So, You Want to Work at an Ad Agency?

March 1, 2017

 

Hello new college graduates and first time ad professionals. Welcome to the wonderful world of advertising!

 

If there’s one thing you learn from conducting interviews at an ad agency, it’s the dos and don’ts of the hiring process. So, we thought we’d share a few tips for nailing that advertising or marketing job. Although some of these tips are specific to the ad industry, others are rules that apply to any job out there.

 

Be Prepared

 

Not unlike a certain Disney villain who shall remain unnamed, we encourage you to always be prepared when you go for an interview. It’s great if you’ve already emailed your resume information to the interviewer. However, you should always bring a few hard copies with you to the interview in case he or she forgets to bring a copy or has not had the time to read over your resume.

 

Portfolio

 

If you have a portfolio, that’s awesome. If you’re a creative who doesn’t have a portfolio, you might need to rethink a few things. Having a well-put-together portfolio is the best way to show your skills to a potential employer. It proves you can do what your resume says you can do.

 

Digital portfolios are just as good as hard copies. However, you should plan for every contingency. If your portfolio is web-based, you should bring with you some method of showing it offline if there is no Wi-Fi (God forbid) or the Wi-Fi is on the fritz that day. You also shouldn’t assume the company has the technology to display your portfolio, so bring a laptop, tablet or some sort of backup device.

 

You should also know your portfolio inside and out and be able to answer any questions about your process and the work you’ve done.

 

Arrival Time

 

Arrive to your interview fifteen minutes early. This shows you are committed and able to manage your time wisely. However, you don’t want to be too early. After all, these people are working full-time jobs and appointments often require them to schedule their day around you.

 

Be Yourself

 

Sure, it’s a cliché, but that doesn’t make it untrue. Ad agencies kind of exist in their own little universe. The importance of company culture is continually growing, and people respond positively to authenticity. We spend eight, sometimes more, hours a day together, which means we have to all get along and be able to work collaboratively with one another in a way that is productive. For the sake of both you and the company, make sure you are a good fit for the place you are applying to work.

 

Pay Attention

 

It’s amazing that we would even have to mention this, but it’s surprising how many potential hires come into an interview and spend the time staring at their phones. This shows you don’t know how to pay attention and says you don’t value your interviewer’s time. Put the phone away, and if you do have to check it, do so discretely and quickly. If there is an emergency, say so, and ask to be excused.

 

Dress for the Job You Want

 

Dress appropriately for your interview. It’s true. Many ad agencies tend to be very laid back when it comes to attire. However, it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed, especially in the interview. Business attire is best, which means slacks for men and slacks, skirts or dresses for women. First impressions are crucial.

 

Ask Questions

 

Pay attention to the discussion, and ask poignant questions. This demonstrates that you can listen and evaluate information in a logical manner. Asking questions also gives you the chance to find out if that company is where you really want to be. Many job seekers see the interview as the employer’s opportunity to evaluate their work and resume, but interviews are also an opportunity for you to get to know a potential employer and their company.

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