see more details here. In short the deadline is Wednesday 3rd November 2010, with interviews the week commencing 22nd November 2010. If you’re successful at interview, they’ll invite you to a two day seminar on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th December 2010.

Ogilvy: The graduate scheme is here. Sadly, the 2010 intake has closed, but you can sign up to follow their twitter here.

Leo Burnett: Check the Facebook page out here, or click on the link to their site. The recent grads have a newly minted blog too, which is here, and if you have any further questions of the Grad team,
email them. Their deadline is midnight on the 1st of October, for a start date early 2011. Get your skates on.

Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe: Their page is unusually quiet, but it’s worth watching their blog for more details.

McCann London: Their McAcademy has ended this year, but if it is run next year (too early to tell – their site hasn’t been updated to say whether or not), it applications will open from July/August time.

MCBD: I can’t see any evidence of a grad scheme this year, but it’s worth keeping an eye on their Facebook page, which should liven up soon if they’re recruiting this year.

Publicis London: No news on the new summer school, but it is due to launch soon, if their Facebook page is to be believed.

VCCP London: Their site appears not to be working (?), but here’s their twitter stream.

WPP Fellowship: The fellowship is open now, and you can click here to find out more. Essentially, the deadline is 12 noon (GMT) on Thursday 11th of November.

I hope those are all helpful.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

The other side of the fence...

The fence may or may not be this colourful. Probably not. Photo via Fredosan

It's been a few years now since I (Will) got into the business as, first - a rubbish account handler, and secondly (and more happily), as a Junior Planner.

As you may have read, I've just finished recruiting for a Junior Planner of my own, and I wanted to share some of the good and bad things I've seen when conducting a fair few interviews, as I think they might be useful for those interviewing for Junior Planner jobs.

Or not. Heh. Anyway, here are some random thoughts:

1) Know what you're interviewing for

Most of the folks who sent their CVs in were bright, vivacious, interesting people. They'd done interesting stuff, and would undoubtedly be cracking employees. But we had to turn a lot of them down. Why? Well, for all of their intelligence, most of them hadn't explained WHY they wanted to be a Planner. Some hadn't even explained why PR over other professions, and that's pretty schoolboy stuff. I understand that the 'PR Planning' discipline is reasonably new, but do your homework. Your CVs show you're all bright people - so be able to tailor your responses in light of what the job actually is, much in the same way as you would have done for that degree essay. What would interest your interviewers, and why? What are the current debates? What's your point of view? The more interesting, the harder it is to cut people out of the first cull of candidates, even if they don't have a lot of relevant experience.

2) Put up your (lateral) dukes

Following on from that, we shortlisted a number of people. We would have been happy employing the vast majority of them, based on some excellent CVs and well thought out covering letters, particularly given that most didn't have a lot of experience in the area. Many had interesting thoughts about brands and society, but those candidates who did really well, and thought out their answers were able to emphasise their lateral thinking credentials. I don't think you necessarily have to be able to quote De Bono chapter and verse, but being able to explain how seemingly every day things could link to comms solutions makes candidates stand out. Even if you can't easily quantify the answers, don't worry too much - the interview's more for understanding how you think, not for getting the 100% right answer - this isn't school; there are rarely wholly 'right' answers.

3) Don't second guess

This leads us onto the third point, about second guessing. For many candidates, this was one of their first interviews - and many fell into the academic trap of trying to assume what I and my colleagues wanted to hear. As per the last point, there isn't one answer; I'm more interested in figuring out how you got to your answer, and what you considered. Planning is all about making the closest to the 'right' answer you can with the information available. Sometimes there's not enough, and you need to be ballsy enough to admit as much, rather than blundering on (which I was want to do in my first few Planning interviews, I admit). Just namedropping some Black Swan, some Lehrer or some Steel doesn't automatically guarantee you're through to the next round. What was it about their thinking that you liked? What didn't you agree with? Be contrary - it's more interesting than rehashing the past, folding your arms and assuming you've passed the test. We asked a number of off-beat questions in the interview, where candidates were asked to think on their feet, where no amount of theory would really have helped - and this helped us separate those who could measure their OWN, individual answers.

4) Balance is everything

I vividly remember an interview I had at one of London's top ad agencies. I remember answering the questions correctly, having a lot of relevant experience and, in short, thinking I'd got it. Then the feedback came, which pissed me off, frankly. They told me that whilst I'd answered the questions well, I wasn't 'interesting enough' for them. It still rankles with me today, and I vowed never to give such shitty feedback when I interviewed. The kernel of truth in that thought, is that I was INCREDIBLY ad focused, and didn't show enough of my personality. Sure, I could quote ad theory 101, but they wanted some sense of what I'd be like to work with. The successful candidate didn't have any ad or PR experience, but wrote such an utterly fantastic covering letter, giving us a real sense of what she'd be like to work with, and was so engaging in person (both from a practical 'doing the job' and a 'Christ, you're interesting perspective') we were bowled over.

5) Be nice

'It's PR, not ER' or 'Relax, it's just Advertising'. Both slightly glib quotes, but both wholly applicable to comms interviews. Especially Planning ones. Decent Planners are able to detach and see how that slightly spurious brand benefit would work in the real world, whilst balancing the business objectives of their client. There's no need to get stressed and difficult when things aren't quite going your way. And an interview, though a snapshot in time, is all we had to go on to find out how candidates would get on. Yes, there's a lot of work in the job, and a lot of deadlines - but smile, and be pleasant. We're all human beings, and know the job (and life) gets difficult. And what's more, if you can't be nice, you'll find it bloody hard to be empathetic, which I think is the greatest trait a planner can have - to be able to understand how other people think and feel. If you don't have that, you'll find it hard to get into Planning.

I hope those were helpful. More than happy to answer any interview queries (especially if you have an upcoming ones) in the comments.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Leo Burnett's Grad Scheme...

He's no longer with them. But you could be.

Yo wannabe ad-folk.

Leo Burnett have just opened their graduate scheme.

Check the Facebook page out here, or click on the link to their site.

The recent grads have a newly minted blog too, which is here, and if you have any further questions of the Grad team,
email them.

Their deadline is midnight on the 1st of October, for a start date early 2011. Get your skates on.