Wednesday, 26 January 2011

WPP Fellowship Round 2 - Written Up...

You won't have to do this...or WILL you?

Hello gang.

Never let it be said AdGrads doesn't listen to your comments (most of the time, heh).

Several of you have been asking for advice on the second round of the WPP Fellowship. Now, neither Sam nor I had made it to the second round in the past (sob), so I wasn't quite sure how we'd be able to answer this.

Step forward Hamish Cameron, a second year WPP Fellow working at JWT Argentina. He's very kindly written a missive on the topic for us here at AdGrads.

So, without further ado, here it is:

"First of all, well done for making it to the final round; you’ve already made it past 1500 other people to get this far, so you must be doing something right - whatever it is keep doing it. All you’ve got between you and a place on The Fellowship is 2 days of interviews and a presentation, which all sounds pretty gruelling.

My first bit of advice would be to try and enjoy the experience. You’ve done brilliantly to get this far and at this point all you can do is your best; whatever happens, going through this process will help you in the future, whether you get the job or not. You have an opportunity to sit down and speak to lots of interesting people from all areas of Advertising and although it might seem a pretty stressful atmosphere in which to do so, it can be quite fun if you just relax and try to enjoy it.

It might be a terrible cliché, but there really are no wrong or right answers - each interview is just a 20 minute chat on and about advertising and the wider world, and all the interviewers are looking for is whether you are interesting person or not. Do you have an opinion? Can you back that opinion up with a decent argument?

As Will pointed out in his post here , it is easy to turn up with a bunch of quotes from the many books on Advertising that are out there. Regurgitating half of Jon’s books back to him isn’t going to help you much - unless of course you have interesting take/perspective on what you're discussing. In reality, there's only so much “revision” you can do for these final interviews.

Obviously, it is a good idea to have a few campaigns and brands in your head that you’ve thought of and you’d like to talk about, but it is impossible to walk into any interview 100% prepared. It is not a test of your knowledge of Advertising; sure, most of the questions they ask will have something to do with Marketing generally - but I spent 5 minutes in one of my interviews waxing lyrical about how much I loved The Wire, and I certainly hadn’t prepared for that!

The people in these interviews are not looking to embarrass you; you’ve got down to the final thirty and have clearly impressed someone - they are now looking to see how your mind works and to find out more about you. You will have three people in each interview, each from different agencies and in different positions; they will all have their own ideas about who they think is the perfect candidate, so it's impossible to please all of them. Have confidence in your own personality and you should be fine.

After all the interviews are over, you now just have the presentation left. You’re going to be put in a room with five or so other people, and five hours later you’ll be presenting something back to the judges. There isn’t much advice I can give about the group sessions as every group will have a varied set of people with differing personalities.

What I would say is that it isn’t always the loudest person in the room who gets the job. I'm not saying that you should shut up and keep your head down, but if you don’t think you have anything useful to say keep your mouth shut. When you do speak, make sure that you hold your own. If you’re not happy with the direction that the work is going - say something. Equally, listen if someone else has a different point of view. The point of this exercise is; can you all work together and come up with a solution to the problem put in front of you?

When it comes to presenting your “pitch”, don’t worry too much if it doesn’t go exactly how you planned it, or if the guy who volunteered to open leaves out half of the strategy; just concentrate on what your role is. Take your time, think about what you’re saying and more importantly - believe what you’re saying. These are your ideas that you’re presenting - if you don’t sound like you believe in them, then no one will.

When questions come, it is always tempting to leap in and be the first to respond - but only do this if you really think you have a good answer. It will hurt you more if you garble the first thing that comes into your head. If someone else answers the question well then nod and wait for the next question; it doesn’t help anyone if everybody tries to answer every question asked by the judges - it just makes your team look disorganized.

And that’s about it really. Two days seems like a long time, but it will fly by. You’ll get to meet some interesting people (both interviewers and interviewees) and hopefully you’ll find the whole experience enjoyable. After it’s over I wouldn’t go through a deep analysis over how it went; no one ever knows and it will only stress you out if you spend the following three hours going over every single thing you and the other grads said. You've done your best and you’ll find out soon enough.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try and answer them. Good luck to everyone, and enjoy it!"

I hope that's helpful. Best of luck, guys and gals.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Hamish, really reassuring and helpful stuff. It's hard to fight the temptation to 'revise' endlessly when that's how we've always done our best in exams etc, but great to know they're just looking at the person. Thanks!

p.s. The Wire's phenomenal.

Anonymous said...

well that calms my nerves a bit. thank you!

Anonymous said...

Dear guys, i find really interesting and helpful your blog. I would like to ask an off topic question.
Is there any possibility to find a long-term internship or placement (at least 6 months- as required from my University) in one of ad companies in London? I am interested more in Account Management Department, but most of companies offer either 2 weeks experience, either grad scheme...
any suggestions?

Many thanks!

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Anonymous said...

Umm, why are people worried by being in the final round. Fact is, and tis is from the mouth of Jon Steel there is still a STRONG possibility of you getting a full-time job at one of the agencies. Several friends of mine landed full-time gigs after 1st/2nd round.

Its a win-win situation whether your get onto the fellowship or not.

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