Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How to get a job in advertising

Chapter 5-The Interview

Interviewing is like a little show that you are putting on for your potential boss. You want to prove to him or her that you can dress yourself, show up on time and show up sober. You want to show them that you have a sense of humor, that you can talk about sports, that you can speak in (mostly) complete sentences.

Make sure you arrive at your interview at least 2 hours early. You want the boss to walk in at 9am and see you sitting on the waiting room couch reading your fifth Adweek. It makes you look needy, and bosses love needy employees. If the boss asks you if you want anything, like coffee or water, say, “No.” If they say, “Are you sure?” Say, “No” again.

Now the interview can begin. They may start by looking at your portfolio. The will flip through the pages quickly, only stopping at the truly mediocre ads. If the corner of a printout has come unglued from the page, they will frown and repeatedly press it down with their thumb. If this happens a lot, you probably don’t want to start planning your morning commute.

IMPORTANT! Never point out the spec work in your portfolio. But if they ask you if an ad is spec, be truthful!

Then they will ask you questions. All bosses are different (sort of), but here are a few questions you should be prepared to answer:

What is your biggest success?

What is your biggest failure?

What makes a good ad?

What is your favorite ad?

Are you sure you don’t want some water?

After they have asked you a bunch of questions, you may notice a lull in the conversation. This is very common. Ending an interview is a very difficult task. They can’t hire you on the spot (they have 15 more candidates to interview). They can’t tell you that you don’t have a chance (you might shoot them). They can’t fuck you (lawsuit). So they start to ramble. They talk about commuting times, office parties, football, TV shows. You can’t end the interview either. So the two of you just sit there, talking about last night’s Mad Men, and hoping that that this nightmare will end.

Eventually, the boss will awkwardly announce that they have another meeting. They will say they like your work. They will say they will be in touch. They will say a lot of things.

Get your parking validated at reception, climb in your car and head to the nearest bar.

You need a drink.


Erica said...

I'm really enjoying this series.

M.M. McDermott said...

Though one could argue that banging the interviewer could certainly enhance the chances of getting invited back for a second interview with the rest of the management team.

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